August 10, 2010


White Paper of the Romanian Helsinki Committee drawn up by By Victor Barsan
The Aim The present work attempts to contribute to a better knowledge, understanding and dissemination of the truth about the situation of the "Ilascu group" (*) and implicitly about the situation of Transnistria. In recent years the public opinion and the political factors that are interested in the evolution of post-communist countries paid attention mainly to the conflicts in Yugoslavia and the Caucasian republics. The war in Transnistria, its consequences and its adjacent phenomena - among which the Tiraspol trial - were perceived superficially and without objectivity, when not completely overlooked. Even the US ambassador Madeleine Albright, a specialist in the political problems of the post-Soviet space, said - on the occasion of the press conference she held in Bucharest on January 17 1994 - that she could make no statement about the Transnistria problems, as she was not sufficiently informed.
The opening chapter deals with the local historical and political context. A reader who is familiar with the history of Bessarabia may skip over paragraphs 1.1. and 1.2. However, we believe that the more profound reader will not be able to understand the essence of the trial without the information in the above mentioned paragraphs. We felt compelled to add a small number of pages about the recent micro-history of Transnistria (the birth of separatism, the problems within the Popular Front etc.), which are indispensable to a correct understanding of the Indictment and of the scheme of the prosecution in general. Chapter 2 describes the situation of the "Ilascu group" from the time of the arrest (June 2 1992) to the beginning of the trial (April 21 1993). Chapter 3 makes a critical analysis of the Indictment. We have given special attention to this document as it was drawn up by the prosecutor's office of the "Nistrean republic"; there is no way to deny the contents of the document; it was drafted over a long period of time - between April 1992 and April 1993 - and its assertions are, therefore, well-considered. Since the accusations in the Indictment have been assimilated almost entirely by the Court, one may say that the Indictment was as serious and credible as the Court itself was. Chapter 4 describes the proceedings of the trial. The trial covered a long period of time (April 21 - December 9 1993) and a great number of its episodes were almost identical to each other; therefore we have described in detail only those moments which we considered to be representative; we have reviewed the others more rapidly. We believe barrister Vozian (who spoke in Ilascu's defence) played an extremely important part in the unfolding of the trial; that is why the present work includes a significant excerpt from his final pleading. Chapter 5 was written in order to help the reader make a distinction between the great number of characters involved in the trial, distinguish between victims and aggressors. Should the reader object to paragraph 5.2. as to an unusual one, the answer is that the very presence of the "Nistrean republic" is unusual (be it from the military, political or legal point of view). Such a specific phenomenon should be considered with specific methods.
The written sources are always mentioned in the text. Besides them, the author has made use of his own notes as a direct observer of the hearings. He also used the information received from a great number of persons. Among them were the prisoners' relatives, refugees from Tiraspol, lawyers, Ilascu's alleged confederates now in Bessarabia, newspaper reporters. When the source of the information does not come out clearly from the context, it means that it has been omitted on purpose - either because it would have been superfluous pedantry or it might have endangered the informant. In the latter case, the respective piece of information has been confirmed by several, independent persons.
The author acknowledges with thanks the help received in one way or another while this work was in progress from:
  • the prisoners' wives - Nina Ilascu, Eudochia Ivantoc, Nina Petrov (Popa), Tatiana Lesco, Galea Godiac;
  • Stefan Uratu, Tamara Sunita, Vlad Postica, members of the Helsinki Committee of Moldavia;
  • barristers Ion Vozian and Iurie Setletchi;
  • Gr. Lungul, S. Ivantoc, P. Craciun - Ilascu's alleged confederates;
  • Liuba Uratu and Stefan Levinta, members of the teaching staff at the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol;
  • T. Tabunscic and V. Chiriac from the "Transnistria" society;
  • Corneliu Vlad, Andrei Dumitru, Nicolae Pojoga, Const. Coretchi, Vasile Ciobanu, Vasile Agachi, Fidel Galaicu - newspaper reporters;
  • Oleg Bursuc, teacher, for his huge translation work from Russian.
The author also thanks Mr. Radu Filipescu, President of the Romanian Helsinki Committee, who financed a great part of the trips to Chisinau and Tiraspol from the Poul Lauritzen Foundation Prize for Freedom, offered to him in 1992. The author wishes to thank also the Soros Foundation from Bucharest which kindly payed for the English translation of this work.
List of abbreviations
CDMPF: Christian and Democratic Moldavian Popular Front CPSU: Communist Party of the Soviet Union MASSR: Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic MNS of the RM: Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Moldavia MNSSR(**): Moldavian Nistrean(*) Soviet Socialist Republic MPF: Moldavian Popular Front MSSR: Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic MTSSR(**): Moldavian Transnistrean Soviet Socialist Republic NMR: Nistrean Moldavian Republic OSTK: Obedenenie Sovietov Trudovyh Kolektivov: Unified Soviets of Workers' Collectives PIT: Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol ------------------------------- (*) We decided to use the Romanian name of the river (Nistru) instead of the Russian one (Dnestr), since the river flows through the Republic of Moldova whose official language is Romanian. (**) These names are synonymous, both are in frequent use.
1.1. Moldavia, the Nistru river and Russia
In 1792, after winning the 1787-1792 war against Turkey, the Russian Empire moved its South-Western border from the Bug river to the Nistru river. The city of Tiraspol was founded the same year (1792), on the place of the ancient Romanian village of Sucleia. In 1812, after winning the 1806-1812 war against Turkey, Russia annexed the territory between the rivers Prut and Nistru (named Bessarabia ever since) which was the Eastern half of the Principality of Moldavia. Both Bessarabia and Transnistria (the region on the left bank of the river Nistru) were faced with an intense policy of Russification. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the change in the ethnic structure of the population of Tiraspol: in 1799 - 2% Russians, 69% Romanians (the rest were Tartars, Armenians and Jews); in 1905 - 14% Russians, 21% Ukrainians, 42% Romanians (the last census in 1989 showed the existence of 41.3% Russians, 32.2% Ukrainians, 17.7% Romanians). In 1918, following the collapse of the Czar's power, Bessarabia became once again part of its rightful country.
1.2. The Soviet policy concerning Bessarabia
The USSR tried to take Bessarabia back by means of political and diplomatic methods. Once it became clear that such methods were not to be successful, a pseudo-state structure was created in Transnistria: The Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (MASSR). The following is part of a top secret Memo submitted to the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party [1]:(*) "The MASSR might play the same role of a political and propaganda factor that the Byelorussian Republic plays concerning Poland and the Karela Republic takes concerning Finland. It would focus the attention and sympathy of the Bessarabian population and would create clear pretexts for including Bessarabia in the MASSR. (...) A union of the territories on both sides of the Nistru river would be useful as a strategic gap towards the Balkans (through Dobrogea) and towards Central Europe (through Bucovina and Galicia), which could be used as a bridgehead in military and political situations" The MASSR was set up on October 12, 1924 following a decision of the Executive Central Committee of the (Bolshevik) Communist Party of Ukraine. That was the crucial moment of the "policy of the two nations" which was initiated in the early Stalinist years, and would continue even nowadays. According to Soviet ideologists, Bessarabia and Transnistria are inhabited by "Moldavians" speaking "the Moldavian language". They form a nation apart from the Romanian people, their language is different from the Romanian language. The same pseudo-theory pretended that "the Romanian imperialists" had occupied in 1918 a part of the territory inhabited by "the Moldavian people". In order to provide a national and state-like existence for this "nation" the Soviet power created the MASSR on that part of the "Moldavian territory" which had remained "free" - that is the left side of the Nistru. Formally, according to "state documents" the MASSR included Bessarabia - a territory which was temporarily "conquered" by the "Romanian imperialists". The "Moldavian language" could be used in writing with the Latin alphabet between 1932 and 1938. The use of the Cyrillic alphabet became compulsory in 1938. Tiraspol became the capital of the MASSR in 1929. On August 23 1939, the secret protocol of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact confirmed that Bessarabia and the Baltic republics were to be under Soviet influence. Shortly after the surrender of France, the Soviet government gave the government of Romania an ultimatum to yield Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina. The Romanian government accepted the ultimatum, so Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina, with a territory of 50,000 square km and a population of 3,700,000 people, out of which 85% were Romanians, became part of the Soviet Union. On August 2 1940, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was set up by the resolution of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The MSSR included the territory which belonged 'de facto' to the former MASSR and the territory of Bessarabia. Stalin's policy of "setting free the Moldavian people" had succeeded. On November 4 1940 the Supreme Soviet of the USSR marked the new frontiers between the MSSR and the Ukrainian SSR: the Southern and Northern part of Bessarabia, as well as Northern Bucovina, became part of the Ukrainian SSR, and a narrow strip of land on the left bank of the Nistru river (about one third of the territory of the former MASSR) became part of the SSR of Moldavia. These frontiers - which were designed according to Stalin's principle of maximum political and ethnic intricacy - are the frontiers of the Republic of Moldavia now. Between 1941 and 1944, Bessarabia became once again part of Romania (which did not formulate any claim concerning Transnistria), but it was annexed back by the USSR after 1944. The years following World War II turned into an age of deportations (a large number of people were deported in the worst conditions of all - not far from sheer extermination), rapid executions of every sort of undesirable persons, state organized famine, population reshuffles. About 600,000 people were deported to Siberia and experienced the hardships of concentration and hard-labour camps. About 300,000 died of starvation. Another 300,000 people were forcefully moved to Russia and Kazahstan. There were more than 1,000,000 victims of Stalinism in Bessarabia, and of that number most people were Romanians [2]. Thus, the Romanian population of the SSRM was seriously harmed by a genocide which killed about one third of it. At the same time, the Republic was peopled with Russians and Ukrainians. An intense ethnic policy of Russification was performed in every possible way. The official propaganda took advantage of Romania's participation in the war against the Soviets, in order to enhance the difference between the "Romanians" and the "Moldavians": being a Romanian meant being a Nazi, being a Moldavian meant being a Soviet. The Romanian language with a Cyrillic alphabet used in writing became "the Moldavian language". -------------------------------- (*) The figures in brackets [...] point out the bibliographical references.
1.3. The end of the Soviet power
A process of democratization and national revival took place in the Moldavian SSR at the end of the 1980s, similar to the one in all of the Soviet Republics. The centrifugal tendencies which appeared ultimately resulted in the creation of the Republic of Moldavia. On August 31 1989, Romanian was proclaimed the official language of the state. On April 27 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR adopted the national flag, which is the Romanian tricolor with an aurochs' head. On September 3 1990, the Supreme Soviet created the presidential institution, and appointed Mircea Snegur as President, chief of state. On May 23 1991, the Moldavian SSR changed its name and became the Republic of Moldavia. On June 23 the Parliament of the Republic of Moldavia (the former Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR) proclaimed Moldavia a sovereign country. Between August 19 and 22 1991, a communist coup took place in Moscow. The Parliament of the Republic of Moldavia proclaimed the Republic's independence. On December 8 1991, at Minsk, Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine decided in to dismember the Soviet Union. On December 21, eleven leaders of former Soviet republics signed the declaration regarding the setting up of the Community of Independent States.
1.4. Conservatory responses. The Transnistrean separatism
The conservatories reacted promptly against the processes of democratization. On August 11, 1989 (that is before proclaiming Romanian the official language), in the enterprises which were subordinated to the federal structure, workers' organizations similar to the Soviets of workers (OSTK) had been set up. Such organizations would fight actively ever since (even in a military manner) against using the Romanian language, the Latin alphabet and against undertaking democratic reforms. In the autumn of 1989 the OSTK organized countless meetings and strikes to protest against using the Romanian language and the Latin alphabet. In September 1989, the local Soviets (organizations of local administration) of Tiraspol, Tighina and Rabnita rejected the law on the state official language and started a program of civil disobedience. In December 1989 - January 1990 referendums took place at Rabnita and Tiraspol, in order to obtain the autonomous territory status within the Moldavian SSR for the territory on the left side of the Nistru river and for Tighina. In April and May 1990, the local Soviets of Tighina and Tiraspol did not allow the tricolor to be flown in these cities. Referendums and meetings took place against the presence of the national flag in Transnistria. The latter were organized with the support of the OSTK, of illegal paramilitary organizations and of the 14-th Army of the Soviet Union. Such secessionist activities took place throughout 1990. At the same time, pro-secessionist paramilitary units were set up, with direct support from the 14-th Army. On September 2 1990," the second extraordinary congress of the people's representatives of Transnistria" took place at Tiraspol. On that occasion "the Moldavian Transnistrean Soviet Socialist Republic" was proclaimed. On November 2 1990, the secessionist paramilitary units caused the first bloodshedding incidents, by attacking a police station in Dubasari. At the same time, in the South of the Republic, the Gagauzi secessionists organized elections for the Parliament of the "Republic of Gagauzia"; a great number of Moldavian volunteers tried to hinder them from this action(*), but special corps of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs came in support of the secessionists, and the volunteers were forced to back off. On November 22-25 1990, the secessionist leadership, supported by its own paramilitary units and by the Soviet military force, held elections for the "Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian Transnistrean Soviet Socialist Republic" [2]. All this time, the state authorities in Chisinau confined to condemning separatism, stated that the results of the referendums were not valid and the parallel organisms of power were illegal. On December 22 1990, Mikhail Gorbatchev, President of the Soviet Union, signed a decree regarding the measures that would bring the situation back to normal in the Moldavian SSR; the decision stated that the conclusions of the "second congress of the peoples' representatives of Transnistria" were null and void. Apart from these decrees and decisions, the measures undertaken by the authorities in Chisinau against secessionism were very poor. The structure of the state power of Moldavia was replaced by the structure of the "Transnistrean republic"; the paramilitary units of the secessionists became more and more powerful, while the army of Moldavia was practically non-existent; the police stations of Moldavia were forced to become militia stations of the "Transnistrean republic". Such changes occurred all through the year 1991. The faithful citizens of Moldavia living in Transnistria were defenseless in the face of the secessionists. Therefore, since the authorities in Chisinau did not undertake any effective measures to protect the integrity of Moldavia, this task was undertaken by the civilian society. ---------------------------- (*) The volunteers took peaceful action. They tried to picket the polling stations in the "Gagauz Republic". There were no incident between volunteers and local natives. Yet, the Soviet propaganda made the best of their action in order to incriminate "the Moldavian nationalism".
1.5. The response of the Moldavian civilian society
Gorbatchev's Perestroika met a destroyed, atomized civilian society, lacking the experience of a democratic political life and unable to fight communism. The only issue to involve individuals and convey their energy into a significant political movement was the national feeling. That was the reason why, like in other ex-Soviet republics, the Popular Front was the organization which united most of the democratic, anti-communist organizations. Back in 1989-1991, the Moldavian Popular Front was really a mass organization, that could rally hundreds of thousands of people for meetings and other street demonstrations, both peaceful and politically effective. One could say that these peaceful demonstrations resulted in several democratic laws voted by Moldavia's Supreme Soviet (or Parliament). Many of the great demonstrations in the late 1980s were held in favour of the Romanian language. One might find it odd that a simple request regarding a linguistic self-evident truth - that the Moldavians speak Romanian and that there is no such thing as the Moldavian language, so the official language in Moldavia must be Romanian - resulted in great internal tensions which eventually lead to war. Actually the situation is very simple. This philological dispute - with an obvious answer - translates in linguistic terms a political problem: was Bessarabia conquered or set free by the Red Army? To accept - in the philological sphere - the fact that Romanian is the language of the native population of the Republic of Moldavia would mean - in the political sphere - to accept that Bessarabia was occupied by the Red Army, that the Soviet power was not (and is not) legitimate and that Moldavia might unite with Romania, sooner or later.
1.6. The Activity of the Popular Front in Transnistria
Generally speaking, the population of Transnistria is "more Soviet-minded" than the population of Bessarabia. This is partly a consequence of the fact that Transnistria has never been a part of Romania and, partly, due to a special and complex (economic, demographic, cultural) policy performed by the former Soviet Union. Thus, the Popular Front has always been less liked in Transnistria, as compared to Bessarabia. There were two organizations of the Popular Front in Tiraspol in 1990. One of them was formed by the professors and students of the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol, with Tudor Strisca and Stefan Uratu as presidents. It had about 300 members and held its meetings in the building of the Institute. The other one - the Popular Front organization of the city of Tiraspol - had about 3-400 members, with Ilie Ilascu as president and held its meetings at the Veteran's House, overlooking the House of Soviets, and sometimes at the Pedagogical Institute. In the autumn of 1990, after the so-called second congress of the people's representatives of Transnistria had decided to create the "Transnistrean republic", the political strain in Tiraspol became even greater. On September 17 1990, Ilascu made public the "Resolution no. 6 of the Popular Front Organization of the city of Tiraspol concerning the proclamation of the so-called Moldavian Transnistrean Soviet Socialist Republic, which was against the Constitution and the integrity of the Republic of Moldavia and its people". The document voiced the decision "not to acknowledge the creation of the self-proclaimed Moldavian Transnistrean Soviet Socialist Republic" and also requested the population to disobey to the power structures of the MTSR and required that the delegates to the second congress and the leadership of the so-called republic be prosecuted in a Court of Law. The text of the Resolution was published in the Tiraspol newspapers (in Russian, because newspapers are printed only in Russian there). At the same time, the City Committee of the Communist Party of the Moldavian SSR gave a public statement, criticizing and threatening the leadership in Chisinau and even the "Moldavian people" for their policy of emancipation carried out in recent years. The same day, the radio station in Tiraspol broadcasted both Resolution no. 6 and the public statement of the Communist Party organization. Most of the members of the Popular Front were surprised by Resolution no. 6, which they considered too categorical. Faced with their attitude, Ilascu declared that the Resolution no. 6 was his personal opinion, not an official statement of the city organization of the Front. In October 1990, the Organization of the Pedagogical Institute of the Front gave a public statement rejecting Resolution no. 6 and drawing a comparison between the Statement of the City Organization of the Communist Party and the Resolution. It was an attempt to analyze the causes which had lead to political strain in Transnistria and find some ways to ease up the situation back to normal. The newspapers in Tiraspol didn't want to publish this conciliatory statement; two weeks of discussions were necessary until "Trudovoi Tiraspol" accepted to publish it. The atmosphere in Tiraspol became more and more overwhelming and lead to a decrease in the number of members of the local organizations of the Popular Front. At the end of 1990, the two branches of the Front joined, with Ilascu as elected president. Ilascu was criticized for Resolution no. 6 at the election meeting, but the organization considered that this political error could be forgiven, taking into consideration his merits and his courage in the fight for the integrity of Moldavia. The Soviet propaganda speculated the Resolution no. 6 heavily. It depicted it as a proof of the Moldavians' aggressive intentions, of the criminal plots organized against the Russian population in Transnistria, of the necessity of getting sufficient help from Russians living in the rest of the Soviet Union. In fact, Resolution no. 6 should be considered in the political context in which it was drawn up and broadcasted: an immature and recently created civil society; politicians with little experience and poor political culture; a great number of organizations and associations which in most situations represented only a small group gathered around a personality; an inflation of statements, decisions, appeals, much too many and too confusing to be taken seriously by the population; a great number of doubtful persons, agents or so-called patriots, who were ready anytime to give shocking public statements that the Soviet propaganda could once more depict as proofs of "Moldavian nationalism". It is exactly because of the ghost of this "Moldavian nationalism" that the eternally aggressed Russian community had to "protect" itself and create a secessionist "state" on the left side of the river Nistru.
1.7. The Situation in Transnistria following the August 1991 coup
The leadership in Tiraspol gave a prompt and enthusiastic cheer to the communist coup of August 19 1991. One of the confederates, Lukianov, president of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, was an active supporter of the Transnistrean secessionists. When the coup failed, the secessionist leadership panicked and hid for a long time. In this period of time - extremely favorable to putting an end to separatism - the authorities in Chisinau had an equivocal attitude, about which Ilascu himself will tell us a few things hereunder [3]. Rep: What happened after the Moscow coup? I.I.: After the failure of the coup, the plotters were punished in Moscow, in Russia, and in all the republics. The same should have happened here, as well. Immediately after Yeltsin's victory, the volunteers who had joined the army of the republic gathered together in the central square in Chisinau and demanded that the plotters and their accomplices be punished. They were referring to the whole leadership in Tiraspol. In order to calm down the people in the republic Snegur proposed that the culpable be punished according to the law because he was afraid the people would do their own justice. Between August 25 - 26 the police [former OMON troops](*) came to the districts of Transnistria to arrest the persons involved in the coup." This was not a routine mission. The separatists were already powerful at that time, they were supported by paramilitary corps and by the complicity of the 14-th Army. The police force of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Chisinau (a couple of hundred people) was extremely small as compared to those forces. About 50 members of the Front took part in the arrest as well. Rep.: What part did you play? I.I.: At that time Smirnov, Iakovlev, Maracuta , Reliakov were fugitives. We knew what they looked like and we knew something about their hidings. The police and the special corps didn't know what they looked like and knew nothing about their whereabouts. Don't forget that it was also a little bit dangerous; fights and bloodshed could occur. We realized later that they were hiding on the territory of a military unit of the 14th Army, under the command of general Iakovlev. Rep.: What did the people in the searching passy look like? I.I.: They were dressed as civilians, but were armed and trained for this kind of operations. I thought they really wanted to arrest Smirnov, but after a week of fighting, when we seldom slept, but kept chasing Smirnov and the others through the woods... Rep.: Woods!? I.I.: Woods, cottages, foresters, wherever we were told they would be hiding... At long last, after such a chase we realized that the leadership in Chisinau had no intention to arrest them at all. This was only a farce in order to calm down the people in Chisinau and in the rest of the country. That's what I felt. Everything had been done so illogically, it was as if they had said to the separatists: Come on! Resist! The result was that, by simulating these arrests for a couple of weeks, the women over there started to demonstrate. At the beginning there were 10, after that 20, 100, then 1,000, they sat on the railroad and protested." As a protest against the actions undertaken by the authorities in Chisinau, a group of Russian women blocked the railroad, and stopped the trains on the routes Chisinau - Tiraspol - Odessa and Chisinau - Tiraspol - Moscow. These actions resulted in losses of over 70,000,000 rubles. Afterwards, the women became more and more aggressive, took part in attacks against barracks and captured armament, alongside the Cossacks and the Tiraspol guards. "I.I.: At that time Smirnov was arrested, too. But it was because they had been forced to take him. Rep. : Smirnov was captured in Kiev... I.I.: That's right! To say nothing about the fact that the group to arrest Smirnov, 30 men of the special units and 5 men from the Front, captured him here, in Transnistria, and not only once, when he was unarmed, with only 2-3 bodyguards, in a villa at Tarnauca, but wouldn't take him away. The commander said meaningfully: 'You know-- hm-- you really don't understand, do you?' Rep.: Was there anyone else arrested, except Smirnov? I.I.: Yes, a few persons, but only for the sake of form-- No one had ever heard about them. And Topal, the president of the "Republic of Gagauzia". They set them all free after a month. Smirnov was set free after a month and about. Rep.: Was he pardoned? I.I.: He was released illegally. His case was submitted to the prosecutor's office for investigations. I cannot understand how the prosecutor's office could do such a thing. That is to set free a man who was guilty of high treason. He could be released only by a presidential decree. And I don't understand how can a man who doesn't have the slightest idea about such things be president..." In October, Medvedev arrived in Chisinau; he was president of the Commission for inter-ethnic relationship of the Supreme Soviet; he requested that Smirnov be released and that the police corps in Dubasari and Grigoriopol be removed. He guaranteed that such incidents would no longer occur and that Transnistria would never again claim to be a republic. "Rep.: How did Smirnov react? I.I.: He held a press conference in Tiraspol the very first day he got out of the Chisinau prison and said that he had tricked them. "I signed and said I would observe the laws. But I didn't say what laws! I didn't say I would observe the laws of Moldavia. Let them think what they want". So he made a fool of everyone. Rep.: Who is this Smirnov, in fact? I.I.: The Center sent him to the Republic of Moldavia, three years ago. He was born in Magadan, near the Okhotsk Sea, not far from Kamchatka. He studied in Ural, then worked there, had several leading jobs. Afterwards he was director of an enterprise in Kerson, Ukraine. Then he came to the military complex in Tiraspol which manufactures military equipment. After a year in Tiraspol, he began the secessionist activity. He is a coward. He repeats like a parrot whatever they say to him from the Center. He behaves like a terrorist. I might say there is no other terrorist like him. He keeps urging to violence, to bloodshed. He cannot help doing this, whether he speaks on television, or on the radio, or at meetings. He incites people to hate the members of the Front, threatening that all the Front members in Tiraspol will be terminated." The autumn of 1991 considerably strengthened the position of the separatists. On December 1 1991, the Transnistrean authorities held "presidential elections" - supported by their own paramilitary corps and by the 14-th Army; Igor Smirnov, who had come to Moldavia in 1987 , became the "elected president" of the "Transnistrean people". On December 8, the republic held presidential elections; there was only one name on the list of candidates: Mircea Snegur. One was not allowed to participate in the elections of December 8 in Transnistria; the people were terrorized; however a great number of people came to vote. The presidential elections resulted in a strain within the city of Tiraspol organization of the Popular Front. There were two different, even conflicting opinions: Ilascu's, who said that Snegur's election had to be boycotted, because he was a compromised politician; and Uratu's, who said the situation was too desperate to encourage dissensions among the Moldavians, especially that Snegur had no counter candidate. The two fractions did not agree at all, and the ones who held the second opinion left the Front; the city of Tiraspol organization of the Popular Front started in 1992 with a diminished number of members. The 3rd congress of the Popular Front (which from that time on was to be named the Christian and Democratic Moldavian Popular Front) took place on February 15-16 in Chisinau; the works of the congress were public; the Transnistrean issue was approached in a cautious manner; no one seemed to remember anything about Resolution no. 6; Ilascu held a brief speech in which he mentioned the desperate situation in Transnistria, but was interrupted by the presidium with soothing words. The main goals of the Congress were to decide upon the Front 's switching to opposition and to elect a new leading team. A single communique concerning Transnistria was given, in a prudent manner, in which secessionism was condemned. The documents of the Congress were all published in the press. --------------------------------- (*) The text in brackets [...] point out the author's interventions.
1.8. The war
On March 1, the Republic of Moldavia was accepted as a member of the UNO. The same day, Transnistrean and Cossack corps attacked the police station in Dubasari - the last one which was still under the control of the state authorities in Chisinau. That was to sign for the beginning of the war between the "Transnistrean Republic" and the Republic of Moldavia. It was a war which Moldavia started without practically having an army (the national army was set up in May 1992); it was probably the only war in history in which a country, attacked by powerful armies, had to defend itself by using mainly police corps. Once the war started, the situation of the people from Transnistria who were faithful to the authorities in Chisinau became more and more dramatic. The ordinary propaganda in Tiraspol was to incite to hate against the citizens faithful to Moldavia, to drive them away, or even to kill them. On March 5, for instance, the day when the separatist fighters killed on the first days of the war were buried in Tiraspol, the funeral ceremony was broadcasted live by the local radio station; Ilascu's name was mentioned at least 23 times, the population being instigated to violence [4]. Ilie Ilascu's friends advised him to leave town, because he was in danger to pay with his life for his belief; he told them that his staying in town was a symbol of Romanian(*) resistance in Transnistria, which had to be kept, no matter the price. This is what Ilascu recounts about those days: [3]: "The situation in Transnistria is so new... a lot of Romanians left .. some to their parents, some to relatives... particularly the ones involved in the activity of the Front. (...) The people working in the police had a very hard time there. [There was no longer a Moldavian police in Tiraspol, but most of the former staff continued to live in town]. 85 policemen refused to join the separatist militia. There were Russians, as well, among them - for instance the ex-commander colonel Sherbatyi, who understood what was legitimate and what was not. As a reward, he is now permanently attacked. Rep.: You mean physically attacked? I.I.: Only morally. But the Moldavians are attacked physically. They are beaten up, of course... One finds it dangerous even to speak Romanian in Tiraspol. What is happening now in Transnistria is a psychosis, the way it was in the days of fascism, a permanent campaign against the Romanians on local radio stations and on TV. They bring people who have suffered from the Romanians during the war, and who tell that the Romanians beat them up (without saying why), and their conclusion is: "There you are! Do you still want to be in Romania?" The situation gets even worse when Snegur is not in the repubic. All this is done on purpose, because there is some connection between Snegur and Smirnov. Rep.: You mean complicity? I.I.: We have got definite evidence in this respect. Snegur is guilty of every bloodshed. He makes use of communist tactics: first he makes the situation as bad as it can be, things explode when he leaves, then he comes back, bloodshed stops and the situation calms down. This is how he gets to be a great peacemaker. Snegur has secret connections with Smirnov..." But this time peace was to come only after four months of war. ----------------------------- (*) Romanian, not Moldavian-- since the Moldavians do not form a nation apart; they are a part of the Romanian one.
The persons who were arrested and who, by reason of the trial itself, make up the "Ilascu group" (see the footnote in the Introduction) are:
  • Ilie Ilascu, born on July 30 1952, in the village of Taxobeni, Falesti county, married, two children;
  • Valeriu Garbuz, born on April 25 1947, in the village of Chitcani, Slobozia county;
  • Andrei Ivantoc, born on March 9 1961, in the village of Opaci, Causeni county, married;
  • Alexandru Lesco, born on February 21 1955, in the village of Cosernita, Floresti county, married;
  • Tudor Petrov (Popa), born on February 2 1963, in the village of Chistelnita, Telenesti county, married, two children;
  • Petru Godiac, born on October 1 1967, in the village of Talmaz, Stefan Voda county, married, two children.
2.1. The arrest
When the military operations started, the situation of those who had remained in Transnistria to support Moldavia's integrity actively became more and more critical. Some of them had their houses under close surveillance. The houses of Ilascu and Uratu were attacked, The Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol was raided and the students were terrorized, beaten and humiliated by the guards. This is how Ilascu describes the atmosphere of those days [5]: "From 1991 to June 2 1992, when I was arrested and accused of having committed the so-called crimes, I was under strict surveillance, and so was my house which had actually become the general staff of the Popular Front in Tiraspol. A post of gunmen was planted next to my house in March, to "protect" me. Several attempts to attack my house took place in the same month. They scared my wife and children. I submitted a written complaint to their chief, Bogdanov, and required that he took some measures. Therefore, it is hard to believe all the pharisaic depositions [made at the trial] according to which the so-called terrorists used to meet in my house, as it were, to plan terrorist acts, and brought all sorts of arms; they are ridiculous." A series of arrests were made about June 1, 1992, among the Transnistrean persons who had remained faithful to the Chisinau authorities. Ilascu, Ivantoc, Petrov (Popa), Lesco, Uratu, Marian, Costrov etc. were arrested; all in all, about 15-18 persons were arrested. Here is how Ilascu described his arrest [5]: "You want to know how I was arrested? On June 2 in the morning, I woke up at 4:30 because I had to leave for Chisinau by the 5:20 train. I opened the door. At that moment, about 10-12 individuals carrying automatic pistols rushed in, knocked me down, started beating me, then tied me up. They entered and preyed upon the other rooms...At the trial, the depositions of the witnesses were contradictory as to the place where they found the pistol or the other objects they subsequently sequestered. Neither the prosecutor nor the judge would take into consideration these details. Homitski was writing the report on the search as the objects they had "found" were placed on his table. Homitski's report mentions a detonator...However, a committee from Moscow made an expert examination and could not establish its identity or origin, not even whether it belonged to the category of explosive devices or not. It turned out that Homitski had previous knowledge of what he was to write. When I asked him how did he know what kind of object it was, he answered: 'I studied it at the University'." [5] Mrs. Ilascu, who was present when the arrest took place, made a similar description; she confirmed that "they" used violence against her husband and that the different "incriminating objects" had been brought in. Mrs. Ilascu declared that one of the persons who were searching the house took out of the pantry a bag of plaster and claimed it was napalm. When Nina Ilascu asked what her husband was accused of she got the following answer: "Ilascu is the leader of the Front, we are in times of war now and have to clarify certain things." [6] Andrei Ivantoc was arrested the same day, at 8 o'clock in the morning. His wife had left for work at 6, and he was alone in the house when the team to arrest him arrived. Ivantoc was savagely beaten in the head with a rifle butt, was hit with the fists and kicked with the boots; it seems that the tricolor he was wearing at the lapel of his coat had stimulated the aggressiveness of the "men of the law". When his wife, Eudochia Ivantoc, returned home she discovered that everything in the house had been turned upside down; there were stains of blood on some of the clothes. Several carpets had disappeared, as well as 50,000 roubles and a "beautiful clock", as Eudochia mentioned in her deposition. It is hard to believe that Ivantoc might have threatened the arresting team with a grenade, as they claim; the alleged grenade was not included among the incriminating objects which were sequestered. There were no witnesses to the arrest and to the search; there was nobody in but the Ivantoc's talking parrot; the bird ceased talking from that day. Eudosia could visit her husband three days after the arrest; according to her declaration Ivantoc had the mark of a heavy blow on his forehead, no nail to the thumb of his left hand and his clothes were torn. Tudor Petrov (Popa) was arrested on June 4, at 6:45 a.m. He was at home, together with his wife and two children. He was arrested by two persons, one of which was the militia officer Victor Gusan. A team of 7 persons came to his house at 11; among them were investigators Starojuk and Glazyrin; they searched the house and found nothing. Alexandru Lesco was arrested on June 2, at night time. He was supposed to leave at 3:00 in the morning to attend a wedding party in a neighboring village; his wife was already there. He received a surprising telephone call from Garbuz at 2:45; the latter kept talking to him - without telling him anything special - until the arresting team arrived at the door of his flat. A search was carried out the following day in the presence of several neighbors [6]. It was only five days after the arrest that his wife, Tatiana, discovered where he was, although she had contacted both the Tiraspol and the Chisinau authorities. When she asked chief-investigator Starojuk about the situation of her husband, she got the following answer: "He has not been shot yet, but we are preparing him for that." [6] Stefan Uratu was arrested on June 2, in the evening; he was at that moment the deputy dean of the College of Mathematics and Physics of the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol; he was to be released after 82 days of detention. For a certain period of time, Stefan Uratu enjoyed the same living conditions as the other prisoners; that is why his deposition - of undoubted credibility - is very useful to know what the living conditions in prison of the "Ilascu group" were.
2.2. The situation of the prisoners' wives
In Tiraspol, the prisoners' wives had to face intimidation and hostility. Nina Ilascu's intention was to stay as close to her husband as possible, but a team of four persons - under the leadership of investigator Starojuk - came to her house in mid July 1992 and drew up a complete inventory of the belongings, which were subsequently sequestered. After that, Nina Ilascu had to take refuge in Chisinau. Eudochia Ivantoc was forced to leave Tiraspol; her colleagues at the factory of furniture petitioned the manager several times to dismiss her. Nina Petrov (Popa) decided to leave Tiraspol after she had been harassed for two weeks by one of Tudor's colleagues in the Afghan Committee of Internationalist Military Man; he kept asking her about her husband, about his friends etc. Tatiana Ilascu was openly accused by the deputy manager of the factory she worked in; he called her "the wife of an enemy of the people"; after this incident, she decided to take refuge in Chisinau. The wives were allowed to visit their husbands during the first two weeks following the arrest; later on, it was more and more difficult to get a permit; an interval of 1-2 months would pass between two visits. Visiting permission was granted or refused by chief-investigator Starojuk, but not before a waiting time of two or three days. The wives complained that, on such occasions, Starojuk had an arbitrary and offending attitude; he gave them false information and tried to discourage them .
2.3. The living conditions in prison
After their arrest, the prisoners were kept in police custody in Tiraspol; then they were transferred to the commandment of the 14th Army, where they remained for two months. Eventually, they were sent to the Tiraspol prison where they remained until after the trial. It is common knowledge that living conditions in Soviet prisons are very bad. The effects of the malevolent attitude of the authorities made them worse for the "Ilascu group". One of the wives managed to visit her husband in prison, that is in a prison cell of the militia building, in the basement. She said that eight prisoners had to live in a cell which was only 12 square meters in surface, damp and cold. Instead of bed there were some boards, without mattresses, pillows or bed sheets [6]. During the first months following their arrest (June and July), the prisoners could not wash themselves, although they had been invaded by lice and bed bugs; they were still wearing the clothes in which they had been arrested [6]. At first, the prisoners were denied the right to their daily walk. After many interventions, they were allowed to "get some air" for 10-15 minutes a day, in a closed space, situated next to the toilets. Ilascu described the prison food in a complaint to his lawyer, dated December 1992, as follows: for breakfast - 200 g warm water and 150 g old bread; for lunch - 300 g warm water and 100 g bread; for dinner - 200 g warm water, 100 g bread and 150 g incompletely boiled corn mush. [6] The first time when the prisoners were allowed to be visited by an international delegation was on February 3, 1992; during their discussion with the CSEC representatives, Ilascu estimated that their daily food contained 3-400 calories. [7] On the same occasion, the prisoners stated that they were not allowed newspapers, books or letters [7], that their cells got no direct light and were illuminated by a very small bulb, presumably of 25W. The living conditions improved a little when the trial began, but remained however absolutely unsatisfactory. For instance, the wave of cold weather of October 1993 found Ivantoc and Lesco's cell window broken. Generally speaking, the prisoners fought more or less successfully to win certain rights in the course of their imprisonment. For instance, in late June 1993, they went on hunger strike asking for a mattress and a blanket (they were still sleeping on the naked board); they also asked that their wives should be allowed to visit them(*) and that they should have a radio set.2 As a punishment for having gone on hunger strike, the prisoners were sent to lock-up (kartchera), but transferred back to their cell, after four or five days; they were allowed eventually to have a radio set. -------------------------------- (*) A "visit" takes place as follows: a 3mx5m room is divided into two by a brick wall about 1m high which continues upwards with a glass mounted in wooden frames; there are several small holes in the lower part of the wooden frame (which seems to be corked up); on one side of the glass partition stay the visitors, on the other - the prisoners; they all have a box of about 1.5m in length (measured along the glass partition). Communication is difficult, especially when there are several "visits" at the same times.
2.4. The ill treatments
The prisoners were treated badly, especially during the first months of their detention. They were all thrashed, threatened, belied, humiliated; police dogs were set on them; they experienced harassing investigations etc. Shortly after their arrest, the prisoners were isolated, then they were fed with false information in order to be dismayed. For instance, Ilascu was told that his wife and daughters were terrorized by the guards and Cossacks and that, in order to save them (which he could do only if he were set free), he should sign a statement suggested by the investigating body. All along the investigation, the prisoners were systematically belied: they were told, for instance, that the Chisinau government had fallen, that the political power in Moldavia had declared them terrorists, that the "Nistrean republic" had been granted international recognition etc. Ever since their arrest, the prisoners and their families have repeatedly heard that they were to be judged 'in a fortnight', that they 'were going to be shot soon' or that 'all the others had been shot'. Stefan Uratu heard Andrei Ivantoc shouting that he was 'going to be shot at noon' and that the others had already been shot. [6] Since, in general lines, such a treatment did not lead to the expected results, thrashing was resorted to. There was a group of four men in the police prison, of athletic constitution, called "the boxers", whose job was to thrash the prisoners. [6] One of the methods used to humiliate the prisoners was to set an insufficient time limit for going to the toilet. If they could not observe the time limit, the wolf hounds were set on them. One day, Ilascu made an experiment; he deliberately refused to observe the time limit. The guards set the wolf hound on him, but the animal stopped at a certain distance in front of Ilascu and sat as if in front of its master. Another day, while the guards and the wolf hound were supervising a prisoner in the corridor, another prisoner shouted from his cell and ordered the dog to attack; consequently, the dog bit a guard. In revenge, several guards entered Ilascu's cell and thrashed him, although he declared he had not set the dog on. The most inhuman treatment was applied to Ilascu [6]. Several times, he was placed against the wall and a pistol was shot in front of him, at a very short distance, right and left of his head. At other times he was given an anti-bullet vest and was shot from a short distance. He was subjected to fake executions three times: he was blindfolded, taken to a waste area (as far as he could realize); they shot him with blank bullets or shot in another direction than his until he fainted. At one of these executions he was read a sentence to death. One day he was running on his return from the toilet, double quick, according to the rule imposed by the guards and already described; somebody tripped him up and he fell. A guard shouted: "Escape!" and they started shooting with blank bullets. Ilascu fainted and the guards dragged him into the cell. Andrei Ivantoc and Tudor Petrov (Popa) enjoyed very tough treatment also. The investigation tried to prove that they were the direct authors of the murders. The two of them were subjected to a treatment with psychotropic substances. Ilascu declared that he had heard Ivantoc and Petrov (Popa) protesting when they were forced to swallow the drugs [6]. Such treatments, along with their being intoxicated with misleading and alarming information about their relatives and the evolution of the political events had tragic effects on Ivantoc. Mention should be made that his health was already poor, following the suffering caused by a hydatid cyst (he had had an operation in 1988 followed by strict recommendations referring to diet and effort). Having been drugged, Ivantoc was told that a reporter wanted to interview him; he was brought in front of the "reporter" and in front of a hidden camera; when the reporter asked a question, Ivantoc just repeated what another person behind him prompted; the respective person was out of the camera's range. Several times, this whispering voice was loud enough to be recorded; this is how it was possible to notice that Ivantoc was repeating what he was being prompted. The videocassette of the "interview" was broadcast by the ASKET TV in Tiraspol, shortly after the five were arrested. With his eyes blurred and great difficulty in speech, making long pauses between the words, Ivantoc "confessed" to having killed Ostapenko and Gusar. Following the beating, the threats and the psychiatric abuse, Ivantoc was the victim of severe psychiatric disturbances. He tried to hang himself with straps from his torn undershirt, but he failed. The result was that all his clothes were taken away from him and he was left naked for 24 hours. Then he was seen by a doctor, who could not diagnose clearly. Ivantoc was sent to Odessa for more detailed investigations, where he was recommended admittance to a psychiatric clinic. Yet, Ivantoc was sent back to prison; he was examined again and found "healthy". However, his wife said that Ivantoc did not recognize her several times (August - September 1992). Mention should be made of the fact that, as he was a professional driver, Ivantoc went to periodical neuro-psychiatric check-ups, as requested by the Soviet law. The results of the examinations were very good each time; they were recorded in a medical book, which disappeared in the days when Ivantoc was transferred to Odessa. The worst of treatments took place during the first three months (June, July and August), when the prisoners were kept in the militia prison of Tiraspol, and at the commandment of the 14th Army. When the most important "confessions" had been taken and after the prisoners were permitted to have a lawyer, their living conditions improved considerably; however they remained bad [7].
2.5. The Garbuz case
Garbuz enjoyed a different kind of treatment. The wife of one of the persons arrested on June 2 1992, stated that once, when she was in the building of the Tiraspol police in order to obtain permission to see her husband, she happened to open a door and was surprised to see Garbuz in the tender company of a woman. According to some sources, Garbuz reportedly spent the winter holidays of 1992-1993 in his native village. He was not brought to trial together with the other five. Several relatives of the prisoners were not allowed to attend the court session in October and had to wait in front of the "Kirovets" hall until the process was over; they declared that Garbuz was brought in a car and wore no handcuffs.
2.6. The right to defence
In the course of the first two or three months of imprisonment, the prisoners were denied the right to have a lawyer. Ilascu met his lawyer for the first time on August 28th 1992. Petrov (Popa) and Godiac had no lawyer until the trial began. The atmosphere of the cross examinations which took place in that period can be recreated with the help of Stefan Uratu's statements. The investigators systematically tried to intimidate the prisoners. In reply to Uratu's objections that the human rights were not respected, the investigator said: "Did you forget where you are? There might be better laws in Ethiopia. But we shall shoot you here when we want and we will not have to exculpate ourselves to anybody." Some other time, as he refused to sign a deposition suggested by the investigator, he was told: "Be careful, we are in times of war and a bullet in the forehead doesn't mean a thing; you will be floating on the Nistru like many others."
2.7. The presumption of innocence
As we have already mentioned, shortly after the five were arrested, the local TV station in Tiraspol broadcast Ivantoc's "statement". About the same time, the chief-prosecutor of the "Nistrean republic", Boris Lucik, stated to the press that the guilt of the prisoners had been proved; they were the authors of terrorist acts. Such statements were repeated several times before the trial began. This was the starting point of a campaign of libel against the prisoners, carried on by the mass media; this campaign caused part of the population of Transnistria to become hysterical; it also accounts for the aggressive attitude of the people who attended the trial, the request that the prisoners be shot etc. One must not forget that the office of the "ministry of the interior of Transnistria" which was in charge of accrediting journalists to the trial handed out propaganda materials which incriminated "Moldavian terrorism", such as "Dubasari, Transnistria's bleeding wound". The leaflet abounds in gross falsehood; the refugees from the Dubasari area could notice that the victims of the guards and of the Cossacks were depicted as the crimes of the Moldavian policemen and volunteers [8].
3.1. General considerations
The Indictment drawn up by the prosecutor's office of the "Nistrean republic" extends on 140 pages (typed at 1 1/2 lines); we have numbered the paragraphs in order to facilitate references.* The last page bears the signature of the investigator for special cases, Starojuk - who assumes in this way the authorship of the text. The general scheme of the prosecution, on the basis of which the indictment was drawn up, consists of the following:
1. "The Nistrean Moldavian Republic" is the lawful heir of the MASSR and of the MSSR, and its existence is in keeping with the provisions of the international law. 2. Ilascu used illegal methods to fight against a legally set up state, the n.m.r. 3. Ilascu was backed up by the Popular Front, by the Ministry of National Security of Moldavia and by Romania. 4. Ilascu and his accomplices form the 5th column of Moldavia's aggression against Transnistria. 5. Ilascu's activities put into practice the plan which he himself revealed in the Resolution no. 6 of the Tiraspol branch of the Moldavian Popular Front and in the interview granted to the "Smena" magazine. 6. Ilascu coordinated the complex activity of the group under his command, which was to secure arms and ammunition, attract new members etc. 7. It was Ilascu who planned most of the attempts, some of which were successful, some failed, some were deliberately discontinued and some were prevented when Ilascu and his group were arrested.
Note. Mention should be made that in spite of the fact that the 'Nistrean republic' refers to international law and advocates democracy, it is a Soviet state, in which the legal framework is dictated by the Supreme Soviet. The Soviet System deals with all political opponents violently, and even the quality of being "against" the Soviets is an extremely severe crime, similar to being an "enemy of the people", a "fascist", a "terrorist"; those who were labelled as such in the "golden age" of the Soviet terror were necessarily sent to the Gulag, if not killed immediately after being "exposed".
3.2. The problem of the legitimacy the "Nistrean republic"
Here is an excerpt of paragraph 3 which enlarges on the legitimate character of the "n.m.r.": "(3)(*)...after the proclamation, on September 2, 1990, of the NMSSR (later on called the NMR), which is the legitimate successor of MASSR and MSSR, formed as a consequence of the violation of the human rights in the Republic of Moldavia, and of the statement of the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia, on June 23 1990, that the foundation of the MSSR, on August 2 1940, was illegal, and in keeping with the documents of the international law that confirm the right of the peoples to self-determination: the UN Charter, [here follows a long list of documents of international law], in keeping with the will of the people of the NMR, made manifest in referendums, citizens' meetings, decisions of the 2nd Congress of the People's Deputies at all levels, followed by free elections for the Supreme Soviet of the NMSSR (NMR), and when the Supreme Soviets adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the NMSSR [here follows a long list of references to events and domestic "legal" documents]..." Notes 1. Since the MASSR has been set up in the course of events by the decision of the Central Executive Bureau of the Communist (Bolshevik) Party of Ukraine - therefore the decision of a restricted political organism, which is not even independent [the C.(B).P of Ukraine was a branch of the C.(B)P. of the Soviet Union] - and not by the free wish of the people, one cannot regard the MASSR as a state, (not even the Ukrainian SSR, which was entitled to modify the frontiers of the MASSR; the only genuine Soviet state was the USSR). Therefore, the "Nistrean republic" cannot inherit the status of the late MASSR, for the simple reason that the late republic did not have such a status. 2. The "violations of the human rights in the Republic of Moldavia" to which reference has been made consists in introducing the Romanian language as the official language in this state. 3. The only element which has been definitely delineated to the extent of causing a break between Moldavia and Transnistria is the Decision of the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia to consider that the setting up of the MSSR on 2.08.40 was illegal. The act of 2.08.40 is the direct political consequence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, by which Romania's territories East of the Prut, as well as the Baltic states, were abandoned to the Soviet sphere of influence. Thus, accepting the n.m.r. as legitimate would mean to validate the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, therefore acknowledge Soviet power in Bessarabia and the Baltic states as legitimate. Likewise, from this angle (which considers the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as legitimate), the Republic of Moldavia becomes illegitimate. The "normal" evolution would be for Transnistria (meaning the n.m.r.) to extend within the limits of the former MASSR, that is to incorporate the rest of the Republic of Moldavia at least (see the maps, pg. ) Therefore, to agree that the n.m.r. is legitimate would mean to agree that the "republic" should expand to the Prut river. -------------------------------- (*) The number referring to a certain paragraph in the Indictment was put in brackets(...); it was usually placed at the beginning of the quote.
3.3. Who is behind Ilascu?
According to the Indictment, Ilascu is backed up by the Popular Front, by the MNS of the RM and by Romania. The Popular Front provides the ideology, the MNS provides the wages of the "terrorists", also training conditions, coaches, conspiratorial houses, arms and ammunition; Romania supplies more sophisticated arms (field glass guns, grenades with great destructive power, airplane bombs). Notes 1. One is trying to suggest the idea Ilascu is the spearhead of "Romanization" in the Republic of Moldavia. "Romanization" allegedly consists of a non-violent plan (the introduction of the Romanian language as the official language of the state) and a violent plan, drawn up by the "nationalist" party, the 'Securitate' and by a foreign power. Both Ilascu and the other prisoners are Bessarabians - therefore more vulnerable to "Romanization"; their intention is "to export the revolution"- i.e. "Romanization" - beyond the Nistru. "(14). As a native of Bessarabia (the Republic of Moldavia), Ilashko (*) resorted to followers who were natives of Bessarabia themselves, whose relatives lived on the right bank of the river Nistru, thus creating an imitation of the citizens' resistance against the MNR." It is suggested that Transnistrean Moldavians are faithful to the Soviet power, while Bessarabian Moldavians are bound to be tempted by "Romanization". Hence, "the better half" of the "Moldavian people" is on the left bank of the river Nistru. 2. The author of the Indictment proves to have poor information on the Popular Front. The 2nd Congress of the Front is systematically mistaken for the 3rd Congress (the latter took place between 15-16 February, 1992) and reference is made to nonexistent documents of the 3rd Congress. ------------------------------- (*) All the names of the prisoners, as mentioned in the Indictment, are Russified; thus, instead of Ilie St. Ilascu it mentions Ilya Stepanovich Ilashko etc.
3.4. Ilascu - Moldavia's 5th column in Transnistria
Here is the corresponding text in the Indictment: "(85) The group was requested to carry out terrorist and diversionary activity on the territory of the NMR - i.e. to kill the representatives of the state power and the persons who played the most active roles in the setting up of separatism, to blow up the House of the Soviets, the bridge across the Cuciurgan river, the fuel base. With that end in view, weapons were received at the conspiratorial apartment in Causeni, and later transferred to the NMR.(...) This is what turned out to be the preparation for the attack on Tighina, and the respective squad was to be the 5th column. The members of the squad were paid in cash by the MNS of the MR for their activity."
3.5. Resolution no. 6
The Indictment claims that Ilascu's entire terrorist activity carries out the plan put forward in Resolution no. 6. Here are a few excerpts from the same: "(4) With this aim in view, Ilashko I.S. publicly called on the change of the Soviet state and social order of the NMR by means that run counter to the Constitutions of the USSR, MSSR and NMSSR; he also called to opposing Soviet laws, so as to undermine the political and economic system of the NMSSR and to destroy it as a state; he urged people to compile and circulate propaganda material on this topic. (5) Likewise, he called to the perpetration of terrorist and diversionary actions on the territory of the lawfully proclaimed NMSSR. (6) Thus, on September 17 1990, on behalf of the Tiraspol branch of the Popular Front of Moldavia, Ilashko put forward Resolution no. 6, in which he stated that the NMSSR was anti-constitutional; likewise he considered that the delegates who had participated to the 2nd Congress, and who had proclaimed the NMSSR, together with the leaders of the Republic were enemies of the people of Moldavia; at the same time he urged all members and supporters of the Popular Front of Moldavia to armed guerrilla fight, to organize a basis to carry out such a guerrilla war; he also called on to participate in the murdering of the delegates to the 2nd Congress and of the leaders of the Republic - i.e. to perpetrate terrorist actions against the above, with a view to killing them. (8) At point 3 of the Resolution, Ilashko urges that the following be considered enemies of the people: the organizers of the 2nd Congress, who had proclaimed the NMSSR, together with the deputies to the congress (579 persons), the leaders of the Republic and all those who had actively supported the formation of the Republic (90% of the population of the NMSSR). At point 4 he urges that, if force be used, it should be answered by force, including military force. At point 8 he requests all the members of the Popular Front to support the liquidation of the enemies of Moldavia's people of mentioned at point 3 of the Resolution." Consequently, Ilascu demands that 90% of Transnistria's population should be decimated. Besides, the Indictment considers that by publishing Resolution no. 6 Ilascu is guilty of public instigation to terrorism. Notes 1. A large number of passages in the Indictment are recurrent. For example, paragraphs 131, 403, 481, 528 have the same content; likewise, paragraphs 134, 406, 484; there are scores of similar examples. The author seems to have gone to great pains to artificially expand the text of the indictment, in a rudimentary manner, by excessive repetitions. At the same time, Resolution no. 6 is, from the point of view of the prosecution, a fundamental text. This text consists of two pages only; it should have been quoted as a whole. However, not a single sentence of Resolution no. 6 is quoted, its contents being retold instead - thus misinterpreting the message and taking it out of the context. 2. Two lists of persons that were to have been killed are mentioned, yet the contents of the said lists is nowhere to be found. 3. Should the publication in the press of Resolution no. 6 be an act of public instigation to terrorism, then not only the Resolution's author (Ilascu) is guilty, but also the editor-in-chief of the respective publication. Yet, the latter is not among the defendants, he is the witness for the defence. As a matter of fact, it would have been the only case in history in which a Soviet newspaper "publicly called to committing state crimes" (395) against the power of the Soviets. 4. A year and a half elapsed since Resolution no. 6 was put forward (September 17th, 1990) and the first terrorist action incriminated by the Indictment took place (March, 1991). However, neither the prosecutor's office, nor the militia, nor the "Securitate" of the "Nistrean republic" took any steps against Ilascu in the mean time. Either Resolution no. 6 was not a dangerous text, or the respective institutions proved paradoxically indifferent to the enemies of the "young Nistrean republic". In fact, in his plea of October 13th, 1993, barrister Kosiko mentioned that, at the respective moment, Pascari, prosecutor for the town of Tiraspol, had declared publicly that Resolution no. 6 was a text which presented no danger.
3.6. The interview granted to the "Smena" magazine
The interview granted by Ilascu to the Leningrad magazine "Smena", and entitled "I am carrying out a dirty mission" is considered by the Indictment as incriminating evidence (10). Here are a few representative paragraphs: "(46) (...) in the interview granted to a reporter of the "Smena" magazine, Ilashko acknowledged that Transnistria was never a Romanian territory, that it was a Ukrainian territory; however he stated that the purpose (of his activity) was to liquidate the activists and to chase away the non-Moldavian people from Transnistria. (47) 'We have two black lists,' he said. 'The first one includes 23 persons: they are the leaders of the so-called NMR. The second one includes 480 persons; they are the delegates to the 2nd Congress. We are carrying out a serious-minded activity of exterminating them physically.' (48) 'Previously, people did not queue for containers (railway containers, a hint to the final departure of the Russians from Transnistria); now they are.' (49) 'We have politicians and they must remain clean. But there are people who must do the dirty work. I am one of them.'' (50) 'There may be bloodshed, many years may pass, but the tricolor flag shall eventually fly over Transnistria. The time for statements is over; everything is very serious now.'" According to the Indictment, Ilascu draws up the program of his activity in Resolution no. 6 and in the interview granted to the "Smena" magazine: "(13) Subsequently, aiming to achieve the objectives put forward in Resolution no. 6 and in the "Smena" magazine, of perpetrating terrorist activities against the state and public activists of the NMR, to carry out diversions on the territory of the NMR and to form organizations the purpose of which is to carry out such crimes, Ilashko I.S. started to select out of the adepts of the MPF those individuals capable of implementing his criminal intentions, thus compiling personal files and implicating them in the activity of the branch of the MPF and in the volunteer movement against the Gagauz Republic." Notes 1. The respective interview was indeed published in the "Smena" magazine, of pro-Communist orientation. 2. An interview cannot be considered incriminating evidence, as long as the authorship of the text was not proved. The Indictment does not even mention the name of the reporter, the number or the date of the issue. 3. Mention is made in (48) of the way in which Russian families move from one town to another: they hire containers from the railway station which are to be transported by rail, and pack their furniture and other belongings in them. The Russians in Tiraspol are so scared of Ilascu, the Indictment claims that those who want to get away from the town queue up at the railway station in order to rent containers. Actually, there has been an exodus of the Moldavians from Tiraspol, as well as from other Transnistrean places in the last years, and the number of the Russians has increased considerably. 4. There is a paradoxical statement at (49): the tactics of the Popular Front is to preserve the politicians clean-handed and leave the dirty missions to other persons. Yet, Ilascu is a politician (the president of the Tiraspol branch of the Popular Front) who accomplishes dirty missions. 5. Paragraph (13) suggests the existence of a permanent volunteer movement against the "Gagauz republic"; in fact, the movement of the volunteers was a unique moment which lasted but a week. 6. The interview granted to "Smena" offers an image of the Soviet press - in this case the press of a great metropolis, the former capital of the Czars - and at the same time an image of the degree of intoxication with counterfeit information the (post)-Soviet man is exposed to. The aggressiveness of the public in "Kirovets Hall" is one of the consequences of such propaganda. 7. According to the Indictment, Ilascu started by making public instigation to terrorism, then carried on his activity secretly. This is perhaps the only recorded case in history in which a conspiratorial activity made its debut with an act of self-deconspiration.
3.7. The terrorist attempts
3.7.1. The creation of the "Bujor" group
According to the Indictment, Ilascu initiated the "terrorist-diversionary 'Bujor' group" (bujor is the Romanian word for peony) after the Congress of the Popular Front in February 1992, i.e. after February 17th, 1992 (15). The group was reportedly made up of Valeriu Garbuz, Alexandru Lesco, Andrei Ivantoc, Tudor Petrov (Popa), G. Lungul, L. Barbuta, S. Ivantoc, M. Paiu, V. Sincariuc and other persons who could not be identified by the investigation. "Besides them, (Ilascu) involved other persons to perform terrorist acts, who were not members of the group. Matusari, Costrov, Berbec, Craciun, Jenunchi and other unidentified persons were involved in the crimes committed." According to the Indictment, the group was created (and was to continue its activity) "under the guidance of staff members from the MNS of the RM, Valeriu Harea and Stefan Ciobanu."(15) Notes 1. Although paragraph (15) mentions that Tudor Petrov (Popa) was a member of the "Bujor" group from its very beginning, further on, in paragraph (73), the Indictment states that Petrov (Popa) 'enlisted' in late April, 1992 as follows: "(73) About mid-April 1992, at the entrance to the Textile Factory where he was working, an unknown man approached him and suggested that he should attend the meetings of the MPF which were to be held near the Tiraspol Pedagogical Institute. (74) He agreed and attended the meetings, where he met Uratu S.G., Lungul G.B. and Barbuta L.N. In the course of their discussions, Uratu said: 'we must help Moldavia in its struggle against separatism'. (75) A few days later, Lungul approached him and asked for help in transporting some arms. He agreed; the next day, he left for the village of Ciobruciu together with Lungul, in the latter's car, a white VAZ-2101; they crossed the village and got to the Nistru.(...) , two unidentified men showed up on the right bank; he did not talk to them, since he did not know them.(...) It turned out that the two were Ilashko and Ivantoc, whom he had not met before." Mention should be made of the following in connection with the way in which the alleged activity of the "Bujor" group is described: (a) Uratu had been expelled from the Front at that time, therefore he could not have participated to the meetings of the Front (b) Uratu never met Petrov (Popa) (c) It is odd that Ilascu did not participate to the meetings of the Front (d) It is strange how easily Petrov (Popa) allowed himself to be involved in dangerous activities (e) Lungul had no car, never had one (f) Even if Petrov (Popa) had recognized the two men on the other bank of the river, he could not have been able to talk to them as the river is about 50 m wide there. (g) The Tiraspol Pedagogical Institute is situated in the center of the town, opposite the Lyrical and Dramatic Theater. In April 1992, the latter discarded its artistic functions and turned into the most important Cossack headquarters. The decision of the members of the Front to hold their meetings near the Institute cf.(73), i.e. on the pavement, in the sight of the Cossacks does not seem well inspired. 2. Valeriu Harea and Stefan Ciobanu do work for the MNS of the RM, but have never been involved in diversionary or terrorist activities. Valeriu Harea, a graduate from the College of Law in Chisinau, was never trained for combat; he was a judge until April 9th, 1992 when he was transferred to the MNS; therefore, he could not have "guided" the "Bujor" group in the capacity of Minister of National Security of the Republic of Moldavia staff in February 1992, as stated in paragraph (15), for the simple reason that he was not employed there at the time. The only possible connection between Stefan Ciobanu and the Ilascu's file was that he worked previously in Slobozia.
3.7.2. Terrorist attacks which Ilascu relinquished deliberately The targets of the terrorist attacks
According to the Indictment, Ilascu intended to direct his first terrorist acts against Volkova, Boshakov, Migulea, Andreeva. Ana Volkova is one of the leaders of the "Supreme Soviet" of the "NMR", a hard liner of the separatist policy. Boshakov is the manager of the "Kirov" works, one of the town's magnates. Migulea and Andreeva are the leaders of the women's strikes, they planned the strikes and the meetings against Latin writing, they also organized blockages of the railway, robberies at arms dumps etc. Organization of the terrorist attacks
According to the Indictment, Ilascu asked Garbuz and Matusar to find out the addresses of the target persons (127). Here is a fragment from paragraph (141): "(141) ...In March 1992, the members of the MPF used to meet near the building of the Pedagogical Institute. Ilashko approached him (Garbuz) and told him as well as Lesco, Matusar, Ivantoc etc. that the MPF had inclined for armed fight against the NMR. That was the official policy of the Chisinau government. Several groups were created for the purpose of achieving terrorist activity against Bolshakov, Andreeva and other persons whose names he did not remember." As stated in paragraph (127), Ilascu asked Garbuz and Matusar to throw a grenade into the house of each of the target persons, but according to paragraph (152) he demanded them to throw bombs through the windows of the said houses. According to paragraph (154), he invited Garbuz and Matusar to his house, handed them 3 grenades and instructed them how to use them. Shortly before the action was to start, Ilascu ordered that the terrorist act be cancelled: "(155) Upon Ilashko's order, he (Matusar) met Garbuz several days later in front of the "Ocean" store, 25 October str., Tiraspol, at 21:00 or 22:00. Garbuz was carrying the cylindrical grenade, and he was carrying the two oval grenades which Ilashko had given him. Near the store they met Ivantoc, who was waiting for them. Ivantoc informed them that it was Ilashko's order to cancel the terrorist act, as he feared they would be caught on the spot. Afterwards they split; he kept the grenades on the balcony and returned them to Ilashko thereafter. (156) At a meeting of the PFM, Ilashko pointed out that such actions were dangerous in Tiraspol, as the doers were bound to be caught quickly; therefore the grenades were to be thrown at Slobozia." Notes 1. The Front was in opposition in March 1992, and Ilascu had severely criticized the leadership of Moldavia, therefore he could by no means be the exponent of "the official policy in Chisinau". 2. During the respective period (the spring of 1992), the Transnistrean leaders were extremely cautious, and their movements were carefully watched by the Tiraspol (separatist) 'securitate'. All in all, they had several places of residence at their disposal, and only at the last moment were they told by the 'securitate' men what place they were supposed to sleep in. Therefore, the problem of trying to find out their addresses was pointless. 3. It is odd that terrorists did not know how to use a grenade and were so rudimentary instructed. 4. Ilascu reportedly instructed his accomplices to throw the bombs through the windows of the respective houses (152), yet there is no mention of bombs on any of the lists containing the ammunition the "Bujor" group was allegedly equipped, with save for 4 airplane bombs of 250 kg each which were to be acquired from Romania (20). Using such bombs was impossible. Even if "Ilascu's terrorists" could throw a 250 kg bomb through the window, it would not have exploded. Airplane bombs do not explode when thrown by hand at short distances. 5. It seems odd that, having trained for terrorist acts for a year and a half, Ilascu should plan so rudimentary an action only to cancel it, and that he did cancel it although nothing new (no change in the local situation) had come up. 6. According to paragraph (156), Slobozia was selected as the "center of the crimes" only because it was a quiet town. One could not kill the persons on the "black lists" mentioned in Resolution no. 6 by means of terrorist activities organized in Slobozia; it was a totally minor town. Therefore, Ilascu seems to have given up his intention to carry out Resolution no. 6 before even committing one terrorist act; consequently, as the Indictment puts it in (156), Resolution no. 6 had practically no influence on the activity of the "terrorists", which renders the whole structure of the Indictment contradictory.
3.7.3. The terrorist attacks on Gusar and Savenko (March 13th, 1992) The targets of the respective attacks
The victims who, according to the Indictment, were Ilascu's targets in the said terrorist attacks were obscure persons in the town of Slobozia. Iu. Savenko, retired, had been a prosecutor in Slobozia. A. Gusar was the deputy of the OSTK commander in Slobozia and the commander of the popular support detachments of the militia in Slobozia. The said organizations were low para-military groups, which did not take part in action and whose role was to terrorize the population. Ever since 1989, Gusar had been involved in illicit arms trade and had consequently acquired a considerable wealth; since he lived in a quiet town, he could have easier access to arms stocks kept under less strict control and surveillance. Gusar had committed no crimes against the civilian population; his pro-separatist activity was restricted to urging people give up their Moldavian citizenship and support the separatist cause, or to threats. The preparation of the terrorist attacks
Paragraph (130) of the Indictment states that Ilascu planned the terrorist attacks on March 13th 1992, but further on (138) there is a mention that Andrei Ivantoc and Lesco "drew up a detailed plan for those actions". The aim of the terrorist attacks
As paragraph (130) puts it, Ilascu intended to kill his victims; further on, paragraph (138) states that Ilascu merely wanted "to scare Gusar and Savenko". The unfolding of the terrorist attacks
According to paragraphs (156) and (158), two teams were trained to carry out the terrorist attacks; Paiu, Garbuz and Matusar took Savenko for target; Andrei Ivantoc, Serafim Ivantoc and Lesco had Gusar as target. On D day, Ilascu handed them the grenades. They left for Slobozia "early in the morning" in two cars - i.e. each team in its own car. "Then, Sasha (Lesco ) showed them the houses into which they were to throw the grenades" (156). There is no mention of the terrorists' whereabouts in Slobozia from "early in the morning" until 22:30 when the attacks took place. Paragraph (138) states that both Andrei Ivantoc and Lesco threw a grenade into Gusar's courtyard (two grenades in all), while Garbuz, Paiu and Matusar threw their grenades into Savenko's courtyard (three grenades in all). Paragraphs (144),(145) mention that the grenades were to be thrown into the respective houses. The acts of indictment, systematically point out that the grenades were thrown at the windows of the respective houses (406, 404, 512, 530 etc.). However, it comes out from the depositions of the witnesses (169, 172, 1740, that the grenades were thrown into the courtyard, two in each case. Here is Savenko's deposition, as it was registered in the Indictment (169): "(169) Savenko, the victim, stated that he was in the kitchen listening to the radio at 22:30 on March 13 1992. Then he went to the room where his wife and his daughter were watching TV. He asked his wife to come over to listen to the radio. His daughter remained in the room watching TV. At that moment a strong explosion took place and the smell of explosives spread out; the window panes began to fall down and he suffered an injury at a finger of the right hand. His wife was unharmed. He feared for his daughter's life and dashed to her room. His daughter was unharmed. His daughter was behind an armchair. For fear of gun shots, he turned the lights off and went out into the street with his gun. He saw an automobile making for the Nistru; he fired twice in the direction of the car, then told his daughter to call the militia (...)" Notes 1. There is a surprising number of contradictions with reference to such simple facts; some of them are fundamental ones (was it meant to be a crime, or merely to scare?). 2. Even if we agree that the actions took place in one version or the other, it is still surprising that: (a) the targets were absolutely obscure persons (b) so many "terrorists" were used for such a simple action (c) they threw the grenades without making sure the target persons were at home, and - if they were - in which place they were exactly (d) in both cases, the Romanian grenade did not explode; therefore it could become an exhibit (e) Savenko's daughter under whose window were thrown the bombs was unharmed, while Savenko, in a room farther away, was injured. 3. There are other contradictions in the way the Indictment describes the "terrorist attacks of March 13th". For instance, paragraph (158) claims that Matusar stopped the car at a distance of 100 m from Savenko's house (too great a distance for one who intends to make a quick retreat from the place of the crime), while paragraph (170) states that the car stopped in front of the house next to Savenko's etc.
3.7.4. The terrorist attacks of April 23rd 1992. Ostapenko's death
According to the Indictment, Ilascu keeps devising criminal plots, without seemingly being affected by the lamentable failure of his preceding endeavors. He plans three simultaneous attacks for April 23rd, 1992 - against Gusar, Ostapenko and Limanski. Paragraph (185) points out that Ilascu appointed Garbuz, Costrov, Craciun, Berbec and Jenunchi to carry out the attack against Limanski; Andrei Ivantoc, Lungul and Lesco to attack Ostapenko; and "two symphathizers of the MPF in Tighina, armed with automatic guns" to attack Gusar; the names of the two were never mentioned. In contradiction with (189), paragraph (191) claims that the group which attacked Ostapenko included Petrov (Popa) as well. The targets of the terrorist attempts
Nicolai Ostapenko is the most prominent person of Ilascu's alleged victims. Ostapenko was born at Chitcani, in the early 1950s; he was Moldavian after his mother and Ukrainian after his father. He had an academic background, was a secondary school teacher; he taught very little since he embarked upon politics early. Ostapenko's rise is connected with the events specific to the local political situation. Considering that Ostapenko is a key person in the "Ilascu file", it is important to understand what his exact place in the Transnistrean nomenclature was. That is why we are going to give certain details concerning the micro - political game. Tiraspol is surrounded by a number of villages which are part of the Slobozia county. At the same time, ever since its foundation by Suvorov, Tiraspol has been a fortress-town, a military-town, a fighting-town. This warlike, aggressive component is kept alive and brought to mind by numerous monuments or posters in the town. Tiraspol is trying to extend its administration to coterminous communes; the leadership of the Slobozia county is opposed to this tendency. Igor Smirnov (who is now president of the n.m.r.) was mayor of Tiraspol in 1990, and the chief of the executive of Slobozia was at the same time the party secretary of the county. At that time, Ostapenko supported Smirnov's policy of transferring certain villages which were part of the Slobozia county to Tiraspol; in exchange for this support, Ostapenko was granted the leadership of the executive in Slobozia; the former chief was removed on the pretext that he was at the same time the party secretary. As soon as he become head of the county Ostapenko changed his attitude towards Smirnov and refused to hand over the respective villages to Tiraspol. It seems that this political game was the source of the bad relationship between Ostapenko and Smirnov. The strain between the two was common knowledge in the high political circles in Tiraspol. When the armed conflict started (in March 1992) Ostapenko refused to send the paramilitary groups in Slobozia to participate in the fights in the Cocieri - Cosnita area. Later on, following a dispute which degenerated in verbal violence, he refused to allow the Cossacks to settle and be allotted land in Slobozia. In that period, Tiraspol was over saturated with Cossacks, so they were trying to settle in coterminous places, and Slobozia was one of the most favorable. Towards the end of the 1980s, Ostapenko had contributed to the imprisonment of some hooligans who were raiding the Chitcani - Slobozia area. The above were set free when the war began and enlisted in the Transnistrean guard (such transfers from Soviet prisons to the Transnistrean guards became quite systematic); they promised not to forgive Ostapenko for sending them to prison and threatened to settle accounts with him. In April 1992, Ostapenko was the president of the county executive in Slobozia, member of the Transnistrean government, deputy in the supreme soviet of MNR and in the parliament of Moldavia (the sessions of which he had long stopped attending). Of the entire Nistrean political nomenclature, Ostapenko was the only dangerous rival for Smirnov, as he had several advantages (he was a native, while Smirnov was born in Magadan, near the Okhotsk sea; he was much younger; he was well educated). Ostapenko also had the will to use those advantages in his political fight. On the other hand, Ostapenko was of no special importance for Moldavia; he was not involved in the military conflict (Slobozia was a quiet place, where no battles were ever fought), he was relatively correct and law abiding - judging by Transnistrean standards. On April 23 1992 in the morning, Ostapenko was going by car to his office. He used the official car to travel from Tiraspol (where he lived) to Slobozia (where he worked). He was now crossing the Caragas village as usual. Unusually enough, he was not accompanied by his bodyguards as usual. It is a fact that since May 1991 Transnistrean officials were always accompanied by two bodyguards armed to the teeth. At 7:30, two masked men attacked Ostapenko's car at an intersection in Caragas village. They were carrying automatic pistols and were wearing camouflage clothes. They disappeared immediately. The incident took place between the militia station and a guard's sentry, at a distance of about 100 m of them, yet nobody interfered. The aggressors got into a car which disappeared on a street which lead to the banks of the river Nistru. About 30 minutes later, the Tiraspol radio station announced that Ostapenko was attacked by "a group of terrorists, well trained in Romania". Ostapenko was taken to the municipal hospital of Tiraspol and operated; the operation was filmed; he died 7 days after the attack, on April 30, 1992. Sources from Slobozia, present at Ostapenko's requiem, claim that Gusar boasted he knew who had killed the deceased and said he would make it common knowledge. He did not live to do it; he was killed soon after. The other victim of the terrorist attacks of April 23 1992 would be A.N. Limanski, chief of section of the county executive of Slobozia by that time. The terrorist attack against Ostapenko How the attack was organized
According to paragraph (183), Ilascu planned the attack against Ostapenko in the second half of April; the crime was scheduled for April 23 1992. Cf. (216), the last briefing took place on April 22 at the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol; however, according to paragraph (236), after the briefing which took place at the PIT, Andrei Ivantoc, Lesco and Petrov (Popa) watched Ostapenko's departure in his official car early in the morning of April 22; therefore, the last briefing must have taken place before April 22. There is even a third version in paragraph (296); the briefing reportedly took place on April 22 in Ilascu's house. According to paragraphs (191) and (468), on the day of the crime, in the morning, Ilascu supplied Andrei Ivantoc, Petrov (Popa) and Lesco with two automatic guns and four magazines; this allegedly took place in Tiraspol, but no mention was made in the Indictment of the exact place; neither is there any mention of how the three joined Lungul in whose car they set out for Slobozia; there is also no mention of how they acquired their camouflage uniforms. However, according to paragraph (241), on the day of the attack, Andrei Ivantoc, Petrov (Popa), Lesco, a young man named Valera (probably Sincariuc) and Lungul set out from Tiraspol in Lungul's car, heading for Caragas. There were unarmed. Valera (probably Sincariuc) got off in front of the city hospital, before they left the town, and the remaining four drove on to Caragas. There, they reportedly met Valera again (although the latter had got off the car in Tiraspol!). Valera allegedly gave them two sacks, each sack containing a camouflage uniform, an automatic gun and two magazines. Finally, paragraph (258) gives another version: Petrov (Popa), Andrei Ivantoc, Lesco, a young man (unknown to Petrov) and Lungul set out in the latter's car from Tiraspol to Caragas; they were unarmed. In front of the city hospital, the young man got off; the other four drove on to Caragas where they stopped at Sincariuc's house; there, they were given the magazines and the automatic guns (no mention being made of the camouflage uniforms). Notes Considering first version of the attack, it seems impossible that the attackers could have taken the automatic guns through the great number of checking points on the road from Tiraspol to Caragas. The first checking point was situated just next to the city hospital, on the road to Sucleia. Considering the second and third versions, one finds it difficult to understand the part played by the "unknown young man" (probably Sincariuc) as well as the way in which he managed to travel from Tiraspol to Caragas. The attack
This is how the Indictment describes the attack following Petrov's alleged depositions: "(259) Leshko placed himself on the left side of the road and was to signal the passing of Ostapenko's sedan by crossing the road. It was about 7:50. They waited for 15 - 20 minutes. (260) When he saw Leshko crossing the road and making for them, he and Ivantoc got off the car, arms in hand, ran onto the carriage road, stopped at the assigned place, i.e. to the right of Ostapenko's car, in the direction in which it was travelling. He was nearer the front of the car, while Ivantoc was rather to the back. When they were placed into position, they saw an Ural car approaching them; it was behind the Ural car that they saw the white GAZ 2410. Ivantoc started shouting at him to shoot. He allowed the Ural car to pass and then opened fire aiming at the tyres of Ostapenko's car. He heard that Ivantoc had also opened fire. Ivantoc aimed at the windscreen. When the car stopped, he ceased fire and ran away, while Ivantoc came very close to the car and opened automatic fire." According to Ivantoc's further alleged testimony, the latter put his automatic gun on the window pane and shot Ostapenko and his driver. "(261) Petrov fired only one automatic magazine, then ran to Lungul's car, where Lungul and Lesco were waiting. Ivantoc followed soon afterwards; they made for the Nistru in the car driven by Lungul.(...) they followed a country road which lead to a rubbish dump where they hid the camouflage outfit.(...) Ivantoc went to Ilascu where they drank cognac. (...) (263) Ivantoc said that Ilascu gave them the mark 3 for what they had accomplished (...)* (197) Following the terrorist attack, Ostapenko was deadly wounded and died in the Tiraspol Hospital on April 30 1992, at 21:20, of a number of wounds in the chest, stomach and limbs, and of hypostatic pneumonia with complications." According to certain depositions, the attackers were masked (307, 309); but since other witnesses could appreciate the age of the attackers pretty accurately, it is implicit that they were not masked. According to some witnesses the getaway car was a white Jiguli (307), or a milk-white one; according to other witnesses it was a red car (326). The Indictment mentions several times (538),(562) etc. that the driver, Kaloshin, "had...multiple, 3 grade fractures in the shoulder blade area, in the spine area and the left armpit. He was hospitalized at the Tiraspol Hospital until May 5 1992." Notes 1. The way in which, according to the Indictment, Lesco gave notice that Ostapenko's car was approaching is rather awkward; the system would not have worked if Ostapenko's car had been closely followed by another car, or if a car coming from the opposite direction would have prevented Lesco from crossing the street. The aggressors simply identified Ostapenko's car (in a rudimentary way), but did not make sure the latter was in the car and not just somebody else. 2. The aggressors used 3 Kalashnikov magazines (90 cartridges), and fired them automatically. In principle this would split the chest in two (18 bullets were extracted from Ostapenko's body in hospital, according to paragraph (339)). Both Ostapenko and Kaloshin should have died on the spot; yet, Ostapenko died a week later because of the wounds and of hypostatic pneumonia (!), and Kaloshin survived; his wounds did not seem to be caused by automatic fire shot from a short distance. 3. To kill Kaloshin was completely absurd from the point of view of the terrorists. 4. The terrorists decision to wear camouflage uniforms does not make sense. Such uniforms rendered them more conspicuous in town, instead of making them inconspicuous. Futhermore, it seems the uniforms were received on the very morning of the attack, which is nothing but useless imprudence: they could have been the wrong size, thus hindering their movements. 5. The aggressors travelled by Lungul's alleged car which was at first white, then red and did not exist in fact (see above, &3.7.1, note 1(e)). 6. Ivantoc actually suffered from a severe liver disease and never drank alcohol. He could not have drunk cognac with Ilascu as stated in paragraph (261). The terrorist attack against Gusar
Paragraph (187) states that "owing to reasons independent of their wish, the two sympathizers of the MPF in Tighina could not carry out their mission to kill Gusar". The Indictment makes no other mention of this attack save for the above enigmatic sentence, which is repeated several times: (414) etc. The terrorist attack against Limanski
Here is one of the ways in which the Indictment describes the attack: "(301) They approached Limanski's house at 7:30. Upon Garbuz's order, he - Costrov - (got off the car and) began to inflate the car's tire. Garbuz and Jenunchi made for the Nistru, while Berbec remained near the car. Garbuz stopped in front of Limanski's house. He was the leader of the operation. He gave Craciun, Jenunchi and Berbec a grenade each. (302) They waited for about 5 - 10 minutes for Limanski to come out, but in the meantime Limanski's neighbor came out and asked them what was going on. Costrov answered that he was merely inflating the tyre, upon which the neighbor left and he (Costrov) got into the car, started the engine and invited Berbec in, too. They drove to Garbuz and suggested him to leave. They accused him that he was frightened, but he said that he would go away alone. Then Garbuz and Berbec, who had got off the car, got into the car. They drove towards Garbuz and Jenunchi and asked them to get into the car. When they got into the car, Craciun or Garbuz threw a grenade into a bush, being afraid of a passer by, then started to look for the grenade. Meanwhile Limanski came out of the house. The grenade was quickly found and they hurried away." Such failures of the "Moldavian terrorism" do not make Ilascu less guilty, claims the Indictment, because: "(417)...that Gusar and Limanski were not killed was irrespective of Ilashko's will."
3.7.5. The terrorist attacks of May 8th, 1992. The killing of Gusar The planning of the attacks
According to paragraphs (201),(426), (487) etc. Ilascu planned the killing of Limanski and Gusar early in March 1992. Paragraph (219) states that the meeting to plan the attacks took place in Ilascu's house on May 4th or 5th; all the members of the "Bujor" group reportedly attended the meeting. They had no available car at that time: the cars of Andrei Ivantoc, Lungul and Costrov were out of order, all at the same time. Ilascu gave Garbuz a Makarov revolver, bullets, 3 grenades and the uniform of a militia captain. The conspirators decided to meet at the bus stop outside the city hospital on May 8th in the morning. Yet according to paragraph (246), Ilascu demanded only Andrei Ivantoc and Lesco to kill Gusar. On May 7, in the evening, Garbuz called on Andrei Ivantoc bringing along the uniform of the militia captain, and stayed overnight; in the morning, they retrieved an automatic gun and three Makarov revolvers from Ivantoc's house. On May 8, they both left for the bus stop in front of the City Hospital. There they met Ilascu, Barbuta, Lungul, Petrov (Popa). They all got on the bus to Caragas village. Notes 1. The bus stop where the conspirators met, opposite the City Hospital, was situated next to the entrance to the Institute for vegetable growing research where Ilascu had worked for many years. It seems very unwise of Ilascu to be seen there, in the company of 5 accomplices, one of whom was carrying an automatic gun in a plastic bag. Besides, buses were very crowded in the morning and the 6 confederates with their automatic gun in a plastic bag must have looked extremely suspect. Paragraph (246) states that it was only in the morning of the attack that Petrov (Popa) found out about the attack, when Lungul called to tell him to "come along and have a talk". Petrov (Popa) agreed, and the two made for the bus stop outside the City Hospital, where they found Ilascu and Barbuta. Garbuz and Andrei Ivantoc arrived shortly afterwards by car. The 6 confederates separated into two groups: Petrov (Popa), Andrei Ivantoc, Lungul and Barbuta got on the bus to Caragas, while Ilascu and Garbuz got into the car and set out for Caragas as well. There is no mention as to who was driving the car. Ilascu and Garbuz waited for the other 4 at the bus stop in Caragas; among them was Andrei Ivantoc, who was carrying a Kalashnikov and an automatic revolver in a plastic bag. Right there, at the bus stop, Ilascu gave Andrei Ivantoc and Garbuz a Makarov revolver and bullets (264). Ilascu and Lungul remained in Caragas, where they waited near the village shop to receive reports on the evolution of the terrorist acts (246). Somewhere else, however, in (246) there is a mention that Ilascu was waiting for the news at Sincariuc's place. 2. One finds it surprising that one of the persons who was to play an active part in the attack, Petrov (Popa), was called for only on the respective day, in the morning. If "terrorists" worked so slap-dash, what might Ilascu' "elaborate plans" have consisted of? It is not clear what might have happened if Petrov (Popa) had not been at home or if, for some reason, he would not have been available for action. 3. It is surprising that such a large group - a member of whom was carrying an automatic gun - should meet and regroup in public places. It would have been more simple if the two of them had gone straight to Caragas by car, without going first to the bus stop outside the City Hospital. 4. It is also surprising that the aggressors should travel to Caragas by car when a previous statement pointed out that they had no means of transport at their disposal. It is also surprising that the car was not used later to carry out the attacks and that a more complicated and imprudent method was used instead. 5. It is no less surprising that Ilascu should give his confederates the gun and the bullets at the bus stop as well as the fact that he waited for reports on the evolution of the attacks in the most visible place - near the village shop. Waiting in front of the shop was not only unfit for the secrecy of the operation, but uncomfortable and incompatible with the dignity of an awe-inspiring leader of terrorist groups. The capture of Cernov's car
The confederates came into play in the very bus stop in Caragas. Garbuz, who was dressed in the militia captain's uniform, began to stop cars, aiming to capture one for further use during the attack. Here is how this episode is described in the Indictment: "(349) Witness Cernov A.D. pointed out that he drove his wife from Slobozia to Tiraspol and had her admitted to the maternity hospital on April 8 1992, about 6 o'clock a.m. On his way back to Caragas, he saw a militiaman in a captain's uniform at the first bus stop; the militiaman stepped on the carriage road and stopped him.(...)It turned out later that the militiaman was Garbuz; he came to the car, opened the front door and asked:' Would you give me a lift to the county militia station?' Cernov agreed. Garbuz said that there were several other fellow-collaborators with him. He said: 'Get in, the car is empty.' Garbuz motioned them to sit on the back seat, which the three of them did. The witness found out later that they were Ivantoc, Petrov and Barbuta. On route, Garbuz asked him in Russian where he lived, were he was going to etc. Then he said that a man was waiting for them at the end of the Caragas village. There was nobody there when they arrived. Then Garbuz asked him to turn right and drop him at his home. The people in the car kept asking whether he lived there or on the next street. They reached the last or last-but-one street. Garbuz asked him to stop the engine, looked at his watch and said: 'Well, how about this? 17 minutes have passed and he is still not here.' Cernov took out a cigarette and started smoking. At this moment, Garbuz turned towards him and said: 'What kind of cigarettes have you got, young man?' He got hold of his nape, forced his head backwards and splashed his eyes with a liquid from a vial. Then, someone said in Moldavian: 'Give him another one, in the nose.' Garbuz splashed him again. From that moment onwards they spoke only Moldavian. He heard them testing the pistol and saying: 'The pistol is O.K., everything is ready. Now.' He told them in Moldavian: 'Don't harm me, don't kill me; here, take the car, take everything, but don't kill me. I have just taken my wife to the maternity hospital; we are expecting a baby. Then he heard: 'Where did you get this idea from? We don't kill Moldavian people.' (350) Then they took him out of the car and moved him to the back seat. Ivantoc sat behind the wheel and they started for the cemetery. They stopped. Petrov and Barbuta took him out of the car and Garbov said they were going to see the chief and let him decide what was to be done." Let us, now, follow the scene in which Ilascu decided to let Cernov live: "(204) Ilashko did not agree at the beginning because Cernov could be an important witness; he was persuaded by his confederates' entreaties and agreed to grant Cernov his life, but asked for a written declaration from him, in which to show he agreed to cooperate with the MNS of Moldavia. Then, Garbuz, Ivantoc and Lungul, who had joined them, returned to the rubbish dump in Cernov's car. They informed the rest of them of Ilashko's decision, then they all got into the car, seating the latter on the back seat and made for Limanski's house (...) to kill him." Therefore Cernov's car (a Jiguli) contained Cernov, the 4 aggressors (Garbuz, Ivantoc, Barbuta, Petrov), and Lungul who had been brought from Caragas. Ivantoc was driving, Garbuz was in the front seat; Barbuta, Petrov (Popa), Lungul and Cernov were in the back seat. The "terrorists" made for Limanski's house. The attack against Limanski
According to paragraphs (225), (204), (205), the "terrorists" arrived at Limanski's house, but did not find him in: "(205) They waited for Limanski to come, but as he did not come, they left for Gusar's house to wait for him." The attack against Gusar
The Jiguli car with its 6 passengers made for Gusar's house, but he was not in either. While waiting for Gusar to return, and in spite of the squash on the back couch, where 4 persons were crowding on 3 seats - Cernov was forced to write the note of cooperation: "(350) While waiting, Garbuz gave Cernov a block-notes he had found in the car and a pen; he started dictating the following:'To the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldavia'. At this, Ivantoc cut in:' Why the Minister of Internal Affairs and not the Minister of National Security?'. Garbuz said: 'Well, if he has written so, leave it like that.' (...) Meanwhile, either Garbuz or Ivantoc saw Gusar's car." The aggressors got out of the car; Garbuz - still wearing the militia captain's uniform - demanded Gusar's identification papers; the two of them had an argument by Gusar's car. Meanwhile, Ivantoc and Petrov (Popa) drew near and hit Gusar on the head with the butt of the automatic gun (or guns - because paragraph (350) mentions 2 or 3 guns). Gusar fainted and the aggressors placed him on the back seat of his car; Ivantoc got at the wheel. The others remained in Cernov's car, driven by Lungul. The two cars took the road leading to Odessa. After 2 km, they entered an orchard (called 'Ilyich's memorial') and Petrov (Popa) shot Gusar in the head with two bullets shot with the Makarov revolver. Then they set fire to Gusar's car and returned to Tiraspol together with Cernov in the latter's car. Cernov got back his car but was requested to keep silent as to what he had witnessed. Notes 1. The aggressors identified Gusar's car (they did not know him personally) and attacked the person in the car, without making sure if the respective person was the man that was to be killed. 2. The aggressors' car was unnecessarily loaded (4 persons on the back seat which normally seated 3); the overload rendered the car suspect; the car could not have passed unnoticed by the great number of checking points between Slobozia and Tiraspol. In fact, Barbuta and Lungul played no part in the development of the attack. 3. It seems highly improbable that Cernov might have accepted to cooperate with MNS and consider himself morally bound by a statement made under threat; likewise, it is strange that Ilascu and his confederates could be so naive. 4. Moreover, Cernov did not finish writing the collaboration statement, he did not sign it; therefore, following the incident, he had no obligation towards the aggressors. 5. The automatic guns had been carried at a great risk only to be used to hit Gusar on the head. 6. The aggressors could not take the automatic guns to Tiraspol; the guns would have been discovered at the checking points. 7. The aggressors fired pointlessly a couple of shots at the very moment when they caught Gusar; they could have adopted a much simpler version and kill him on the spot. 8. In spite of the fact that Ilascu had made all the way to Caragas to be abreast with the evolution of the attacks, his confederates went straight back to Tiraspol and left their chief to expect their report in vain in front of the village shop in Caragas. 3.8. "Moldavian terrorism" - a perfectible activity The alleged terrorist-diversionary group "Bujor" was, according to the Indictment, at the orders of the leadership of the MNS of the RM, therefore under competent, professional guidance (the present MNS has the same structure as the former KGB of the Moldavian SSR ). One can hardly understand how such a competent guidance resulted in such imperfect field activity. The "terrorists" had indeed rather sophisticated and complex arms: 'a briefcase provided with an exploding mechanism of the time-bomb type; the bomb consisted of two ammonite bodies type 6JV with an electric detonator, a Krona 9V battery , an alarm clock, chains and bits of wire 16 mm long and 3 mm in diameter which were to produce shell splinters in case the mechanism exploded' (29); they also had grenade throwers, a number of parts to be joined together to make a trench mortar, a field glass gun, napalm, different types of explosive. At a certain moment, Ilascu reportedly showed his "accomplices" a grenade with a range of 200m (99), which comes as a great surprise considering that the most powerful grenade in the Soviet arsenal has a range of 100 m at the most. However, this terrific armament was never used; it was carried pointlessly from one place to another (which, from the point of view of the "terrorists" is a very unwise thing to do). The much invoked "briefcase with exploding mechanism..." was passed from Ilascu to Lesco who then passed it on to Ivantoc (29, 443, 474 etc.). The automatic guns carried at such a risk to kill Gusar were simply used to hit him in the head. A good knowledge of the situation de situ in Transnistria makes the accusations against the alleged terrorist activity seem even less credible. During the war, the population was supplied with a great quantity of arms; an automatic gun could be procured in exchange for a bucket of wine (about 10 l), or for a jar of plum brandy (about 3 l). It was much easier to get the arms in Transnistria rather than bring them from Bessarabia. As the Indictment puts it, Ilascu asked his accomplices to " locate the gas filling stations in Tiraspol", which is completely absurd: there are but a few such stations in Tiraspol and everybody knows them, or at least Ivantoc and Ilascu knew them as the former was a professional driver and the latter an amateur one. It is true that Ilascu owned a car, but he did not use it in the spring of 1992. The car was out of order. Eventually, the car was repaired and it is now used by one of Ilascu's brothers in Chisinau. If, according to the Indictment, Ilascu was generously paid by MNS of RM, it would have been normal to repair his car or have it repaired; this would have facilitated the activity of the alleged terrorists considerably. Paragraph (80) claims that Ilascu paid the "terrorists" with "heaps of money" (patchika - means in Russian: a pile of 100 banknotes of the same denomination, tied with a wrap bearing the stamp of the bank); yet the amounts paid were very modest: Ivantoc received a salary of 2,400 roubles; he signed for receipt of the above (80); Petrov was said to have received 1,500 roubles to kill Ostapenko (244) etc.; no heaps of money were needed for the payment of such small sums (which could buy at that time a pair of shoes or several kilograms of salami), as there were bank-notes of 1,000 and 5,000 roubles in circulation. We can find no other explanation to the strangeness of this paragraph than the fact that it was adapted in great hurry, without being updated, from a scenario which had been drawn up at a time when the rouble was much stronger than it is now. Let us examine now the "terrorists' preparations for battle": "(87) At the end of March 1992, at Ilashko's indication and together with him, Ivantoc and Lesco, Garbuz left for Causeni, where all received from the county chapter of the MNS 5 ruffles, bullets, grenades, which they took to the forest of the village Plopi - Stiubei. Ilashko said that they had the mission to shoot (Transnistrean) guards. But they did not meet any, and they left for the MNS base, in the village Cartani, after which Ilashko said that they had to go back to Tiraspol, because he was ordered to do so." Any person having the vaguest idea about the evolution of the war in the spring of 1992 knows there could be no guards (troops of the "Nistrean republic") in the Plopi-Stiubei forest, situated on the right bank of the Nistru, 10-15 km away from the river; and even if they had existed, it would have been absurd to try to terminate them with 3 civilians armed with automatic guns. " (90) In May 1992, at Ilashko's order, they all left for Causeni by bus, together with Uratu, Lungul and Lesco; there, at the county chapter of the MNS of RM, Ilashko was given a telescopic riffle, a few TNT bricks, after which he practiced around the city dumping area, firing the guns and blowing up the TNT, while Uratu was experimenting a mechanism of long-distance explosions. After this, the weapons were taken to the conspiratorial apartment of the MSN of RM in Causeni." Therefore, the "terrorists" who, according to the Indictment, were to play a decisive part in the fight against the "Nistrean republic" could benefit of no better place of training than the garbage dump on the outskirts of Causeni. Trotyl explosions and the use of fire arms so close to a town are strictly forbidden in any country, and a "terrorist squad" training under the guidance of the MNS could not make such a blunder.
4.1. The Hearing of April 21, 1993 [9]
Generally speaking, the hearings took place in an atmosphere of obvious hostility. Mention should be made that the largest part of the population of Tiraspol got (and still gets) information from local mass media; there were also newspapers in Russian from post-Soviet regions (mainly from Russia); central Russian radio and TV programs were received; but newspapers, radio and TV programs from Moldavia never get there. The Tiraspol propaganda lead an intense campaign of discrediting with respect to the "Ilascu group" and stated that the prisoners had been proved guilty of terrorism. Few persons in Tiraspol seemed to doubt the correctness of such statements. During the week which preceded the trial, the persons who were in favour of the death penalty for the "terrorists" put their names on lists in Slobozia and in different industrial enterprises; a group of top-ranking workers at the Kirov plant were given the task - which was considered a task of honor - to manufacture the metal cages in which the prisoners were to stay. The trial took place in the performance hall of the House of Culture of the Kirov Plant - a great industrial unit of national wide importance, which manufactures arms, apart from other products; the manager of the plant, Bolshakov, is a well known nomenclaturist in Tiraspol. The hall seats 600 persons. The trial was a frame-up in the purest sense of the word: it took place on the stage of the performance hall of the House of Culture; a curtain was fit beginning with May 15. The prisoners were shut in two metal cages placed to the right and to the left of the stage, three of them in each cage; in August, they were re-arranged in the cages: Garbuz was shut in one of the cages, the other 5 in the other. Although it had been announced that the hearings of the trial would be public, admittance to the hall was a difficult thing. The representatives of the press and of the various organizations for the defence of human rights could obtain their credentials from an office of the "ministry of the interior" of the "n.m.r.", at the end of a rather annoying series of adventures. Moldavian citizens who had no residential visa on their passports were not allowed to enter the hall; later on, the prisoners' relatives were exempted from this rule, but the meaning of the word "relative" was different at each session; that is why, admittance to the hall of the families of the accused was a permanent source of pettifoggery from the part of the authorities. Access to the hall was always preceded by thorough "anti-terrorist" check ups. Militia force and members of the Dnestr Battalion (troops with special destination in the "ministry of the interior" of Tiraspol) were stationed in front of the House of Culture and on the access routes; the latter were equipped with automatic guns, pistols and bayonets. Members of the Dnestr Battalion were permanently stationed in the hall and on the stage; they were also in charge of the "anti-terrorist" check up at the entrance to the hall. Members of the militia force were posted on the stage. The audience of the first session counted 500 persons at the most. A great deal of these were simple people, aged persons in general; they often behaved in an aggressive manner, shouted outrageous words with respect to the prisoners and to the Romanians in general.
4.1.2. Legal Aspects of the Hearing
The trial was conducted by a team of three judges - Ivanova (the president of the Court), Zenin and Miazin; the representative of the Transnistrean prosecutor's office - Nina Averina - was also present, as well as the interpreter - Bobeico, the secretary, and the counsellors for the defence: Vozian (for Ilascu), Zarva (for Garbuz), Maximovtseva (for Lesco), Dektiarov (for Ivantoc), Savitskaia (for Godiac). Tudor Petrov (Popa) had no counsellor for the defence. With a few exceptions, the hearing was carried out in Russian. Judge Ivanova stated that the trial was to be judged according to the laws of the SSRM, as far as they did not run counter to the legislation of the n.m.r. Ivanova proceeded to ask the defendants if they acknowledged the authority of the Court. All the defendants denied this authority, with the exception of Garbuz. Ilascu tried to read a statement, but the judge did not allow him to do so, and the audience booed. When asked why he denied the authority of the Court, Ilascu said: "there cannot be two Supreme Courts in the same state". Mrs. Ivanova then requested the counsellors for the defence to voice their opinions and the latter declared themselves solidary with their clients. Besides, Mr. Vozian did not acknowledge judge Miazin, who had worked until recently as a subordinate to the chief prosecutor and therefore could not be impartial (the task of the prosecutor's office in this trial being to indict). After an hour's deliberation, the judges over-ruled the objections and stated that the Court and the trial were perfectly legal; they read a long justification of legitimacy (which was in fact a fragment from the Indictment); they also rejected Vozian's objection regarding Judge Miazin. That was going to be the scheme followed all along the trial: the procedure went on until the defendants or their counsellors raised an objection; the Court withdrew to deliberate; the result was always the same: the objections were over-ruled as groundless, the trial was legal, everything was going on normally. The defendants were asked if they trusted the representative of the prosecutor's office, Averina, and the interpreter, Bobeico. The answers were similar to the previous ones: Garbuz said he did, the others said they did not. Besides, Vozian did not acknowledge Averina, because her husband had been the chief of the investigating team in Ilascu's inquiry, and the current law forbade any family relationships between the prosecutor and the investigator. Vozian also appealed against Bobeico because the latter had been introduced as an interpreter from Moldavian into Russian. Vozian objected that such a wording was unacceptable; from the linguistic point of view, there is no Moldavian language, there is only the Romanian language; the term "Moldavian language" is a political one and was introduced during Stalin's time. (The audience booed violently when this objection was raised) There followed another pause, in the course of which the Court withdrew to deliberate. Following that, the Court read the "legitimacy speech" concerning the Court and the republic and rejected the objections of the defence. Then Judge Ivanova asked each of the defendants if he agreed to be represented by the respective counsellor for the defence. Ilascu answered that his objection was not against Vozian, but against the trial itself. He repeated his wish to be judged by a Court in Chisinau. Ivanova also noted the fact that Petrov (Popa) was not assisted by a barrister and declared that the Court would appoint one. Petrov (Popa) answered that he did not want a counsellor for the defence from Tiraspol. After another pause, there came another speech about legitimacy, followed by the announcement that the Court adjourned the hearing for May 5.
4.1.3. Collateral events
During one of the breaks, a woman approached the stage and stated she was a colleague of Ivantoc's at work, that she had known him for many years and that he could not be a murderer. The respective person was of Russian nationality and had forewarned Ivantoc's family of her intention to make the respective statement. She was immediately surrounded by aggressive persons who forced her out of the Court room. In the course of another pause, next to a group which included three Romanian journalists, a gun (perhaps a pistol) went off and the bullet (perhaps a blank one) produced a minor wound (a scratch) on the leg of a civilian, perhaps a native. It was impossible to find out where the shot had originated and what kind of gun had been used; it seems it was an accidental discharge due to the general stress. Anyway, the incident contributed to an even greater stress in the audience. When the hearing was over, part of those present approached the stage; they threatened, swore and spat. In front of the House of Culture, a somebody found out that there was an American among the observers, and said the latter "should be cut to pieces and thrown to the trash can". The atmosphere created around "Ilascu's group" was so hostile that the defendants' relatives did not have the courage to attend the hearing, with the exception of two of Ivantoc's sisters. When the hearing was over, they were recognized and threatened.
4.2. The contribution made by the counsellors for the defence from Chisinau. (May 5, 18, 19, 1993) [10]
Immediately after the first hearing, three barristers from Chisinau agreed to defend Petrov (Popa), Ivantoc and Godiac. Some well-informed sources considered it obvious that the three barristers agreed to be involved in the trial at the suggestion of President Snegur. The three barristers are prominent personalities in the Bar Association in Chisinau. Ion Casian, vice-president of the Bar Association in Chisinau, was to assist Ivantoc; Gh. Amihalachioaie, president of the Bar Association and M.P. in the parliament of Moldavia was to assist Petrov (Popa); Iurie Setletchi, Dean of the Law College in Chisinau, was to assist Godiac. The hearing of May 5 lasted only 8 minutes, while the time was took by the counsellors for the defence to ask for an adjournment in order to be able to study the case; the hearing was adjourned for May 18. An important political event took place between the two hearings: the summit meeting of the CIS, to which Igor Smirnov was granted discreet access. During the hearing of May 18, the defendants were asked again if they acknowledged the Court and they gave the same answers. The counsellors for the defence asked their clients a series of questions. Here is the dialogue between Ivantoc and his counsellor: Casian: What is your citizenship? Ivantoc: I am a citizen of the Republic of Moldavia. C: How are you feeling today? I: Bad. C: Why? I: They thrashed me, injected things to me, helped me to get ill .(The audience laughed). C: Have you been granted medical assistance? I: No. C: Why? I: We are not considered human beings here. C: Do you trust the physicians here? I: No. I want to receive medical assistance in Chisinau, not here." Later on, Ivantoc read the following statement, in Romanian: "I, Andrei Ivantoc, citizen of the Republic of Moldavia, hereby declare that I was illegally arrested on June 2 1992. During the first days of my imprisonment I was ceaselessly cross-examined. I was thrashed countless times. I was threatened with a wolf-dog. I was drugged. All my alleged depositions in the file were obtained by means of pressure, by thrashing and arm-threat. Even the meetings (with the counsellor for the defence) took place in the presence of and with the help of armed persons. Further to the above, I hereby declare: I am not a member of any terrorist organization. I am not connected with the MSN or any other special services. As far as the n.m.r. is concerned, I acknowledge neither its existence, nor its organisms, and I consider them illegitimate and anti-constitutional. I have used only political methods in my fight for national freedom. The trial is a show organized in Tiraspol, with the cooperation of Valeriu Garbuz, an agent provocateur, a former militiaman for many years. I have never had any weapons. Whatever was confiscated at my place was brought along by those who arrested me. That is why I insist that I be released unconditionally from escort, that my case be handed over to the authorities of the Republic of Moldavia. I shall give no explanations. I shall answer no questions unless in front of the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldavia." Ilascu, Petrov (Popa), Lesco and Godiac read similar statements, in Romanian. The translation work drove the defendants to exasperation and amused the audience. Lesco said that it was not possible to use Bobeico as interpreter as the latter translated from Moldavian into Russian, while the defendants spoke Romanian. Bobeico declared he could speak Romanian, too. Several times, he reproduced the text without any changes, instead of translating; he "translated" "Lesco" by "Ilascu", for instance; he could not translate "pomegranate" ("granata" in Russian). Eventually, Lesco translated his statement into Russian himself, and then spoke in Russian almost all the time, until the end of the proceedings. The counsellors for the defence raised several objections in their speech, some of which we shall mention hereafter. Vozian rejected Bobeico again; the former underlined that the current law required that the interpreter should be neutral with respect to the matter of the trial, which did not apply in Bobeico's case; the latter had published articles in the local newspapers, in which he supported separatism openly. Besides, he was one of the leaders of an organization of Transnistrean Moldavians, which had a pro-separatist orientation. Vozian enumerated a series of abuses which had been made during the inquiry. According to the current law, the defendants had the right to know who the members of the investigating team were; they might have accepted or reject the team partly or as a whole. This right was violated; they did not knew who was investigating their case. Besides, different persons were present during the investigation, people who were not members of the investigating team, such as Shevtsov (Antiufeev) and Garbov - the minister and the deputy minister of the "securitate" in Tiraspol, respectively. Usually, at the end of each cross-examination the documents must be signed by the defendant, Vozian reminded the Court. But the reports of the cross-examinations enclosed in the files did not bear the signature of the cross-examined persons; instead, they did bear the notes of the examiner - in his own handwriting, made subsequent to the cross-examination, in the absence of the cross-examined person. (As a rule, when such incomplete documents reached the Court, the Court drew the attention of the investigators to the respective carelessness, and the investigator "arranged" the documents in great hurry.) Vozian's opinion was that the norms of procedure had been violated to such an extent that he requested the case be returned to the prosecutor's office; he also asked that the additional investigation be carried out in Chisinau. Casian pointed out that Ivantoc's health was extremely precarious and asked that he be granted medical assistance immediately; he asked that the trial be adjourned for a while and then resumed when Ivantoc had recovered. Amihalachioaie read a letter from president Snegur to Judge Olga Ivanova in which the president underlined the illegal character of the trial and requested that the case be transferred to Chisinau. Ivanova conveyed to president Snegur her wish "not to be disturbed until the end of the trial". The reaction to all the objections of the defence was the same - the Court withdrew for deliberation, then rejected all criticism as a whole. Referring to the problem of not acknowledging the n.m.r., Averina answered that the USSR itself had not been acknowledged at first, but that had made no difference. The following day (May 19), Casian produced new medical proof of Ivantoc's severe health problem, and asked that the latter should be admitted to a hospital immediately. The request was rejected. The three barristers from Chisinau stated that it was impossible for them to defend their clients in such conditions and retreated. Ilascu asked his counsellor to retreat, but the latter did not comply with the request. The hearing was adjourned for May 24. Certain incidents which are worth being reported occurred during the those days. The atmosphere in Court was very tense at the end of the hearing on May 18 (about 18:00); the audience had started leaving the hall; one of the witnesses for the prosecution, Limanski - the alleged victim of a missed attack - made his way to a group of Romanian and foreign newspaper reporters and observers and screamed: "Out with you, Coretchi's gang of journalists!" (Coretchi was a journalist who had worked in Slobozia and had then taken refuge in Chisinau; he was present in Court that day; since then, Coretchi stopped attending the hearings.) During one of the pauses of the May 19 hearing, an elderly man, very neat in appearance, approached the group of American observers and asked the interpreter who had accompanied the group from Chisinau to translate the following message: the sentence was already known, the five would be shot, Garbuz would be sentenced to 15 years imprisonment; they were now preparing the place of the execution: in the center of the town, in Suvorov square, they were working at the foundations of a wall in front of which the prisoners would be executed; if you do not believe, go and see for yourselves; shooting competitions were going on in the guards' barracks to select the best marksmen, out of which the firing squad would be nominated. The man said he was a contributor to the local radio and TV station; in the course of his chat with people who knew him, it came out that his name was Vladimir Soloshchenko. Another man approached the same group of observers in the course of the next pause; he was wearing sports gear and had been a member of the guards the preceding day; he was, therefore, a guard in the Dnestr battalion dressed in plain clothes. He told the observers that, anyway, the five would be shot and asked what the observers would do in such a situation, in defence of the human rights. Then, Vladimir Soloshchenko (or the man who pretended his name was V.S.) addressed Ivantoc's sister in an abusive way, pulled her out of her chair and forced her brutally to leave the hall; later, Ivantoc's sister stated that she had protested against such a treatment in front of the House of Culture, which resulted a civilian punching her in the nose. Neither the militiamen nor the guards interfered.
4.3. Before the summer holidays (May 24 - July 1993)
4.3.1. Legal aspects
After the retreat of the barristers from Chisinau, the trial resumed on May 24. The 6 prisoners were defended by the following team: Vozian (Ilascu), Zarva (Garbuz), Maximovtseva (Lesco), Dektiarov (Ivantoc) and Savitskaia (Godiac). Since the counsellors for the defence were partly new, judge Ivanova repeated the questions of the first days of the trial; she got the same answers and the barristers (especially Vozian) had the same objections, which the Court over-ruled in the same way, repeating the same speeches about legitimacy. Although more than a month had passed, the trial was exactly at the same point. Only a couple of objections were raised. Vozian requested an investigation of the prisoners' ill treatment during the imprisonment and the violation of their right to a prompt trial; his request was over-ruled. [11] During the June 4 hearing, Maximovtseva read a statement in which she protested against the various attempts of intimidation she had been subjected to from the moment she had accepted to defend Lesco. The hearing of the witnesses began about the same time. The problem of Ivantoc's health became recurrent. On June 30, the Court decided that a medical check up was necessary in order to establish whether or not Ivantoc was mentally healthy; also if, at the time of the alleged crimes, he had been responsible or not (this last problem was dealt with in the Indictment, where it was specified that Ivantoc had been perfectly normal and responsible at the respective moment, cf. (367-375)). Vozian requested that an independent investigation be carried out in Chisinau; the court over-ruled his request. The hearing of July 14 lasted only a few minutes and the trial was adjourned for August 16, at the request of Savitskaia, Ivantoc's counsellor. Ivantoc was to undergo a treatment all along this period in order to recover from a state of despondency, the defense (Savitskaia) claimed.
4.3.2. The atmosphere of the trial
The number of the people in the audience diminished considerably after the first hearings. Many of the spectators of the first day believed that the prisoners were going to be sentenced to death at the end of the hearing; they abandoned a performance which appeared to be less interesting than they had expected. At the same time, the interruptions and the adjournments - frequent and unpredictable as they were - resulted in poorer attendance on the part of the foreign observers and journalists. >From the journalistic point of view, the proceedings of the trial were extremely boring. Both in Bessarabia and Transnistria the press began to write less and less about the trial. It seemed as if the trial had been pushed in a cone of darkness both in Chisinau and in Tiraspol.
4.3.3. The attitude of the authorities in Chisinau
Mention should be made that, generally speaking, the Chisinau authorities were not very much involved in the Tiraspol trial and - as a rule - their involvement was purely formal. Nobody attended the trial on behalf of the Chisinau authorities, or on behalf of any political or judicial organization. The Chisinau authorities resumed themselves to condemn the "judicial farce" and the power in Tiraspol; this was done in declarations which had no practical consequences; the authorities in Chisinau made no real efforts to protect the life of the defendants. Generally they dismissed the idea of putting any sort of pressure on the authorities in Tiraspol for the reason - or pretext - that an appeal to such authorities could turn into or be regarded as a way of acknowledging them. Some of the foreign observers at the trial had meetings with the representatives of the Chisinau authorities; on such occasions they underlined that the presence of a counsellor for the defence did not legitimize in any way the authority de facto which set up the trial; the counsellor's task is to protect the interests and, ultimately, the life of the defendant; such a task is completely apolitical. However the activity of the three barristers from Chisinau (the hearings of May 5, 18, 19) was rather formal; it was obvious that the atmosphere of obstruction in which the trial would take place was a well known element, rather than a surprise. If they had really meant to protect the interests of their clients, they would have had to go on defending them - as Vozian did. Vozian not only defended his client, but assumed all the risks resulting from such an attitude for an inhabitant of Transnistria. Consequently, in the summer of 1993 one could hardly tell, judging from the accounts of the mass media in Chisinau, that a political trial of exceptional importance was going on 76 km away from the capital.
4.4. The summer holiday (July 15 - August 15). Ivantoc's situation [12]
Theoretically, the time interval between July 15 and August 15 should have been used to investigate and improve Ivantoc's health. Actually, he was only subjected to a medical expertise made by three psychiatrists in Tiraspol - dr. Pomortsev, dr. Sukanov and dr. Tsvainer. He did not undergo any medical cure, was neither put under medical treatment. The result of the expertise stated that (1) Ivantoc's mental condition was normal and he could stand trial, and that (2) it was Ilascu who had advised Ivantoc to commit suicide. The presence of such a statement in a medical report is in itself a proof that the correctness of the respective report must undoubtedly be questioned. Ivantoc was dissatisfied with the way the time interval had been used instead of treating and curing him; he went on hunger strike on August 2, 1993. This lead to a rapid degradation of his health condition which was already precarious. According to his wife's later saying, his protest had no consequences. While he was in a very poor condition, Ivantoc could hear the guards commenting on the corridor: Go see if he is dead or Let him die; the sooner he dies, the better. He did not get any diet, any medicines and was never taken out for a walk. On August 13, Ivantoc was examined by dr. Vasile Ciornenchi from the Red Cross of Moldavia and by dr. Dumitru Mierlo deputy-chief of the psychiatric clinic of the Chisinau Hospital. Ivantoc complained of liver and kidney pain, pains in the bones, hematuria; he also complained that his fingers could be turned backwards, that he felt dizzy and lost his balance, that he permanently heard noises, children's sobs and human voices, that he had permanent jerks of the shoulder and thorax. The medical check up took place in improper conditions (in a room not larger than 1.5 m x 1 m); however, dr. Mierlo diagnosed reactive psychosis, a hallucinational depressive syndrome and hyperkinesia, and recommended hospitalization in a psychiatric clinic. Further to the entreaties of his wife and of Ilascu, Ivantoc agreed to give up his hunger strike on August 12 and declared that he was going to eat only the food his wife brought him, as he feared prison food was poisoned. On August 16, Ivantoc could be visited by representatives of the Helsinki Committees in Bucharest and Chisinau. He looked exhausted, his eyes were blurred, he could understand and speak with great difficulty, and his shoulder and thorax were seized by permanent jerks. Ivantoc looked extremely weak and between him and the visitors there was a window pane; that rendered communication extremely difficult. He rejected the idea that Ilascu had suggested him to commit suicide and accepted Mr. Valeriu Covasi (of Telenesti) as counsellor for his defence; Mr. Covasi would replace Mrs. Savitskaia.
4.5. The hearing of the witnesses (September 1993)
The hearing scheduled for August 16 did not take place; the authorities de facto in Tiraspol did not let even the defence know that the hearing had been adjourned. Judge Ivanova informed the group of journalists and observers that the adjournment was due to the fact that barristers Zarva and Maximotseva were not back from their holiday. The next meeting of the Court took place on August 25, but the hearing lasted only a few minutes; an announcement was made in those brief moments, that the trial was adjourned for September 1. It is obvious that such a way of playing with the dates of the hearings made it difficult for the foreign observers to attend them. The trial was resumed without barrister Maximovtseva. After having read a statement on June 4, Mrs. Maximovtseva, citizen of the Russian Federation, resident in Tiraspol, contacted the embassy of Russia in Chisinau and asked for protection. Mrs. Maximovtseva complained that after she took over the case, her telephone conversations were intercepted and she was being watched and intimidated. Mrs. Maximovtseva left Tiraspol in early July because of her mother's death. Afterwards, members of the Memorial movement in Moscow informed the Helsinki Committee in Chisinau that Mrs. Maximovtseva would not return to Tiraspol until her personal security was not taken care of. Eventually, Mrs. Maximovtseva announced that she would withdraw from the trial. Following her decision, the court appointed Mihai Turuta as Lesco's counsellor for the defence [12]. The September hearings dealt with the examination of the witnesses. None of the persons which the Indictment accused of having participated in "terrorist" activities was among the witnesses, although that would have been an occasion for the Court to examine them. This was, among many others, the case of Stefan Uratu. He was accused of having participated in the training sessions of the "Bujor" group and of having put together a device for damping explosions from a distance. Stefan Uratu repeatedly asked Ivanova, even in writing, to grant him the permission to testify in the trial. He got various answers. At first he was told that his deposition was useless. Then he was told that if he came to Tiraspol he would be arrested, as he had been sued; he was never informed what were the charges brought against him. Some other time, when he inquired about his request, Ivanova told him that the Court had received only requests from various work collectives in the Slobozia county which demanded that the five be sentenced to capital punishment. On another occasion, Ivanova informed him that he was free to come and make the deposition but that she could not guarantee his personal security and that he might be arrested. The depositions were more or less credible; sometimes, the most credible ones were those of the less "respectable" persons and vice versa. For instance, three ordinary convicts stated that Ilascu and his comrades had been thrashed and ill treated (their depositions probably did very little to improve their life in prison); on the other hand, Garbuz denied that, although he had acknowledged it at first. Savenko, a former prosecutor, repeated the contradictory depositions transcribed in the Indictment and already mentioned herein. Several witnesses who claimed they had eye-witnessed the attack against Ostapenko stated they could recognize Lesco, although 17 months had passed between the time of the attack and that of the deposition. When one of the counsellors for the defence asked how could such an identification be possible, one of the persons confessed that Lesco looked like her husband and so she could remember him. Another one stated that Lesco was a fine looking man, hard to forget. Such depositions are relevant for the gravity of the trial.
4.6. The final stage (October 4 - December 9 1993)
Beginning with the hearing of October 4, the trial reached its final stage: the representative of the prosecutor's office read her report, the public prosecutor read his, the counsellors for the defence made their final pleading and the defendants had their "last word".
4.6.1. Contextual notes [13]
The decisive episode of the incidents in Moscow took place on of October 3, that is on the night before the trial. As in the case of the August coup, the separatists clearly sided with the conservatories; on this occasion, they supplied the rebels with troops. The presence of special troops belonging to the "ministry of the interior" of Tiraspol was incriminated by Yeltsin himself; the information was broadcast several times by the central TV studio "Ostankino". The victory of the "democrats" was acclaimed in Moldavia particularly by the circles which supported the independence and the integrity of the Republic. There was hope that by this turn of the events the separatists would lose ground, and the "Ilascu trial" would consequently be transferred to the Moldavian authorities. It was a moderate hope. One could not help recalling that although the separatists had sided with the authors of the 1991 coup, they never lost Russia's support; it even increased and helped them create the military structures of the "Nistrean republic" and win the war of the previous summer. Subsequently, such hopes were most definitely tempered when the Ostankino TV broadcast the news according to which "armed gangs from Moldavia" took part in the Moscow incidents. Such a statement calls for more commentary. Generally speaking, the news broadcast by communist or post-communist media are codified messages. In Moldavia, the decoded message reads as follows: initially, there was a hostile reaction against the separatists in Moscow; therefore the presence of special troops from Tiraspol was pointed out. Later on, this attitude was corrected, and the correction was made public by broadcasting the news about the "gangs from Moldavia". The unexpected incrimination of the "Moldavian terrorists" - whom no Moldavian ever spotted - was perceived in "Moldavia" as a verdict given in the "Ilascu trial". Besides, the wording used by Ostankino ("gangs from Moldavia") recalls to the perfidious way in which the Russian authorities answered when asked to help the situation in Transnistria get back to normal: Moldavia's integrity is acknowledged in form (by considering Tiraspol part of Moldavia), while denied in fact (by keeping the 14th Army in Transnistria).
4.6.2. The October 4 hearing [13]
The hearing lasted from 10:30 to 12:20. Ilascu, Lesco, Petrov (Popa), Ivantoc and Godiac were brought in turn (the right hand of each prisoner was handcuffed to the left hand of an escorting militiaman); they were put into the cage on the right hand side of the stage. Later, Garbuz was brought and put into the cage on the left hand of the stage. An eye witness who was waiting outside the entrance declared that Garbuz had been brought by separate transport. Almost nothing was left of the former aggressiveness of the audience. There were only 43 persons in the court-room, including the witnesses, the representatives of the press and of the organizations protecting the human rights, the defendants' relatives. Apart from them there were about 10-15 elderly persons; several of them seemed to have fallen asleep by noon. When the hearing was over, the five prisoners began to talk with their relatives (who were not allowed to approach the cage); somebody from the hall asked that the discussion be cut short, and somebody else interfered as follows: Let them talk now; they will be taken to be executed later. In the beginning of the session, Mrs. Olga Ivanova announced that the process had reached a final stage, then gave Ilascu the word; the latter read a petition on behalf of the five prisoners (the excepted one was Garbuz). There were three different components in the respective petition. The first one dealt with the legitimacy of the separatist regime and the development of the investigation and the trial, the aim of which was "to conceal the true face of separatism. The hearings of this legal farce have been going on for over half a year, but all through this period the "terrorists" could not be proved guilty. Several obscure points have been revealed in the course of the trial and it is quite clear who fabricated them. The discrepancies between the so-called depositions of the witnesses, the violation of the most elementary norms of procedure during the preliminary investigation and during the trial, come to prove once again the real aim of the separatists." The second part voiced the belief of the defendants that separatism was responsible for the bloodshed in Moldavia, during the previous year's war, and in Moscow, during the incidents which had taken place the night before. In the third part, the defendants required: "1. That the judicial farce be immediately ceased 2. That the trial documents be handed over to the constitutional institutions of the Republic of Moldavia 3. That the judges and prosecutors of the so called n.m.r. quit by their free will the functions which were illegally appointed to them in the structures of the "n.m.r." These are the only steps that may be considered as palliating circumstances for them, and might save them from the inevitable punishment of the LAW." It seemed that Ilascu was trying to take advantage of the victory of the "democrats" in Moscow (after the August 1991 coup he had tried to bring his contribution to the arrest of the separatist leaders); his attempt was unsuccessful. Ivanova gave no answer whatsoever to these requests and gave the floor to Nina Averina, representative of the prosecutor's office. The report of the representative of the prosecutor's office of the n.m.r. took over most of the Indictment; Averina practically re-read the first 40-45 pages of the Indictment. However, there were two new elements in her report: mystical reasons and the rejection of certain alibis. In the very first sentences, Averina invoked Biblical precepts, when she stated that God requires that crime be punished; that was the reason for which the trial had to go on and the guilty had to be punished. That was the first time that legitimacy of divine origin was invoked alongside legitimacy of Stalinist origin. Divine justice was invoked one more time: the report mentioned the fact that on the occasion of one of the hearings, just before Ilascu was given the floor, the weather outside was fine, but as soon as Ilascu started speaking the sky became overcast. The report concluded that God did not love Ilascu. Also, the report rejected one of Ilascu's alibis, which had been proved in order to deny his alleged involvement in the killing of Ostapenko. Without commenting on the document submitted by the defence - an excerpt from the register of a hotel in Chisinau, which proved that Ilascu had been in Chisinau at the time when the incriminated terrorist activity took place in Tiraspol - the report rejected the respective document and invoked one of Nina Ilascu's depositions, made shortly after her husband was arrested, according to which Ilie Ilascu was usually housed by relatives when he came to Chisinau. Ivanova adjourned the hearing at 12:20 on the ground that Mihai Turuta (Lesco's counsellor for the defence) had to attend the funeral of a relative; she announced that the following hearing would be the next day at 10:00. The following day the trial was not resumed on the ground that Ivanova had fallen ill. The next session was announced for October 11, at 10:00.
4.6.3. Ivantoc's health condition
Although he had received no medical assistance, Ivantoc's health improved, possibly because he had decided not to refuse the food he was getting in prison. However his condition was still bad enough. He complained of permanent pains in the liver and headaches; his headaches gave way slightly when he smoked, so that smoking - although completely inadvisable in his condition - was the only remedy against pain. He had frequent jerks of the shoulder, which accounted for the beginning of a loss of control; when the crises were over he could not remember what he had done at the time of the crises. Ivantoc feared any medical assistance from the part of the authorities de facto in Tiraspol - although such assistance was not quick to be given; he believed that any medical interference was but another pretext to harm him. He told his wife: They know that I am ill, they can see it all right, but persist in not curing me. Ivantoc was confined in a very small cell; when he lay in bed, his feet could touch the bucket. The cell had no window and Ivantoc suffered of the cold, especially at night. However, his mental condition was good; he was positive that he would be freed, since he was not guilty and he had been tormented enough. He had already secured a suit for his liberation.
4.6.4. October 11: the request for capital punishment [14]
A new hearing took place on Monday, October 11, between 10:30 and 17:30. There were only two speakers in this time interval: Nina Averina, the representative of the prosecutor's office of the "n.m.r." and Alexander Cunitsin, the public prosecutor on behalf of the working people in the county of Slobozia. From the very beginning of the session until 16:00, Averina went on reading her report, from where it had been interrupted up to the end. As before, the report reiterated large portions from the Indictment. She brought extremely severe new charges which could not be substantiated in any way (Ivantoc allegedly threatened to explode a grenade upon his arrest by militiamen of the n.m.r. etc.). The report repeatedly stated that no illegal methods had been used during the inquiry. As to the participation of the three barristers from Chisinau in an early stage of the trial, the report mentioned that (1) their presence at the trial had been a provocation on the part of Chisinau, an attempt to sabotage the good administration of justice in "n.m.r."; (2) the barristers had withdrawn from the case because they had realized the defendants were terrorists, so they had refused to defend them. One finds it impossible to prove such a statement. The report appealed again to what it called the "Biblical precepts", in order to conclude that he who kills must be killed. It ended with the recommendation that Ilascu, Ivantoc and Petrov (Popa) receive capital punishment, that Lesco be sentenced to 15 years hard imprisonment, Garbuz to 6 years imprisonment and Godiac to 3 years imprisonment. Alexander Cunitsin, the representative of the working people in the county of Slobozia, had obvious difficulties in reading his report which was an extremely politicized speech of pure Stalinist inspiration; the report aimed at depicting the alleged terrorist activity of the "Ilascu group" as the spearhead for the "monstrous Romanian-Moldavian coalition" against the 'people of Transnistria' (i.e., the Soviet power in Moldavia). In the beginning, the report deplored the creation of a "diminutive country" (Moldavia) instead of the great Union, an event which was regarded as the starting point of a whole series of misfortunes. The report held it that such an event had terrible consequences; the Russians were threatened over the telephone, the communist newspapers were prohibited, the buildings of the CPSU were confiscated, the people speaking Russian in the vicinity of Stefan cel Mare's monument in Chisinau were killed, the Latin alphabet was (re)introduced, meetings were organized under the aegis "our Romanian language", the tricolor flag was introduced as a national symbol, the anthem was changed, Russophone M.P.s were prevented from attending the sessions of the Parliament of Moldavia - Cunitsin said. For that reason - the report went on saying - the population of Transnistria was forced to go on strike and to resort to other forms of protest. The report accused the leaders of Moldavia that they "had not been awakened by these protests. On the contrary, they did not acknowledge the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and violated human rights (in the prejudice of the Russians living in the Republic of Moldavia), turning them into pawns on Mircea Snegur's chessboard". According to the report, the next stage of the anti-Russian offensive was Ilascu's public urge to "annihilate the representatives of the people in Transnistria" and to the "armed fight which had begun in Moldavia" on December 1991. But "the people of Transnistria did not agree to kneel in front of Romanian dirt" and took arms to defend itself. The report included very severe charges against the "leaders of Moldavia", who were held responsible for the war of the previous year; the war was also called "civilized genocide". The report voiced the opinion that the "leaders of Moldavia" should have been the first to be brought to trial; they allegedly "started the massacre" while they were "busy drinking and stealing". The persons whose names were mentioned as leaders of Moldavia were president Snegur and the former ministers Costas and Plugaru; the latter were considered "the greatest fascists". At the same time, the report brought extremely severe charges against Romania, who was depicted - at times explicitly, at times implicitly - as the fundamental source of evil. The "terrorists" used Romanian armament, trained in Romania, and war criminals who had committed crimes on the territory of Transnistria had taken shelter in Romania, where they had been granted Romanian citizenship - the report read. The report advocated for the death penalty for Ilascu, Petrov (Popa) and Ivantoc, and imprisonment for the rest. The audience was not large (47 persons in the morning and 35 in the afternoon), but extremely aggressive; it threatened and offended the prisoners and the small group who had come from Chisinau and Bucharest; a man with a walkie-talkie, who seemed to be responsible for the order in the hall, had an aggressive, intimidating attitude towards Nina Petrov (Popa) who tried to talk to her husband in the cage. In spite of the dramatic situation and of the severe accusations against them, the five prisoners showed obvious good humor all along the trial and treated the Court with smiling defiance. Most of the time, they read newspapers, talked to each other, laughed. When Ivanova asked them to be silent, Ilascu answered with a Russian proverb: "we have our wedding party, you have yours". The hearing was adjourned for a day and was resumed on October 13, at 10:00 for the pleadings of the counsellors for the defence.
4.6.5. The final pleading of counsellors Savitskaia, Turuta and Kosiko
The trial was resumed two days later, on Wednesday, October 13, when four of the counsellors for the defence made their final speech. They were unanimous in severely criticizing the way the preliminary investigation had taken place, as well as the trial itself, and stated their total disagreement with the prosecutor's conclusions. Mrs. Savitskaia, Petre Godiac's counsellor for the defence, pointed out that the defendant had no lawyer until the trial, so one could not rely on the depositions made during the preliminary investigation. Godiac had been accused of illegal transport of arms, yet all that the prosecution attempted to prove was if there were enough space or not for the arms in the places where they had allegedly been hidden during transport; so that Godiac was sentenced only on the basis of Garbuz's depositions, which was unacceptable. Then Mrs. Savitskaia passed on to her second client, Andrei Ivantoc, and pointed out that his guilt had not been proved. She evoked the pressures and the ill treatment which Ivantoc had been subjected to during his term of imprisonment, as it came out from several sources, among which the depositions of other prisoners in the same prison. Mrs. Savitkaia underlined the fact that Ivantoc had revoked his first depositions and evoked his severe health problems. There was nobody that could prove that Ivantoc took part in the killing of Ostapenko and Gusar, it was only Garbuz's testimony, and even that testimony did not indicate in a coherent manner the way in which Ostapenko and Gusar had been killed; his depositions were contradictory. One of the eye-witnesses stated that Ivantoc looked like the madman who had shot Ostapenko; Savitskaia pointed out that a man cannot be sentenced to death on such a basis. Lesco's counsellor for the defence, Mihai Turuta, underlined the fact that the trial was going on in a state which neither his client nor the other defendants acknowledged - Garbuz excepted. "They have requested that the trial be stopped and the case be transferred to Chisinau, and I share their opinion and so do the other counsellors for the defence." Lesco could prove that he had not been in Tiraspol at the time when the respective crimes were committed; that was the most convincing proof of his innocence. Mr. Turuta went on to make a critical analysis of the alleged evidence which proved that Lesco was guilty and underlined the fact that the evidence was contradictory. Besides, the most elementary legal stipulations had been flagrantly violated several times; Lesco's house was searched when nobody was at home. A revolver had reportedly been found then, concealed in a book printed with Latin characters*, and with the pages torn away. "Lesco's denial concerning the 'material evidence' is plausible", said Mr. Turuta. The Popular Front was a legitimate organization and took legitimate action in keeping with the norms set forth by the state. Through his speeches, Ilascu proved to be a discomfiting person. That is why one could have the intention to annihilate him; the methods to do so were also found, concluded Lesco's lawyer. The hearing was adjourned for 10 minutes; all the time, voices were heard in the hall saying: "It's high time we finished with them" etc. When Godiac's sister tried to give him a parcel containing newspapers and cigarettes, the person who seemed to be in charge of order in the hall (and who had threatened Nina Petrov on Monday) forbade her to deliver the parcel and threatened to evacuate her from the hall. Mrs. Savitskaia tried to help her, without being intimidated by the automatic guns of the guards and by the hostility of the audience, but she not succeed. Mr. Kosiko, Petrov (Popa)'s counsellor, spoke after the pause. He carefully analyzed the alleged incriminating proofs. Mr. Kosiko simply blew up the prosecutor's reasoning, the only and real guilt was that arising from the ill treatments the prisoners had been subjected to. Mr. Kosiko also mentioned that the prosecutor of Tiraspol, Pascar, had declared, in 1990, that Ilascu's activity as the president of the Popular Front - Resolution no. 6 in particular - was not at all dangerous. Upon the request of barrister Vozian, who was to speak next, the hearing was adjourned for the following day at 10:00.
4.6.6. Barrister Vozian's statement (instead of final pleading, October 14, 1993)
As his client had not acknowledged the legitimacy of the Court, Vozian replaced his final pleading with a statement (according to art. no. 206 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia). He was the only lawyer to come in Court with a written text. The text was a thorough analysis of all the issues which had been discussed in Court. It is very important that some parts of it are now fully covered. The legitimacy of the Transnistrean Republic and of the Court
"Ilie Ilascu insisted the state organization of the so-called Transnistrean Republic was illegal and anti-constitutional; as a result, all the state organisms which had been created there, including those of the law, had neither legal nor moral basis for performing judgement in the case. I will refer to the legal aspect later. As concerns the moral aspect, I must admit there is a paradox: a state organization which no one acknowledges, which has been created and exists de facto within the borders of another state - the Republic of Moldavia, which is internationally acknowledged - breaks the laws and the will of the Republic of Moldavia, fights a war against the Republic of Moldavia, and judges its citizens according to the laws of the same state of the Republic of Moldavia! How can we discuss about any moral right any longer? Maybe we can, but only in the same context with the "right of force - divide et impera". As concerns the legal aspect of the trial of Ilascu and his colleagues, organized here and by this Court, I would like to state the following: The leaders of the Transnistrean Republic claim that the necessity to acknowledge the Republic must be reiterated everywhere and at all levels and that, in order to achieve this goal, a long and difficult process is to be undertaken. In other words, they acknowledge the fact that the legitimacy of the Transnistrean Republic has not been demonstrated yet. Their arguments in this respect are not sufficient. This is how the following question arises: Can anyone prove Ilascu's guilt of having performed terrorist activities against the state n.m.r. (the main issue in the Indictment), if the legitimacy of this state is yet to be demonstrated? It goes without saying the answer is "no". It seems to me it's absurd to say that the legitimacy of the n.m.r. has to be demonstrated. It is not by chance that the n.m.r. has not been acknowledged by anyone yet; the n.m.r. was created by force, it was not the result of an evolutive process. It is common knowledge that such regimes have a short existence. The leaders of the republic themselves admit that the republic was created "out of nothing"; Igor Nicolaevich Smirnov stated in an interview granted to a newspaper in Moscow that the n.m.r. was created a year after the Moscow coup in 1991, that is before the collapse of the USSR and before the Republic of Moldavia became independent. So, even the proclamation of the n.m.r. is against international laws, which admit that the state borders are inviolable and cannot be modified by force. This is against the laws of the former USSR, which existed at that moment, as well as against the laws of the Moldavian SSR. The Decision of the USSR President Mikhail Gorbatchev on December, 22 1990 "Concerning the measures in order to bring the situation in Moldavia back to normal" - which declared that the decisions of the II Congress of the all levels Soviets in Transnistria, which took place on September 2 1990, regarding the creation of the Nistrean Moldavian socialist soviet republic, had no legal value - was not taken into consideration by the authorities in Transnistria. We need not state that the creation of the n.m.r. was against the laws of the Moldavian SSR; that is axiomatic. The prosecutor's mention about the law on local referendum is clearly a trick. He pretends that law gave way to creating the n.m.r., when it was actually made to fool people who do not have the slightest idea on legal matters; the prosecution substitutes by purpose the significance of a local referendum to that of a national referendum. A local referendum cannot have an effect over a state organization. The prosecution mentioned several laws, with only one legal argument which tried to justify the creation of the n.m.r. - the right of the peoples to self-determination, which was stipulated by art. 1 of the International Pact regarding civil and political right, on December, 16 1966, and later sustained by several other international documents. I want to explain the prosecution that this basic right was proclaimed under historic circumstances and concerned the decolonization of Africa and of other zones. Transnistria has never been a colony. Moreover, this right is the right of a nation, not the right of a certain part of it; it is the right of the nations which have been created throughout history, not by some declarations of instantly created leaders. One could not seriously discuss about the fact that the n.m.r. is the rightful heir of the MASSR, this is a theory which tries to legally justify a state organization created by Stalin in order to submit claims concerning Romania afterwards. Only about one third of the territory of the former MASSR is left. The people of Transnistria have been a part of the Moldavian SSR for a long time, this population is not a nation in the political or legal sense of the world, that is why the RIGHT to self-determination has no connection with the n.m.r., and the misunderstood significance of this noble principle cannot be used to legally justify self-proclaimed state organizations. This kind of practice would require the changing of the international laws, that is why it is very dangerous. I would also like to mention something in connection with the Constitution of the n.m.r., which was also brought into discussion by the prosecutor. The Constitution was adopted on September 2 1991, that is after over one year after the proclamation of the n.m.r. Art. 60 stipulates that: "Other territories may be included in the NMSSR (NMR), provided that their population expresses its will by a referendum". I know very well, and directly, as I am living in Transnistria, how the referendum was organized at that time, how the basic "one man - one vote" principle was violated, not to mention other illegal practices. To set such a principle within the basic law of a state which highly declares its respect of the human rights means to set a state policy based on war. This principle results in the following strategy: "First, we proclaim ourselves a republic. Then we make a Constitution and consolidate it. After that, taking advantage of this aggressive Constitution and of several political circles, and by speculating the nostalgic feelings of a certain part of the population, especially the Russians, we start to formulate claims to our neighbours concerning territories, just like in the old times. The noble fight for protecting the human rights will be the pretext". We can easily imagine the consequences: first, some districts on the right side of the Nistru river will be attached to those already included under the pretext of the free will of the population.(*) After that, in a similar manner, the southern territories of the Republic of Moldavia will be attached, under the pretext of proclaiming the "Gagauz -Transnistrean Federation". Then one could expect other districts to be attached, in order to have a corridor between the n.m.r. and Gagauzia. The Northern districts of the Republic of Moldavia would follow afterwards, in order to "satisfy the co-habitant Ukrainian population". The capital Chisinau would be annexed in order to "protect the Russian population", which is about half, and Chisinau would be proclaimed "an ancient Russian city", just as they did with Tiraspol, only because two hundred years ago Suvorov built a fortress on the territory of the village of Sucleia. These could happen provided President Snegur and his team insisted on being independent. If he forgot about his solemn promise to guarantee the integrity of the country, these goals would be even easier to achieve. I do not wish to mention that the same consequences are to be suffered by the independent and indivisible Republic of Ukraine. The necessary means and forces will be easy to find, because the assertion that Transnistria is the bridgehead of a great empire is not senseless... From the point of view of the defense and of the person I represent, this is how the aggressive plans of the Constitution of the Transnistria could become true. But there is also the other side of the coin: a continuous war which would terminate its own population. Who would acknowledge this self-proclaimed republic with such an aggressive Constitution? I think that Transnistria has never had and will never have the chance to be acknowledged by the international community, even if we considered the fact that this republic was created as a response to the "inequity" of the laws of the Republic of Moldavia on languages. One must first observe the law, no matter if one accepts its provisions or not. It is clear that we must fight for equity. But this does not justify breaking laws, even if laws are not perfect... I spoke about the "legitimacy" of the n.m.r. earlier... A structure of power which violates the rights of a nation and urges it to war under the pretext of "fighting for peace" cannot represent the interests of that nation. An eloquent example is the August (1991) coup and the October (1993) rebellion. The persons who caused these made themselves responsible for bloodshed, without drawing the necessary conclusions." ----------------------------- (*) Such "referendums" have already taken place in the neighboring villages of Tighina. Their result was that places like Gasca, Chitcani etc. were subordinated to the authorities in Transnistria. That the secessionists expanded their territory was a serious violation of the "Convention about the peaceful solution of the military conflict in Transnistria" of 21 July 1992 signed by Moldavia and Russia. The Republic of Moldavia took no action to prevent these territorial losses. The interview granted by Ilascu to the "Smena" magazine
Vozian remarked that, since it was not certain that the statements in the interview were made by Ilascu, they could not be accepted as evidence by the Court. Moreover Vozian highlighted the fact that Ilascu himself had protested against the contents of his "interview" published in "Smena" which was later taken over by the "Sfatul Tarii" newspaper in its issue of January, 26 1991. Here is a part of his protest: I was very surprised by this interview when I read it, reprinted by the local newspapers. It is a mixture of counterfeit information and even parts which were totally imagined by the author. Resolution no. 6
The barrister noticed that the original version of the document had been lost (by the staff of the "Dnestrovskaia Pravda" or "Trudovoi Tiraspol" newspapers), and only a copy of what they pretended to be the original version had been enclosed. "Esteemed Court, this resolution cannot be used as authentic evidence, not even judging from its formal parts, since the original was not found, and a copy, as anyone knows, may be counterfeit. It is not and could not be authenticated by a public notary. Copies are not acknowledged as original documents in the civilized world. The fact that Ilascu stated that his signature was on the document, a detail which the prosecutor mentioned with great satisfaction, makes no difference. The memoirs of Iakovlev, member of the Political Bureau, concerning the secret protocol of the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact are still fresh memories. The original document, which determined the destiny of Bessarabia and the Northern part of Bucovina had not been found then, just like now. Only a copy of the document was known, a photographic copy, and Iakovlev, as a historic and a diplomat, but not as a lawyer, having some intuition regarding the consequences of his conclusions, expressed himself as follows: 'There is no authentic evidence on the existence of such a secret protocol in the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact, but taking into consideration its effects, we believe that such an agreement did exist". If you, esteemed Nina Vasilievna Averina, believe that the events which followed the day of September 17 1990, correspond exactly to "Resolution no. 6", I may agree with you that such a decision really existed and that it might have probably been signed by Ilascu himself. I might have accepted your arguments as a man who takes interest in history, but not as a lawyer. Besides, in order to sustain the idea that this document is not authentic, I want to draw your attention to the aspect of "Resolution no. 6". As you may see, the resolution consists of a single sheet of paper, it is typed on both sides, and includes 11 articles. Ilascu's signature is not on the front page. There are 7 articles of the resolution on this side, the articles which allegedly include urges to violence. On the other side of the paper there are the other 4 articles of the resolution, of which only the 8th makes an appeal to the members of the Popular Front to "support actively the Moldavian Army to annihilate the enemies of the Moldavian people". Article no. 10 says that the fight must be against the "communist mafia". Beneath are included the following words: "Down with the Soviet conquerors!" and "Down with the colonial empire!". Taking into consideration the above, the following conclusions must be drawn: On the back side of the paper, which you pretend that has the seal of the Popular Front and Ilascu's signature, there is no mention made of the delegates to the second congress or of the n.m.r. Mention is made of the communist mafia, that is the colonial empire and the Soviet conquerors. If the delegates to the second congress (from September 2 1990) and the leadership of the n.m.r. identify themselves with these categories, that is their problem. The front page of the resolution could easily be a fake. I repeat that Ilascu's signature is not to be found on this side of the paper, and the Court didn't bother to ask a criminologist expert if both the sides of the paper were typed on the same typewriter. As regards the appeals contained in "Resolution no. 6", they do not consist of any "public urge to overthrow the state and Soviet power and the social regime in the n.m.r. ,,by means which are against the constitution of the n.m.r.", as the prosecutor repeatedly stated. The prosecution motivated the criminal purpose of the resolution by indicating only some of its articles. It did not take into consideration the context, neither analysed the resolution as an entity, but on separate articles. To use a comparison, the prosecution adjusts the resolution to fit a certain article of the Criminal Code by putting the saddle in front of the horses. The position of the defense is that the resolution should be read exactly as it is, from the first to the last article, because every article is connected to the previous one. If we read it in this manner, the resolution could be concentrated in only one thesis: "Someone is planning a coup in Transnistria, and is about to use force against those who opposed the regime, that is why the members of the Popular Front are required to resist and react to force by force". I see no urge in this idea and, more than that, nothing which could be anti-constitutional. To conclude with, Resolution no. 6 is no evidence that Ilascu is guilty, either in its formal part, or in its substance." The search at Ilascu's house
The search at Ilascu's house was carried out by Homitski, from the prosecutor's office of Slobozia (he is now district attorney of the county of Slobozia), and took place by violating articles 148 and 149 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldavia. It took place at night and without the warrant of the prosecutor's office, which is illegal, save for those cases in which a delay is not acceptable. It does not result from any evidence or material exhibited in Court that a delay was not acceptable. On the contrary, if Ilascu has been shadowed a long time before and the prosecutor's office had had information about his alleged criminal activity long before June 2, they had to be authorized to search on that day and in that manner. The prosecution agreed that this was a violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but not a serious one. The defense considers this to be very serious, because it resulted in obtaining doubtful results from the search, which was directly reflected in the report and was confirmed during the trial in the court of law. Apart from the representatives of the prosecutor's office in Slobozia, other officers in the city of Tiraspol bureau for internal affairs, the state 'securitate', and two kinds of special corps participated in the search. So the search implied a great number of armed persons, of which none were impartial witnesses. Some of them were called to testify as eye-witnesses (like Homitski - who was in charge of the operation and who wrote down the official report; Gusan - deputy chief of the militia in Tiraspol; Varzari and Mosor from the military guard, who testified as witnesses; one is still unaware of the quality in which Gusan took part in the trial as a witness for the prosecution). The fact that the men from the military guard, who have similar duties to the militiamen and who were interested in the result of the action, were included on the list of the witnesses to the search was a serious violation of article no. 117 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia which states that any person may participate in the search, with the exception of those interested. The report of the search mentions that a certain Barbari Serghei Andreevich participated in the search as a witness, but the Court questioned a person named Varzari Igor Sergheevich. This allows the defense to consider either that more than two persons eye-witnessed in the search, and the others were not mentioned in the official report, which is a violation of article no. 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia, or the report includes a false statement, which would be absolutely unacceptable. The official report also mentions that Gorbov, deputy minister of the state 'securitate' of the n.m.r., participated in the search, as a representative of the department of internal affairs. The report also overlooks the presence of the members of the "arrest group", in spite of the fact that, according to the statements of Varzari and Mosor, they were exactly five and were the first to enter Ilascu's flat. There is also no mention in the report of the photographer, nor of a list of photographs that were taken, although each witness confirmed that a photographer had been present at the search. In fact, this is a violation of article no. 115 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia, which stipulates that all the persons who participate in the search should be mentioned in the report; this entitles us to believe that these violations were obviously done on purpose. Article no. 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia stipulates that the report should point out if the things which were taken away were either given of free will or taken by force. There is absolutely no mention in the report concerning this matter. According to the stipulations of the same article mention should be made concerning the place and circumstances under which the things were found. The report mentioned only that the things were found "in the house", without mentioning that other families lived in the house as well (the house consists of two apartments). Ilascu's apartment has three rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet, a pantry, a hall, and also a storing place outside the apartment. The mention "in the house" is followed by a list of 30 items which were taken away, with no mention either of the place where any of them was found, or if they were found inside or outside the flat. Article 156 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia stipulates as well that, when taking the objects away, it is compulsory to put down in the report their exact number, dimensions, weight or other characteristics, and their price whenever this is possible. The report on the search of Ilascu's house makes it clear that the stipulations of this article were not complied with in a very obvious manner. No characteristics of the objects were mentioned and their names were clearly a product of imagination, since certain names and uses could be established only later, with the help of specialists, or by running an expertise; sometimes even a very careful expertise cannot precisely establish what the names and uses of certain objects are. For instance, the 3rd issue on the list mentions an " automatic gun; bullets - 16 pieces", without mentioning their brand. The 7th issue mentions: "Documents of the MPF - 3 paper cases", without mentioning their title or their contents. The 9th issue on the list mentions: "two packs of small gauge bullets - 100 pieces", again without a producer's brand. This list goes on like this. The 11th issue speaks of "a plastic box designed for a watch, now full of gunpowder", in spite of the fact that only an expert could see the difference between gunpowder and other similar substances. The 21st issue mentions "detonating capsules in a black plastic box - 8 pieces". I need to point out the fact that the investigator didn't bother to mention any characteristic of those capsules, or anything about their shapes, dimensions or the producer's brand. Instead of this, the investigator wrote down "detonating", although subsequent investigations performed at the highest level in Moscow could neither establish their exact name and use, nor if they were really detonating. But the most serious and unforgivable violation committed by the investigators is that the report did not indicate at all how were these objects confiscated, if they were examined by a specialist, if any significant fingerprints were remarked on them, and (which is the most important thing) if they packed and sealed them and how did they do it. One finds it difficult to believe that, supposing the investigators found the pistol in Ilascu's house, they were not able to reveal fingerprints of the owner on it. It is also difficult to accept that it was not possible to have photographs made of these objects in the places they were found, since a specialist was present at the search. It is impossible to understand why the investigator did not pack and seal the confiscated objects, and why he did not mention anything about that, even as a mere formality. The investigators glaringly violated the provisions of the article 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Moldavia which stipulates that: "the confiscated objects must be packed and sealed at the place of the search"; the investigation rendered the results of the search practically valueless, because it allowed access without any control to the confiscated objects before performing any expertise on them. We cannot trust that investigator Homitski handed to the head of the investigation group Starojuk exactly the same objects that were found in Ilascu's house. We cannot, as well, be sure that Starojuk gave exactly these objects to be examined. In addition, the depositions made by Homitski, Gusan, Varzari and Mosor were too confusing and contradictory to allow the results of the search to be used as an incriminating evidence. Therefore, although Varzari and Mosor tried as hard as possible to help the prosecution by saying they were on duty that night, guarding important objectives, they agreed that the arrest group had entered Ilascu's apartment a long time before the search and they were the last to get in. The search had already started, the pistol had already been found and put on the bed when they came in. They also admitted that the powder which, as the prosecution claims, is used to produce napalm, was discovered and brought indoors by the militiamen without their consent, when they were already indoors, and that the militiamen said they had found it in the storing place. They admitted that they were all searching at the same time in various rooms and could not follow what the rest of the persons involved in the search were really doing. They finally admitted that, of all the things to be found, they remembered only the pistol and the powder, and that these objects were found and confiscated in their absence. Gusan explained, when he was asked by the Court, that he found the pistol in the presence of Ilascu only, while the other members of the arrest group were in another room, and it was only after this that they started to look for eye-witnesses. Finally, when asked by the Court, since he was the former investigator of the prosecutor's office, the prosecutor of the county of Slobozia, Homitski, confirmed without doubt his statement, that the objects which were confiscated were not packed and sealed, that the pistol was found by officer Gusan alone, that he (Homitski) was not among the first to enter the apartment, but came in immediately after the arrest group. These data, your honors, prevent us from using the official report and the results of the search as evidences." The testimonies given by Petrov (Popa) and Ivantoc during their inquiry
cannot be taken into consideration since they were obtained by means of torture. The testimony given by Garbuz
Unlike the rest of my colleagues here, I can say I have no moral right to try to catch Garbuz lying, even if he lies as shamelessly as possible. I met him a long time ago, in 1979, when I was appointed investigator and Garbuz was a district militiaman. I feel like saying this because our relationship has always been cordial, even friendly. Today I have to let my conscience be my guide, as a lawyer and defender of his opponent, according to the principle "Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas". Valeri Garbuz was indeed working as a district militiaman, but I know for sure that, when meeting other people he pretended he had a higher rank - he said he was an authorized officer of the criminal division of the militia, which was the rank that he wanted. Some years later he was transferred to the criminal division, but shortly afterwards, his superiors found out (from the complaints of the citizens) that he pretended to be a KGB officer, of course not because he had misanthropic feelings, but in order to achieve petty personal goals. Taking into consideration his megalomania and huge vanity, he might have become a KGB agent in the meantime and it is likely he secretly did it. The city division for internal affairs did not know about that, and appreciated Garbuz according to his merit. As a result he was soon fired by the department of internal affairs "for discrediting". Besides his lack of morality, which was incompatible with the status of a militiaman, the dismissal form also mentioned his lack of sincerity. I remember this form because we got order to read it to the whole team, at a meeting. After this I lost trace of Garbuz. I used to meet him in the city every now and then, but I didn't know what he was doing. Uratu and Ilascu told us better than I could about the way he "infiltrated" among the members of the Front, and gained Ilascu's confidence and about what he was after. I wasn't a member of the Front, so I couldn't tell you anything more about that. Everything was just like the kind of life he lead. As we know, at the beginning a lot of adventurers wanted to become members of the patriotic organizations which were rapidly developing; it was not because they had patriotic feelings, but because they had personal interests. When these patriotic organizations fell in disgrace, all these riff-raffs changed their goals instantly and betrayed the organization's ideals, just like Garbuz did. This was something more than natural for him. When he was confronted with Ilascu I asked him if he thought that people could still trust him, since they knew how quickly and how remorselessly he had changed his faith, and that he had been dismissed for discrediting the militia force. He answered, in a double-dealing manner, that he had not been fired for that, but for "not being adequate" and that everybody was fired with such a mention at that time. I tried to find some documents to confirm the reason of his dismissal, but in spite of the fact that I was a lawyer, I didn't succeed. It is regrettable that the court did not ask the archives to provide a copy of his file; the file includes the mention made when he was dismissed. It would have been much easier for us to know who Garbuz really was, a man who fought for justice, as he wanted to seem, or an ordinary agent. Today, your honors, once again, I ask myself the same question. I cannot trust Garbuz for the following reasons: In the course of the preliminary investigations, Garbuz made contradictory depositions. He initially stated openly he was the leader of a terrorist group and had organized the activity of this group personally in order to assassinate Gusar, and subsequently burn his body in a car. He also admitted that, in order to achieve this goal, he fired once inside the car, in the direction in which Gusar had been thrown. That means that Garbuz admitted he was not only an accomplice to the crime, but had done it personally. Afterwards, Garbuz changed his deposition. He changed some aspects of several apparently insignificant details, but which resulted in a great advantage for himself and attempted to prove he had not intended to shoot to kill Gusar; he pretended he had shot a fire to the back of the car, but just to make noise in order to calm down his colleagues who were extremely agitated. He went on saying that, unlike the other accomplices, he wanted to get Gusar out of town to talk him into giving up his collaboration with the Transnistrean authorities, and obtain a written confirmation from Gusar. But during the trial, when he understood that no other prisoners would be brought to Court to testify, he thought he could get an even greater advantage for himself by testifying that his activity within the Popular Front consisted only in sabotaging its activity from inside. He said that his activity within the famous armed group consisted in trying to prevent any criminal activity, and if it had not been for him, there would have been much more bloodshed of innocent people. Garbuz knew very well what he was saying; he was trying to obtain indulgence, and he obtained it almost totally. During the preliminary investigation he managed to get special imprisonment conditions for himself. He was placed in a cell with other defendants for a long time, which was a violation of the laws of imprisonment, and convinced them to accept his version. During the trial he tried to deny that, in a very clumsy manner. Garbuz was present when the other prisoners were aggressed during the preliminary investigations. During the trial, in his attempt to prove his loyalty to the investigators to whom he owed favorable detention conditions, he tried to state that no illegal methods of investigating the defendants had been used. Without the slightest hesitation, he tried to infirm several facts, which even the witnesses for the prosecution could not deny, because their were self-evident. Garbuz's testimony is the only direct evidence against the person I defend and against the other defendants. Is it possible that this single evidence be the only basis for convicting Ilascu? I need to remind you the recent trial in Rome, of the man who tried to kill the Pope. The deposition of the Turkish terrorist (since it could not be corroborated with any other) could not be used against the Bulgarian citizen who was accused of having organized that attempt. I do not think that the case was less examined than the case of the "Ilascu group" here in Tiraspol. Your honors, if these arguments are still convincing, I appeal to your judgement. I appeal to you to judge fairly and impartially the authenticity, the thoroughness of the evidence which was produced in Court by the prosecutor Averina against Ilascu and his comrades. You should take into consideration that, due to the lack of consistent evidence, the judges had to question a great number of people working in legal organisms, including the minister of security of the n.m.r., Shevtsov-Antiufeev, who was undoubtedly interested in the result of the trial. We realize perfectly how "industriously" this case was prepared, since the prosecutor, who asked that Ilascu be sentenced to death, had to invoke the Bible and mystical arguments for lack of clear evidence. She reminded us at the beginning of her speech that Ilascu was already guilty because during his first deposition in the Court, God had sent heavy rain to cover his voice. She ended her speech by quoting Jesus Christ: "He who shall kill, killed will he be". These words - she claimed - proved that Ilascu and his comrades were guilty. If you, your honors, are impartial and brave enough, you will forward the "Ilascu case" to the adequate and rightful organisms to be examined fairly, and will thus contribute to putting out this smoldering fire. If you pass the sentence according to your political ambitions, the consequences will be serious, not only for those who will be convicted illegally, but for us all, including you, your honors. This was about all I had to say. I will end by saying I have the feeling of having done my duty. If the audience who is watching us now has misunderstood me, may only his conscience bear the consequences. But if I have been misunderstood by the person I am defending, then let his conscience be the one to bear the consequences."
4.6.7. The answer of the prosecutor Averina
The trial was resumed on Monday, October 18. The hearing opened with Nina Averina's answer to Ion Vozian. Averina's speech proved her to be totally insensitive to all the critics that had been previously made by all the counsellors for the defense, although those critics had pointed out that it was impossible to prove the five defendants guilty at all. She repeated mechanically the same kind of accusations. Instead of answering Vozian's criticism, she overwhelmed him with slander, insults, and conjectural charges; Vozian was accused that "he had deliberately abased the Constitution of Transnistria", that "he had covered his colleagues with dirt", that he had intended to mislead the trial etc. In his answer, Vozian complained about the manner in which the trial had been prepared by the de facto authorities in Transnistria. He pointed out that, since the abuses which had been made were so obvious, the legal value of the evidence was practically null.
4.6.8. The final statements: Ivantoc, Godiac, Petrov (Popa), Lesco
During the session of October 18, judge Ivanova invited the defendants to make their final statement. Once again, the five patriots inside the steel cage had a surprisingly proud, lucid, and courageous attitude. They stated that their speech was not a final statement, but a simple declaration. In their declarations, the prisoners voiced their opinions once again, as they had done several times before and during the trial: they acknowledged neither the Transnistrean Republic, nor the Court, they denied all charges, declared their attachment to the Republic of Moldavia, and their wish to be delivered to the legal authorities. Alexandru Lesco reminded the Court that several times in history the accused had turned into prosecutors. He ended his speech with the following words: "Forgive them my Lord, as they do not know what they are doing".
4.6.9. Ilie Ilascu's final statement
On the following day, October 19, Ilie Ilascu made his final statement. He was holding tight to the bars of the cage, he had a tiny tricolor flag in his left hand, a flag which he had made himself in the cell, and spoke extempore for about an hour and a half. He pointed out all of the essential matters of the trial. He was initially nervous at first, but he recovered gradually. He made use of his rhetorical talent, switching from general matters to concrete examples and from seriousness to humor. Here are some excerpts from his speech. "This show which you are attending and which started over six months ago was organized, as I told you before, by the secret services of the n.m.r. and of Russia. Its only purpose was to dishearten the Romanian people in Transnistria and to cover up the crimes which these services had committed and which they are still committing-- There wouldn't have been so many misfortunes in these past years and now if the imperialist Russian force in Tiraspol had not planned an aggression against the sovereign Republic of Moldavia, in 1989. This aggression will unfortunately go on, because the Communist forces are violent and essentially criminal. No philosophy in this world accepts the existence of two or several truths at a time; only the Marxist- Leninist philosophy does. They stick to a truth today, they stick to another one tomorrow, but in fact both are equally false and lying. We find ourselves on this stage, in this absurd theater show, just because we are members of the Popular Christian and Democratic Front. This political and social organization was the only opposition entity in Tiraspol and, generally speaking, on the left side of the Nistru river. The rest of the organizations in Transnistria - the OSTK, the political parties - were created in order to support the state criminals who had seized the power by the force of the arms "captured" from the 14th Army; the latter had, in fact, offered the arms willingly, but is trying now to justify itself. Our only guilt is that we knew about all these and that for 3-4 years we have been watching and collecting information about all these abuses, about this ruffianism which causes havoc on the territory of Moldavia, with support from the Russian secret service. When the citizens of a country interfere in the affairs of another country, especially when they do this in military terms, the entire civilized world calls this AGGRESSION and INTERFERENCE in the internal affairs of another country. And there is no excuse for those who have lead us into this tragedy. We (the members of the Popular Front) have our representatives in all strata in society, in all enterprises. We did not undertake any terrorist activity, but limited ourselves to political and propaganda activities only. This kinds of activity has become very dangerous for Smirnov and his coterie. It is for this reason that he decided to eliminate us. I want to make an official statement: he did this with the support of the pro-imperialistic and pro-communist forces in Chisinau, including the Ministry of National Security (the KGB in Chisinau). Why is that? Because there are not two different and independent ministries for security in this country, one in Chisinau, another one in Tiraspol. There is only one. They have been working together all this time. The massacre of Tighina was their work. The carnage of Tighina (Bendery), commonly agreed upon by Tiraspol and Chisinau, aimed at annihilating the patriotic forces which were fighting for the national freedom of Moldavia on one hand, and at neutralizing some battalions which were no longer under the control of the separatists, like Kostenko's for instance, on the other. I know perfectly well what I am saying. Either during the preliminary investigation, or during the so-called trial, no one has bothered to find out who we really were, why we were accused of being agents and collaborators of the Ministry for National Security of Moldavia. I shall give you one reason only, which eliminates all charges. An interview with Botnaru, the president of the Moldavian KGB at that time, was published on July 7 1991 on the first page of "Pravda" which, thank God, was done away with -and I hope that is forever; the interview mentioned in black and white that a penal case was in store for Ilascu. I have had a penal file even since 1985. It was drawn up in Slobozia by Iuri Alexeevici Rescikov, Vadim Turcan, and in Tiraspol by a colonel whose name I do not remember. At that time [when the killing of Ostapenko was organized and attempted] I was simply not in Tiraspol, which is proved by the certificate from the hotel in Chisinau. I was present when my lawyer handed this document over to prosecutor Starojuk, who refused to attach it to my file; later on the judge "forgot" to do so, as well. Yet they didn't forget to interrogate my wife under pressure. In July she was on the right side of the Nistru. They called her urgently to Tiraspol, telling her lies that something had happened to me. Naturally she refused to come. Starojuk and Averina, I mean Larina, tried to "persuade" her, and told her: "Either you come to make a deposition, or you will never see your husband again". I ask you: What could my wife do? She was so frightened she could have made any kind of deposition. All the more that she was worried about the fate of our two children, and knew very well I had been chased by the "blue-eyed boys" for a long time. Why did the judge not read the entire text of the cross-examination? Now for the armament. Several times during the preliminary investigations and during the trial I asked for clear explanations regarding this huge quantity of armament which was mentioned in the file. Scores of automatic guns, several boxes of grenades and others were listed there. They only showed a couple of pistols and a rifle in the course of the trial. Where is the rest of the armament referred to and for which we were charged with possession, transportation and so on? It does not exist. But why? If we did the shooting, give us at least the weapon which killed these people, for which crime we were also charged. This armament does not exist. And could not exist. We demanded that the guns be examined by the most simple method, like the one recently used in Moscow [after the October coup], in order to find out what were the identification numbers of the guns that had been used. The expertise in Moscow found out that the armament [used in October coup] belonged to the 14th Army. Things should have happened the same way in our case: where was the armament taken from and whom did it belong to? Everything would have become clear, because the 14th Army and the Russian secret service could not have ignored such things. Prosecutor Averina's references to the Bible made in her prosecution speech are absolutely hilarious. Look who mentions the Bible! A communist, whose Party colleagues have been demolishing churches and over-crowding Siberia with priests for 70 years. Who is this Garbuz? To put it this way: what are all the charges brought against us based upon? Only upon Garbuz's "sincere depositions". Who is Garbuz? He started attending the meetings of the Front in 1990. He used to seat dead silent in a corner, without taking off his hat or coat. My comrades realized at once that the man was a KGB agent. Yet, since the meetings were public, we could not deny anyone the right to attend them. Representatives of the OSTK also used to come, like Mrs. Volkova, Mr. Bolshakov and others. But Garbuz's mission was different. I knew what I was going for and I do not regret I have started this fight against totalitarianism. I am proud that, starting from 1988 I have contributed, to a greater or lesser extent (that is for history to decide) to the collapse of this monster named the Soviet Union, to the destruction of communist totalitarianism. In the course of the preliminary investigation, the whole press in Tiraspol tried to manipulate the public opinion of the "Transnistrean nation". But there is no such nation, it does not correspond to any definition of a nation. Look only through the collection of "Dnevstroskaia Pravda"; 4 days after our arrest the paper wrote: "the guilt of the prisoners was fully proved". It would not have mattered if the article had not borne a signature. But it was signed by the prosecutor Boris Lucik. Therefore, at that time Lucik had already found us guilty, although our guilt can only be established by a judge. This is how things work in the civilized world. They don't work like this, here. So it appears clearly that all this machinery had to demonstrate we were guilty, whatever the price. And they worked day after day, week after week, month after month, according to Shevtsov's instructions, until "everything was demonstrated". The results of this investigation were kept secret. Why? Because the people who conducted this investigation had to cover their own crimes by charging an imaginary aggressor with them. About Resolution no. 6. I did write this resolution, but there is a difference between the original text of the resolution which I signed, and the text that was published in "Dnestrovskaia Pravda". I did not take any action then because I did not have time for that.(*) The investigators and the judge revealed from the context some parts which were convenient for them, but read as a whole the text does not include any urges to using force. The correct meaning was that we would fight back if we were attacked. Who were the first to take up arms? Were they not the members of the guards in Transnistria? Were they not the amazons of Galina Andreeva?... Now, when the parliaments and the governments of the world, including Romania, Moldavia, and also the Romanian Church, ask that this farce be stopped, the staff of the public food network in Slobozia asks that we be sentenced to death. And the letter of Mrs. Catherine Lalumiere, general secretary of the Council of Europe, in which she asked that this wrongdoing be stopped, stands right next to it... The communists on both sides of the river Nistru are still communists. The Republic of Moldavia is not ruled by a democratic government, but by a communist one. The so-called government in Tiraspol is fascist and communist. Let us loudly cheer Yeltsin, who gets rid of the communists. Maybe he will reach Tiraspol, too." In the end, Ilascu said a few words in Romanian: "I want to conclude by thanking all the public organizations, the government and the diplomatic corps of Romania, Moldavia and of other countries, for taking a stand against the trial in Tiraspol; I want to thank them for their attitude on behalf of my colleagues in this cage. I want to assure them we were not overcome. They did not defeat us." He thanked the people in Romania who had been supporting the prisoners' families all the time; he thanked the newspapers in Romania and Moldavia, the Popular Front and the Romanian patriots in Tiraspol. "I have been a member of the Popular Front and still am one, because our national fight, our aspiration to a reunited Great Romania, which the communist hordes destroyed in 1940, are still topical. The battle goes on." Ilascu's speech caused various reactions. It often resulted in admiration in the audience, including the guards, although they were basically opposed to Ilascu's position. Several times when Ilascu was speaking about the historical rights of Romania, some people in the audience spited. Judge Ivanova finally announced that the hearing was adjourned until November 15, without giving any reasons for this decision. ___________________________________ (*) At present, it seems impossible to reconstruct the exact text of Resolution no. 6; the original draft was lost (either in the editorial office of "Dnestrovskaia Pravda", or in the editorial office of "Trudovoi Tiraspol); the text which was published was not accurately copied, and Ilascu did not point out publicly the differences, at the time. Instead of the original, there are but several ordinary copies, of unknown source. We have used a similar copy to work on, which was offered us by a refugee from Tiraspol;the quotations in paragraph were taken from this copy.
4.6.10. Garbuz's last statement
The hearing of Garbuz, who made his final statement, covered the entire session of 15 November. His speech was extremely ideological, and repeated the theses of the prosecution. Garbuz brought serious and insulting charges to the leadership of the Republic of Moldavia, whom he considered responsible for the war in Transnistria. His speech did not clarify any of the entangled episodes in which the defendant had been involved.
4.6.11. The conviction (December 9-th 1993)
The days before the sentence was passed, appeals of the OSTK were distributed in Tiraspol. They asked the people to come to the "Kirovets" hall and attend the conviction of "Ilascu's terrorist group". A copy of such an appeal was typewritten and stuck right on the wall of the "Kirovets" building. The previous hearing (of November 15 1993) had been cut short and adjourned without mentioning the date when it would be resumed - which was against any legal procedure. The day of the following hearing - which was to be the last - was decided upon only 48 hours before, i.e. on December 7 1993, in the morning. On Thursday, December 9, at 10 o'clock in the morning, about 400 excited people were standing in front of the "Kirov" factory club; the whole area and the roads leading to the club were kept under control by several militia squads and by militaries of the "Dnestr" battalion. In order to disperse the people in front of the entrance, a militia car slowly advanced with its sirens on through the crowds which were forced to step back. As a result of this extremely dangerous maneuver, no one was hurt and no one protested. A helicopter of the 14th Army was flying over the area. In spite of the lack of fuel the ex-Soviet countries complain so often about, the helicopter continued to keep the area under control until 4 p.m. and even later. The hall had also been specially prepared. A parapet made of thick steel bars had been placed in front of the stage, as if to try to hold back a possible rush of the audience. A red curtain covered the stage completely; the curtain was drawn at 11.30, when the trial started, following an unaccountable delay. Somewhere in the middle of the hall, several persons were waving the Transnistrean flag and were holding up two placards which read: "Death to the killers!" and "The terrorists must pay!" As soon as the court entered, Ilascu protested, saying that several of the prisoners' relatives had not been allowed to enter the hall; his protest was useless. The sentence was passed starting from 11.35. A few minutes later, Godiac fastened a tiny tricolor flag to the upper bars of the cage; the tricolor remained there all along the trial. Generally speaking, the five seemed to be in an excellent disposition, they made jokes, discussed and read newspapers, while Ivanova was reading the sentence; the audience, not used to standing up such a long time, grew tired. At 12.43 the trial was interrupted, but the audience was not allowed to leave the hall. The people were announced that those who would leave the hall would not be allowed to come back. The session was resumed 10 minutes later, but Garbuz's lawyer, Zarva, did not return to the stage; he did not attend the hearing afterwards. The sentence was read on by Miazin. It was for the first time one could hear the voice of this young judge, who had previously made himself conspicuous only by falling asleep for a few minutes during the hearing of October, 4. The trial was interrupted again at about 2 o'clock. Ivanova resumed the reading of the sentence until 2.50. During the reading, Ilascu, usually supported by the other four, accused Ivanova of being a communist and a separatist and shouted several times slogans like: "Long live Moldavia, Ardeal and Wallachia!, Long live Great Romania!, Down with the Prut frontier!, Down with the Russian conquerors!". The trial was interrupted again, shortly before 3 o'clock. One could hardly explain these interruptions otherwise than by the necessity of consulting an expert or some authority; as a matter of fact the judges had had 3 weeks at their disposal to write the sentence. The reading was resumed after 3 o'clock; it was almost impossible to hear it because of the voices of the men in the cage. Ivanova read with obvious nervousness; the audience insulted and threatened. Generally, the sentence included a great number of excerpts from the Indictment, which had been read scores of times before; the excerpts had been the same in the reports of the "prosecutor's office"; the sentence went again and again over Ilascu's attempts to blow up the House of Soviets in Tiraspol, the bridge over the river Cuciurgan, the oil base at Blijni Hutor, over the way he had planned to annihilate the leadership of the Transnistrean Republic, in order to weaken and to sabotage the Soviet power in the Transnistrean Republic etc. The sentence did away with some charges of no importance to the general situation of the prisoners; for instance, they were absolved of the crimes they had allegedly committed on the right side of the Nistru river, outside the "territory of Transnistria". The sentence rejected the alibis of the defendants, the objections of the lawyers regarding procedure vices, the gross abuses during the imprisonment, the tortures, the lack of credibility of Garbuz's depositions - and finally declared that the defendants' guilt had been fully proved. The court therefore acted in a pure bolshevik manner: it completely ignored reality and was guided only by ideologic criteria. "Taking into consideration the fact that he is very dangerous - the sentence ran - Ilascu is sentenced to the death penalty and his fortune will be confiscated. The Court considers that Petrov and Ivantoc might be reeducated if they were isolated for a long time, and sentences them to 15 years severe imprisonment. Lesco is sentenced to 12 years severe imprisonment, Garbuz to 6 years ordinary imprisonment and Godiac to 2 years ordinary imprisonment". All of them will have their fortune confiscated. When the death sentence for Ilascu was read, the audience cheered and acclaimed frenetically. Ilascu said that was Smirnov's death sentence, not his. Then he said: "Hurray! I shall die for my country!" The judge finished reading the sentence at about 3.20. Ivanova told Ilascu he could submit an application for pardon to the so-called supreme Soviet of the Transnistrean republic, but Ilascu declared he would never do such a thing. As a matter of fact, Ilascu had asked his lawyer and every member of his family not to submit an application for pardon to any of the Transnistrean organizations whatever the sentence might be. When the sentence was passed, a group of soldiers took up a position with their pistols pointing to the audience. Half an hour after the trial ended and the curtain was drawn, the people were still not allowed to get out of the hall. They remained in the court-room until the prisoners were sent back to the prison. The helicopter was still flying over the hall. Outside the hall people shook hands, the way they did after a match their favorite team had won. Quite a lot of them thought the sentence was not severe enough and it was high time the five prisoners were all shot.
5.1. Alibis
All those who were charged of participating in terrorist activities had alibis which, in case they were considered by the Court, would have absolved them of all charges. We have mentioned the fact that, on April 22 and 23 1992, Ilascu's name was written down in the register of the "Chisinau" hotel in the capital (he returned to Tiraspol on the 23 at nine o'clock in the morning), so he could not have participated in preparing the attempt against Ostapenko, as the Indictment stated. Ilascu's absence from Tiraspol was also confirmed by Stefan Uratu's statements. Several other alibis were connected with the fact that the terrorist attacks against Ostapenko (April 23) and Gusar (May 8) had taken place before some feasts: before Easter (April 23), before Victory Day (May 9). Lesco, Petrov (Popa) and Ivantoc left for the countryside before Easter, and went to their parents; on holidays, the people here usually go to see their native place and help their relatives back home work their land. On April 23, at about 7 in the morning, Lesco accidentally met Stefan Uratu, who was accompanying his niece, Natasa Uratu, to the train for Chisinau. Natasa Uratu, who was a student in the second year at the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol, had decided to shelter herself in Chisinau, because of the war. The train left Tiraspol at 7.35 and reached Chisinau about two hours later. Natasa Uratu and Alexandru Lesco travelled together from Tiraspol to Chisinau. In the morning of April 23, Petre Petrov, Tudor Petrov (Popa)'s brother-in-law, came to see him with his wife and children. They all left for their parents, at Buteni in the county of Hancesti. On April 23 and on May 8, Andrei Ivantoc and his wife spent the day with their parents, in the village of Opaci, county of Causeni. They got there by bus and a lot of people saw them. In the morning of May 8, Nina and Tudor Petrov (Popa) baptized their daughter, Carolina, at the church in Tiraspol, on Krasnodonskaia street. They were there at 8 o'clock, together with the godfather, their relatives and friends. They came back home at 11 o'clock. Nina Petrov got the christening certificate in the summer of 1993, but with no mention of the date on it. The same morning, another interesting thing happened. Cernov, a student at the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol, just after arriving at the faculty, stated that a murder had happened on the road from Slobozia to Tiraspol and that he had seen the car of the victim. Cernov looked very excited; many of his colleagues listened to his story. A few months later, when his colleagues heard that Cernov had eye-witnessed the murder, they reminded him that his statements in Court were not the same he made at school in the morning of May 8. Cernov denied that he had said what his colleagues tried to remember him. His colleagues said that they were ready to make public statements about the things that had happened in the morning of May 8. Of all the alibis, only the ones of Ilascu and Lesco were grounded by documents in Court. This was due mainly to the fact that the lawyers Vozian and Maximovtseva had seriously defended their clients. Ivantoc and Petrov had no lawyer for a long time, then switched from one lawyer to another several times; as a result, their defense was not taken care of as well as the above mentioned. Secondly, they did not bring any alibi in Court since the opinion of their relatives was that: 1) nothing could have an influence over the soviet power and 2) the court knew that they were not guilty, so any other proof about their innocence was useless. The fact that the alibis of Ilascu and Lesco, exhibited to the court and grounded by unchallenged documents, in accordance with all the legal stipulations, were useless seemed to justify their attitude of resignation towards the soviet justice.
5.2. The men of the law in Tiraspol
In his declaration of October, 19, Ilascu said: "There is an unusual trial going on here. One should have taken into account the moral qualities of the judges, of the prosecutors, of the lawyers, etc. An immoral man hasn't got the right to accuse." Much as Ilascu wanted to have a fair trail, the men of the law in Tiraspol were not quite like their "counterparts" in the democratic countries. Boris Lucik, the chief prosecutor, did not take into consideration the presumption of innocence right from the beginning. This was done systematically. For instance, on July 1, 1992, he held a press conference in Tiraspol with the participation of two so-called terrorists, Garbuz and Kasapciuk, in which he tried to persuade the audience that Ostapenko and Gusar had been murdered by the "Ilascu group". Piotr Kasapciuk, a colonel in the army of Moldavia, was taken prisoner in a Gagauz county and brought afterwards to Transnistria. Such a press conference with the participation of a self-styled terrorist and of a military man suggested there was a link between the "terrorist activity" and the military actions of Moldavia. Among others, Lucik said that Stefan Uratu had built in the laboratories of the Pedagogical Institute in Tiraspol a device which was to release an explosion from a distance ( such a device has never been found). As a matter of fact, the press conference was held in a strange manner because the two arrested, both presented as being guilty, took very different attitudes. Garbuz was so thorough when passing criticism upon himself, that a correspondent of the ITAR-TASS agency shouted: "Enough with the political program!". On the contrary, Kasapciuk said that he had accepted to participate in the press conference because he wanted his family to know where he was and because he was told he would be released afterwards. Kasapciuk said that he had been cross-examined both by the guards in Tiraspol and the intelligence service of the 14-th Army. He was cross-examined for 48 hours, continuously, by several investigators. He was threatened that his wife and children would be arrested and taken from Chisinau to Tiraspol. One of the investigators said "we will reach as far as Bucharest" and "we will liquidate all the Romanians and Moldavians who are against us". These statements of the honest officer (he was Ukrainian, he did not even speak Romanian) made the press conference turn into a fiasco. Lucik held the same opinions in several meetings with Western delegates. In a discussion with a group of CSEC representatives, at the end of January 1993, Lucik said that the guilt of the accused was proved, but this case could not have been solved by "the young Transnistrean Justice" without help from the experts in Odessa and Moscow. These were the worse terrorists in the entire soviet motherland since the Lithuanian "wood brothers" (Lithuaniuan anti-Soviet guerilla fighters), were terminated 45 years ago - Lucik said. At about the same time, Lucik informed a representative of the IHRLG that a delegation of the International Red Cross Organization had visited the prisoners; this was not true, either. The factionalism of the power, which was a result of the war in Transnistria, as well as the fight between several parties, made the press have access to some information, which were not at all flattering, about several members of the nomenclature in Tiraspol - among which were Lucik and Averina. The press in Tiraspol narrated that, in the winter of 92-93, the militia found in the balcony of Lucik's apartment two automatic guns, on the occasion of a raid. The raid was caused by a false alarm given by the fire-tracking equipment of the apartment. So the guns were not found on the occasion of a search, but in an accidental investigation. General Lebed openly complained about the fact that the chief of the prosecutor's office of the "republic" himself was keeping guns at home. The case of Averina was even more notorious; it was referred to in the public sessions of the trial several times. Nina Averina's husband, P.A. Averin (Larin) was deputy-chief of the public attorney's investigation department; he had also conducted the inquires in the Ilascu case. One day he came home late, not before heavily drinking, and pretended to be jealous of his wife, then fired his revolver towards her; Averina ran to the next door apartment (at Emilianov, chief of the OSTK in Tiraspol). Her cheated husband came with a Kalashnikov and started shooting to the doors and on the floor. A militia team came and took his gun away. Averin was arrested and put in a cell which was (accidentally) in front of the cell of the people he had investigated (Ilascu in cell no. 12, Averin in cell no. 14). He was temporarily suspended and shut up in a psychiatric recovering clinic. He was regarded as a victim of stress. After a month or so, he was back to work in the same position as before. His extravert manner of surpassing his domestic disappointments didn't stop Averin from being humane to the wives of the arrested. They said that, among all, Larin was the one who gave them, most easily, permission to visit their husbands and that he behaved in a civilized manner. One could not say the same about Starojuk. We spoke of him like in Chapter 2. Starojuk, like Lucik, wore always a gun, most of the time ostentatiously. He was often drunk, sometimes during the investigations and sometimes during the discussions with the wives of the arrested. Alcohol consumption (during service) was a dominant feature of the behavior of Lucik, Starojuk and other investigators. This abuse was not always harmful to the arrested; one of them said that, during an investigation when the detectives were drinking, they had offered him too something to drink. The professional capacity of Starojuk was not always admired by his superiors. Here is, for instance, a copy of a message of the prosecutor's office of the Moldavian SSR to the prosecutor's office of the city of Tiraspol: "Taking into consideration the mistakes made by investigator Starojuk in the course of the investigations, the leadership of the prosecutor's office of the Moldavian SSR orders that he would study and summarize art. 8 "Investigating the criminal violations of the stipulations regarding work protection" of the "Investigators' Guide", part two, Moscow, 1982, pg. 173 - 189, then he would hold a session at the prosecutor's office on 17.09.1984." (signed by D.V. Kvasnin, state counsellor). This document might partially explain why the Indictment (drawn up mainly by Starojuk) included so many mistakes - although trustful people believe that the text was drawn up mostly by the experts (?)in Moscow than by Starojuk.
5.3 Victims or criminals?
Two of the people Ilascu allegedly had in view for his so-called attempts were Savenko and Limanski; they stood in court as witnesses. In the statement he made in court, Savenko boasted of the contribution he had had, during the post-war Stalinist years, in implementing the Soviet power in Bessarabia; the respective syntagm was a euphemism for mass deportations, organized starvation, the fight against "saboteurs and nationalists". As the Indictment put it (see paragraph, immediately after the attempt against him, Savenko took his gun, got out in the street and shot twice towards a car which was getting away. So the "victim" had a gun and did not hesitate to use it. One should not forget that it was a place governed by Soviet laws and that the control of guns was, theoretically, extremely severe. Under the circumstances in which a retired lawyer could so easily have a gun, and did not even hesitate to confirm it in a trial in which he depicted himself as a victim, one finds it easy to understand how close to committing a crime were the ones who tried the "Ilascu group". As for Limanski, he was indeed a criminal. In order to justify this statement we must recount some incidents which took place in Slobozia. Some time around November 10 1993, Limanski (who is now executive-in chief of the county of Slobozia) called Ion Ivanov, the president of the "Demnitatea" ("demnitatea" is the Romanian word for "dignity") organization in Slobozia, and told him that unless he changed his political attitude (pro Chisinau), both himself and his family would be confronted to an extreme danger; he warned him that he would be fired; he accused him of being the real perpetrator of the terrorist actions which had taken place in Slobozia. "But is not Ilascu being judged for these actions?" Ivanov asked. "We will put an end to that trial and start yours" he replied. These threats appeared to be even more serious considering the fact that Conovalov, a colleague of Ivanov's, had been called by Limanski in May 1992 and warned in a similar manner. Soon after his discussion with Limanski, Conovalov was killed. About 10 days later (November, 20 1993) Limanski shot dead a young man in a public place. He warned the family to bring no charges against him and keep a low profile, unless they wanted more trouble. No action was taken in this case; Limanski came freely and cheerful to the trial on December 9 1993. Another witness for the prosecution who participated illegally in the investigation of the case and who attended the show on December 9-th was Vadim Shevtsov, minister of the security of the so-called Transnistrean Republic. His real name is Vladimir Iurevich Antiufeev; he was the deputy chief of the crime department of the militia in Riga and also commander of an OMON regiment. The annual characterizations drawn up in the places he worked described him as a hot-blooded temperament. He was retrograded twice, but recovered fast each time. He was directly involved in the terrorist activities of January 1991, in Latvia. The soviet authorities awarded him the "Red Flag" order. When Latvia proclaimed its independence in August 1991, the prosecutor's office in Riga opened a criminal file on Antiufeev. He left Riga as a major in the militia and sheltered himself in Transnistria, where he founded the ministry of security; he was promoted to colonel. His deputy, Lysenko, was a former OSTK chief in Estonia. He changed his name into Kudreavyi. A similar story could be told about the first deputy of the minister of internal in Tiraspol, Matveev, whose real name is Goncharenko. Shevtsov-Antiufeev suggests clearly that communism should be built using Stalin's methods. He said that "we must act like between '45 - '47, when every action against the order was considered as an offense against the state" and that "in order to calm down things in the country they must have a certain mass of people out of activity" (read: killed). Such "stories from Transnistria", full of abuses and other crimes, might continue, but we will stop here, because the facts which were already presented hereby are enough to highlight one of the permanent efforts of the soviet justice: to invert the relationship between the victim and the aggressor.
Having dealt with every aspect of our subject-matter we may now draw the following conclusions:
  • Ilascu engaged in an open political fight to defend Moldavia's integrity (the country's name was the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia at the time he began his activity). He took action against Transnistrean separatism from the moment it came into being.
  • He took part in the activities of the special squads sent by the Moldavian authorities to arrest the separatist leaders when the August 1991 coup in Moscow failed.
  • Ilascu remained determined and faithful to his ideas when the administration, the police and the representatives of the Moldavian state structures were withdrawn from Transnistria; he knew perfectly well what were the risks he was undertaking.
  • Ilascu's political activity was never confined to protecting Moldavia's integrity; he systematically criticized Soviet (communist) power; he accused it of being both illegal and criminal; he expressed his criticism from within a political structure of Soviet type ("the Nistrean republic"); he did it even in time of war, in a town that was in a state of siege.
  • The authorities de facto in Tiraspol, including Igor Smirnov, systematically instigated the population to terminate Ilascu.
  • The Tiraspol trial was an attempt to defend the legitimacy of the Soviet power (or the rightfulness of its Leninist ideology), as well as an attempt to punish those who denied it. The trial attempted to give legal justification for Ilascu's death penalty; it also tried to give European appearance to ritual killing.
  • The prosecution did not succeed to prove the defendants guilty during the trial, therefore they are innocent.
  • The Indictment is an ambiguous and often ridiculous text, and an insult to Russian culture.
  • Although the Indictment lacked credibility completely, it was almost completely accepted by the court as a whole
  • The trial gave a lamentable impression mostly because its organizers tried to combine two different elements which could not be combined: Leninism and transparency (the use of such an impossible combination at the level of the whole Union brought about the fall of the Soviet empire).
  • Before and after his arrest, Ilascu systematically pointed to a complicity between certain people in the high circles of power in Chisinau and in the circles of power in Tiraspol.
  • Generally, Ilascu seemed willing to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, irrespective of the consequences the truth might have had on his life. He assumed a heroic part, in the proper sense of the term.
  • A hero is an uncomfortable person for politicians; that is why we wonder to which extent the county political circles are making earnest efforts to save Ilascu's life?
  • That is why we believe that only international organisms can save Ilascu and his comrades.
  • We believe that international organisms as well as the state organisms who feel bound to guarantee peace and stability in the world should make all efforts necessary to induce the liberation of Ilascu and his comrades.
Bibliography 1. The Memorandum on the necessity of the creation of the SSRM, signed by Gr. Kotovski, Al. Badulescu, P. Tkacenko, S. Tinkelman etc., translation and presentation by Anton Moraru, in 'Cugetul" (Chisinau), issues 5-6, p.55 2. Vasile Nedelciuc: The Republic of Moldavia, Chisinau, 1992 3. Ilie Ilascu, interview granted to the magazine "Alianta Civica" (Bucharest), March 1992 4. V. Barsan, "The Massacre of the Innocents". The War in Moldavia, March 1 - July 25 1992. The publishing house of the Romanian Cultural Foundation, 1993 5. The deposition made by Ilie Ilascu during the public hearing of October 19 1993, published in the magazine "Tara", October 27 1992 6. The Situation of the Six Tiraspol Prisoners, report of the Romanian Helsinki Committee (RHC) and of the International Human Rights Law Group (IHRLG), drawn up by Manuela Stefanescu and Ed Recosh, January 1993 7. Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Eastern Counties of the Republic of Moldavia, by V. Barsan (RHC) 8. The violation of the Presumption of Innocence in the Ilascu Trial, report of the RHC, drawn up by V. Barsan 9. The Trial of the Six Tiraspol Prisoners, report of the RHC, drawn up by Manuela Stefanescu and Victor Barsan 10. The Third Hearing of the Trial of the Six Tiraspol Prisoners, report of the RHC, drawn up by Manuela Stefanescu and Victor Barsan 11. The Sixth Hearing of the Trial of the Six Tiraspol Prisoners, report of the IHRLG, drawn up by Ed Recosh 12. Alarm in Tiraspol: Andrei Ivantoc in Fatal Danger, report of the Rumanian Helsinki Committee and of the Helsinki Committee of the Republic of Moldavia, drawn up by V. Barsan and St. Uratu 13. "In Tiraspol, the Trial of the "Ilascu group" Has Entered the Straight Line", report of the RHC, drawn up by V. Barsan