BUCHAREST, Romania -- Leaders of the Romanian revolution decided to put Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife on trial when security forces loyal to the dictator threatened to overrun the garrison where the couple was being held, the provisional government said Thursday.
Silviu Brucan, a member of the National Salvation Front's interim government executive committee, told a news conference that military considerations prevailed during the discussion whether to try Ceausescu.
He said leaders of the Front, which emerged during the pro-democracy uprising, made the decision on Dec. 24 after pro-Ceausescu loyalists launched a counterattack against the army and pro-democracy demonstrators. The security forces, now called terrorists by Romanians, had made advances and threatened to overrun the military garrison where the dictator and his wife were being held.
'On Sunday (Dec. 24) we saw the military ratio of forces was rather bad,' Brucan said. 'The army was not able to cope with the situation. ... we were afraid that the security forces, with their superiority in military equipment and training, could manage to enter the garrison and save the two.'
Brucan said if Ceausescu had escaped and taken command of the security forces, 'Romania would have become a bloodbath. There would have been hundreds of thousands killed.'
Brucan, a former ambassador to the United States who fell from favor after openly criticizing Ceausescu, said the decision of the Front to hold the trial by a military tribunal was correct.
'The military turning point in the balance of forces took place Monday night (Dec. 25) after the announcement of Ceausescu's execution appeared on television,' he said.
After the announcement, large numbers of the security forces began surrendering, he added.
At the news conference, Brucan shed light on the formation of the National Salvation Front and denied reports that the uprising had been planned in advance.
He said the Front met for the first time Dec. 22 at the television station which had been overrun by the pro-democray demonstrators. He said it was there that leaders decided to issue the Front's first communique.
Ceausescu, 73, was convicted by the special military court of genocide against the Romanian people, undermining the state and destroying the economy. His wife was found guilty of the same charges. They were executed by a firing squad on Christmas Day.