Along with Ivantoc, other former political prisoners – Alexandru Lesco, Tudor Petrov-Popa, and Andrei and Ilie Ilascu were given the status ‘Honorary Citizens of Chişinău‘ in October 2007, according to a decision approved by Chişinău Municipal Council. The councillors decided to honour those who fought for the independence of the Republic of Moldova and suffered for their beliefs in the conditions of the self-proclaimed regime in Tiraspol.
At the same time, when the decision was taken, the CMC took into consideration the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on July 8 2004, referring to the case of ‘Ilascu and the others versus the Republic of Moldova and Russian Federation’, which declared the judgement of the regime from Tiraspol and the detention of those four prisoners as illegal, asking for their immediate and unconditional release.
On October 11 2007, at an extraordinary meeting of the CMC, in the process of the examination of the initiative from the agenda to award the four members of the ‘Ilascu group’ for “particular courage and dignity” the title of Honourary Citizen of Chişinău, the councillor, Klimenco, accused the members of the Ilascu group of the “murder of many innocent people from the left border Nistru, including the murder of pregnant women.” According to the councillor, this took place during the defensive war for the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, held against the Russian Federation in 1992.
As a result of the debate within the CMC, the media took Klimenco’s message and broadcasted it. Ivantoc affirmed that, as a result, the dignity and honour of all members of the Ilascu Group was damaged in front of their relatives, friends and broadcast to a large number of the population across the Republic of Moldova.
Similar accusations condemned by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
As Ivantoc was not present when he was accused, he asked the CMC to offer him a copy of the manuscript of the meeting, which proved that his and his friends’ accusations were launched by Klimenco at the CMC meeting.
According to the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, though his accusations, which are truthless, Klimenco violated one of the fundamental principles, foreseen by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, ‘presumption of innocence’, but also infringed the honour and dignity of Ivantoc, damaging him physically and worsening his health, as a result of a significant moral damage.
Ivantoc mentioned that he didn’t necessarily want to take the case to the court. On the contrary, he wanted to solve the affair in a peaceful way. Thus, on November 6 2007, he sent a letter to Klimenco through his representative, Stefan Uratu, in which he asked Klimenco to present him with the evidence which would prove his accusation, and in case he didn’t have such evidence, to admit in public that his declarations were not based on real facts and to reveal the real goal of his claims. At the same time, he warned him he would take the case to the court to defend his honour and dignity, in case he didn’t follow his requirements in his complaint.
The defendant, hard to be found
As the councillor didn’t give any reply to Ivantoc, he went to court. According to his representative, Stefan Burlaca, Ivantoc asked the court to make Klimenco deny his public statement, launched on October 11 2007 at the CMC meeting and to take 50,000 lei for moral damage.
Asked by Ziarul de Gardă, Ivantoc mentioned that he found out about Klimenco’s accusation from a relative. “My heart started to ache when I heard about it, I was hospitalised because of the pain. Klimenco refuses to go to the court and it is very difficult to find him and ask for explanations.” Asked about his colleagues from the Ilascu Group, Ivantoc mentioned he didn’t know where they were at that moment, and that the decision to go to court belonged to him.
Klimenco told us he didn’t know that he was invited to the court, even if Burlaca affirmed that he personally tried to give him the summons to come to the court, which he refused to take. According to Klimenco, the accusations he launched at the meeting of the Ilascu Group on October 11 2007, were based on mass media articles published in 1992 by the press of the Republic of Moldova. Also, the councillor declared that he would never deny publicly what he had said. “I am ready to bring a file with articles regarding this problem to court. If the court has any claims, it should ask the newspapers about it. I didn’t do anything else other than to read what was written by the media.” According to the councillor, the newspapers which published the accusation at the meeting of the Ilascu Group included Moldova Socialista and Trudovoi Tiraspol amongst others.
Ivantoc mentioned that the criminal regime from Tiraspol judged and kept him illegally under arrest for 15 years, bringing forward accusations at his address similar to those launched by Klimenco 16 years after, even if European Court of Human Rights recognised that in this case, he was the one to have been violated the right to presumption of innocence, the right to an equitable process and the right of life security and freedom.