Hădăreni riots

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The 1993 Hădăreni riots was a pogrom in the village of Hădăreni, Mureş County, Romania, involving Romanians and Hungarians against Gypsies on the other side; three[1] (or four, according to some sources[2][3]) Gypsies were murdered.

The riots[edit]

On 20 September 1993, a group of Romanians attacked four Gypsies who had had an argument with a Romanian. While fleeing the attackers, one of the Gypsies knifed a Romanian to death. The four Gypsies then sought refuge in a house where they locked themselves in. Refusing to come out of the house, Romanians and Hungarians of the village, including the local police commander and one of his officers,[4] gathered outside, sprayed it with gasoline and set it on fire. Two Gypsies were lynched when they tried to flee, one burned to death inside, and one escaped.[2] The gesture of Romanian and Hungarian population was due to failures of the police. There had been dozens of complaints about thefts by Gypsies from the majority population in the previous period which were never solved by police. [5]

Afterwards, in a "classic case of mob justice",[1] 13 (or 14, according to some sources[3]) Gypsy houses were burnt down, and an additional four were damaged. The police did nothing to stop the attacks.[3] Most of the 130 Gypsy inhabitants of the village fled into the nearby woods, returning only after days or even weeks.[2]

The government, in its official explanation, expressed understanding for the "anger of the villagers."[6]

The trial[edit]

After charges were filed in 1997, five men were convicted by a Romanian court of murder, and seven of property destruction and disturbing public order. In 1999, the Romanian Supreme Court acquitted two of the accused murderers and reduced the charges against the other three.[4]

The European Court of Human Rights decided that the Romanians have to pay €238,000 compensation to the group of Gypsies whose houses were burnt. According to the European Court verdict, representatives of the Romanian Police participated in the arson, and then tried to hide this. The court also decided that the ethnic origin of the people involved was an important factor in its outcome, and that the length of the trial (11 years) infringed on their right to a fair trial.[7]

See also[edit]