The People’s Courts were two special jury courts created after the Second World War to try people accused of war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity in Romania.
The People’s Court in Bucharest sentenced Ion Antonescu and other leaders of the former fascist government to death, as well as other collaborators of the Nazi regime.
The People’s Court in Cluj tried those responsible for the massacres and pogroms against the civilian population of Northern Transylvania, occupied by Horthyist Hungary. Most of those convicted were Hungarians or Germans, but also a few Romanians.
The People’s Courts were criticized for their lack of impartiality and Soviet influence on them. Many of those convicted were later released through amnesties or never served their sentences, according to Wikipedia.
Ion Antonescu, judged by the People’s Court – the USA Holocaust Museum
The Bucharest court sentenced 187 people, including Ion Antonescu, Mihai Antonescu, Constantin Vasiliu and Gheorghe Alexianu who were executed on June 1, 1946 in Jilava prison. The others were sentenced to life imprisonment or very long terms.
There were also jury courts between 1864 and 1938, the jurors being persons without legal training who were involved in voting the sentence in trials brought against crimes, slander or political offences.
Although it seems to be a legal body specific to populism, even extremist and non-liberal for Romania, and in general, for the European Union, the jury is even a democratic body in states with justice inspired by the Anglo-Saxon (or Anglo-American) model.
A jury is a body of persons without legal training (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartial verdict after a case has been presented to them by a court or to determine a punishment or judgment against an accused.
Juries developed in England during the Middle Ages and are a hallmark of the English common law system.
As such, they are used by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Ireland, Australia and other countries whose legal systems were derived from the British Empire.
Most other countries use variations of European civil law or Islamic sharia law systems.
A citizen’s right to a jury trial is a central feature of the United States Constitution.
It is considered a fundamental principle of the American legal system.
Laws and regulations governing jury selection and sentencing/acquittal requirements vary from state to state.
United States Jury, 19th century – painting realised by John Morgan in 1861
A United States federal grand jury is empaneled to try federal civil cases and to indict and try those accused by United States attorneys of federal crimes.
A federal grand jury consists of 16 to 23 members and requires the consent of 12 jurors to indict the accused.
A federal petit jury consists of 12 members, and the verdict must be unanimous.
The classic movie 12 Angry Men since 1957 presents the functioning of a petit jury in the United States of America.
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