On 10 February 2023, the Bákó (Bacau) County Court of Appeals rejected the appeal filed in the Úz Valley (Valea Uzului) military cemetery case and confirmed the first-degree verdict, which ordered the demolition of an illegally erected Romanian monument and concrete crosses.
As is known, the Hungarian military cemetery was the site of several Romanian nationalist demonstrations in recent years. During one of these protests in 2019, concrete crosses in memory of Romanian WWI soldiers allegedly buried there were put up.
The final, legally binding verdict was made public on Friday. The appeals court ruled that the appeal of the municipality of Dărmănești (Dormánfalva) in Bacau County is unfounded and upheld the first-degree verdict, which invalidated the construction permits for the Romanian monument and concrete crosses, and ordered their demolition and the restoration of the original state of the cemetery.
The End of a Long Legal Battle
The Dărmănești municipality had previously lost in several other instances against the local government of Csíkszentmárton (Sânmartin), a settlement inhabited almost exclusively by ethnic Hungarians. In March of last year, the Moinești Court ruled that the Bacau County town’s property registration of the Úz Valley cemetery must be deleted from the land registry. Previously, in October 2021, the Bacau County Court of Appeals declared the March 2019 resolution of the Dărmănești municipal council, which declared the Úz Valley military cemetery in Hargita (Harghita) County as belonging to the town legally invalid. In April 2019, the Dărmănești municipality arbitrarily created a Romanian parcel in the military cemetery of the now-depopulated Úz Valley village located on the border of Hargita and Bákó counties, which was previously cared for by the community of Csíkszentmárton and was recognised as a Hungarian public memorial cemetery. On 6 June, 2019, several thousands Romanian protesters, unfoundedly claiming that there are many Romanian soldiers interred there, violently entered the cemetery to participate in the Orthodox consecration ceremony of the Romanian parcel and monument, after local Szekler (székely) residents tried to prevent the unlawful consecration with a human chain outside the entrance to the cemetary.
Leaders of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), the largest ethnic Hungarian political party in Romania, welcomed the decision of the court. President of the Harghita County Council Csaba Borboly applauded the decision, adding that RMDSZ will continue the dialogue about the cemetery with the Bacau County Council. According to Erika Benkő, head of the Imre Mikó Legal Protection Service of RMDSZ, the decision is a signal that one should never settle for injustice.