Justice delayed is justice denied, say bishops

A 20-year sentence for a communist-era prison commander has come too late to represent real justice, according to the head of the Romanian bishops’ conference.

This summer 89-year-old Alexander Visinescu was convicted for crimes against humanity, but Bucharest’s Archbishop Ioan Robu said he was surprised how long the process had taken and deeply regretted that the sentence had not been passed when more of Visinescu’s victims were still alive.

“I know priests who suffered in his prison and whose entitlement to justice hasn’t been met. To such people, this late condemnation offers no consolation,” he said. 

If communism had been properly condemned in the early 1990s “we could have released the ghosts of the past”, according to Oradea’s Bishop Virgil Bercea, who says the presidential commission set up in 2006 came far too late.