LAW OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
NOTE: The Catholic Church introduced the obligation of registering all christened and married people in 1563, at the Trent Council. The registers for deceased persons started to be kept in 1614.
Other religions, like Orthodox, Calvinists and Lutherans introduced these registers in 1790, and the Unitarians in 1848. The Orthodox, as well as the Jewish people, also kept registers for newborn children, married and deceased people. Since 1829 all religions are pledged to keep these registers in two copies and each year to forward the second sample to the municipal archive authorities. The Law from 1894 was stipulating that starting with October 1st, 1895 the civil status duties are subject of the Austrian-Hungarian state authorities. Banat & Transylvania had been the part of Austro-Hungarian Empire up to 1918.
You can find a comprehensive material on this subject on CentroConsult Web Site.
Civil registration in actual Romania was established as follows:
- May l, 183l, in Walachia /Valahia, Tara Romaneasca;
- January, 1832 in Moldavia /Moldova;
- October 1, 1895 in Banat & Transylvania /Ardeal, Siebenbűrgen, Erdély.
In Walachia and Moldavia the registers were held by the Orthodox churches until December 1865 when the registration was taken over by civil offices.
Law No. 16/April 12th, 1996
ISSUED BY THE ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT
PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL GAZETTE “MONITORUL OFICIAL” No. 71/April 9th 1996
The Romanian Parliament adopts the following law:
Documents issued by state bodies, state or private owned companies, economic, social, cultural, military and religious organizations, as well as by individuals, are historical sources and represent Romania’s National Archive Fund. Under the provisions of the present law, the Romanian State assures special protection of these documents.
According to the provisions of the present law, the following documents should be included in Romania’s National Archive Fund: official, special, diplomatic and consular documents, memoirs, manuscripts, proclamations, appeals, advertisements, plans, sketches, maps, films and other testimonies alike, sealed matrixes, as well as photo, video, audio and computer records with historical value, drawn up in Romania or by Romanian authors from abroad.
Romania’s National Archive Fund is administrated, supervised and protected by the National Archive, which is a state body within the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The National Archive performs its duties through specialized departments or through its County Departments.
Under the provisions of the present law, the special protection of Romania’s National Archive Fund is accomplished in a state of peace; in case of war or natural calamities, the protection is assured by the creators and holders of documents together with the bodies entitled with special duties in such cases, being also supported by the National Archive.
The individuals or companies creating and owning documents meant to be part of Romania’s National Archive Fund, further on called documents’ creators and holders, are pledged to keep an evidence of the documents, to evaluate, select and use them in compliance with the provisions of the present law.
Duties of the National Archive regarding the administration and special protection of Romania’s National Archive Fund
The National Archive offers professional assistance and assures an integrated developing of the archive operations performed by all document creators and holders. The National Archive fulfills the following duties:
a) draws up laws, regulations and methodologies regarding the developing of the whole archive activity, inclusively for classification and including the documents stipulated by art. 2 in Romania’s National Archive Fund; all laws, regulations and methodologies should comply with the provisions of the present law;
b) controls the application of the legal regulations in force regarding the archive work and establishes the measures to be taken;
c) undertakes from creators and holders the documents included in Romania’s National Archive Fund, complying with the provisions of the present law;
d) keeps records, evaluates, selects and uses the documents owned;
e) assures documents based on microfilms and other adequate copying forms;
f) sets up and develops the National Archive’s databank and the computer network, establishes measures for linking the technical and methodological data and for co-operation between the archive information and documentation departments and the similar departments within the National information and documentation system;
g) draws up and issues the “Archive Magazine” and other professional periodicals meant to inform and support the scientific research, as well as to praise the documents included in Romania’s National Archive Fund;
h) the Archive Faculty and the National School for Archive Training specialize the employed personnel;
i) at request or ex officio it establishes whether a document should be or not included in Romania’s National Archive Fund;
j) authorizes the temporary taking abroad of documents included in Romania’s National Archive Fund for being exposed during scientific or cultural international events;
k) maintains and develops relations with similar foreign bodies and institutions for mutual information in the archive field and for exchange of documents and copies; assures the application of international agreements regarding the archive field and participates in international congresses, conferences, meetings and discussions;
l) assures the application of the legislation in force regarding the protection of the documents included in Romania’s National Archive Fund, namely keeping the state secret, guarding and preservation of these documents, in a state of peace, as well as under conditions of war or mobilization.
Within the National Archive functions a scientific council made up of own specialists, researchers, professors, as well as of specialists from the interested ministries; this council analysis, discusses and proposes solutions for problems regarding the specific working procedures and methodologies, the professional periodicals, as well as the developing of the whole archive activity.
The organization, as well as the members of the scientific council are stipulated in the organization and functioning methodology approved by the National Archive’s General Manager.
Obligations of the documents’ creators and holders
Recording of documents
According to law, all document inputs, the documents drawn up for internal use, as well as all document outputs should be recorded by their creators and holders.
Each year the documents are split on archive units according to the problems they deal with and keeping the limits established in the archive documents’ classifying list, which should be drawn up by each creator for his own documents.
According to Appendix no. 1, the classifying lists drawn up by the creators at the central level should be approved by the National Archive; the National Archive’s County Departments should approve the lists drawn up by the other creators.
In two years after being drawn up, the documents should be laid down at the archive’s deposit, based on stocktaking and delivery-reception minutes, drawn up according to Appendices no. 2 and 3.
According to Appendix no. 4, there should be kept a record regarding all entries and outputs of archive units from the deposit.
Documents can be taken out from the archive’s record only with the approval of the management of the creators and holders and with the agreement of the National Archive or its County Departments, depending on whether they are central or local creators and only following a selection, transfer into another archive deposit or being destroyed by a natural calamity or an unforeseeable and unavoidable event.
Selection of documents
Within the National Archive exists a central document selection commission. This commission co-ordinates the activity of selecting the documents drawn up and owned by the creators at the central level. Within each County Department of the National Archive exists a document selection commission, which co-ordinates the activity of selecting the documents drawn up and owned by the other creators.
The organization and duties of the commissions stipulated in the 1st paragraph are established by regulations regarding the archive activity and should be approved by the National Archive’s General Manager.
There is a selection commission within each creating unit, which is appointed by decision of each unit’s manager. The commission is made up of the following persons: a president, a secretary and an impair number of members appointed out of the own specialists. This commission should meet annually or as many times necessary, in order to analyze each archive unit for establishing its practical or historical value; according to Appendix no. 5, the decisions taken should be recorded in a minute.
In case of the creators and holders at central level, the selection minute, together with the stocktaking papers related to the documents to be eliminated due to their worthless, as well as the stocktaking papers of those documents to be kept permanently, should be forwarded for approval to the Central Selection Commission. In case of the other creators and holders, the minutes should be approved by the commissions within the National Archive’s County Departments.
Based on the minutes stipulated by paragraph 2, the documents are eliminated from the archive’s records.
In case of a sole shareholder he bears all the responsibility for selecting the documents to be archived.
Keeping the documents
The creators and holders of documents are pledged to keep the created documents in adequate conditions, to avoid their destruction, degradation, embezzlement or the selling in other conditions then those stipulated by law.
The creators and holders of documents are pledged to keep them in special endowed archive rooms. Their new buildings should have the approval of the National Archive or its County Departments only if thought for keeping documents.
The National Archive or the County Departments can ask the creators to keep the documents until they are able to undertake them.
Depending on the documents’ format, the archive warehouses should be endowed with the adequate equipment for maintaining and protecting the documents, as well as devices, installations and systems for preventing and extinguish fire.
Forwarding the documents to the National Archive
The juridical persons creating and holding documents should forward the following documents for being kept permanently by the National Archive and its County Departments:
a) topographical documents, as well as films, in 20 years after their creation;
b) written documents, excepting those regarding civil status and technical data, in 30 years after their creation;
c) technical documents, in 50 years after their creation;
d) documents regarding civil status, in 100 years after their creation;
e) metal made sealed matrixes with all the legal signs and complete name of the company, after being depreciated.
Under the provisions of the present law, the archive creators and holders can keep documents meant to be part of Romania’s National Archive Fund after the due date, in case that these are necessary for the developed activity; in case of the creators at the central level, approval should be received from the National Archive’s General Manager and for the other creators, from the managers of the National Archive’s County Departments.
Under the provisions of the present law, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Foreign Affairs Intelligence Service, the Protection and Guarding Department, other bodies alike, as well as the Romanian Academy are allowed to keep the own documents after the due date stipulated by art. 13.
The private owned organizations and the private persons keeping documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund could forward them to the National Archive to keep them in custody or as a donation, without paying any taxes.
The holders intending to sell documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund are pledged to bring this to the attention of the National Archive or its County Departments. The National Archive has the right of preemption for buying any of the documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund and should express its intent in 60 days after recording the communication.
The documents with practical value, representing the basis for issuing copies, certificates and excerpts regarding the citizens’ individual rights, should be kept by their creators and holders.
The creators and holders of documents stipulated by art. 14 and 15 are pledged to forward to the National Archive or its County Departments a copy of the stocktaking of the permanently kept documents.
In case that a document creator ceases work and another creator does not continue the activity, the documents with historical value, as stipulated by art. 1 of the present law, will be undertaken by the National Archive or its County Departments; the documents with practical value, representing the basis for issuing copies, certificates and excerpts regarding the citizens’ individual rights will be forwarded to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection or its county departments.
Once the documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund have entered the National Archive’s warehouses (or the warehouses of its County Departments) they can not be withdrawn from their administration; exception: documents in custody.
Usage of documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund
Documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund can be used for the following purposes: scientific research, administrative works, acknowledgements, educational purposes, issuing of periodicals and copies, excerpts and certificates.
Romanian and foreign citizens can consult documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund, at request, in 30 years after their creation. The documents, which did not reach the due date, can be seen only with the approval of the creating or holding unit.
The original documents with special value should not be exposed in public.
According to law, the creators and holders of documents are pledged to issue at request certificates, copies and excerpts of the created and held documents, including those, which did not reach the due date stipulated by art. 13, if they are related to rights regarding the petitioner.
According to law, there should be paid a tax for the services supplied by the National Archive in order to solve the private and juridical persons’ requests.
The documents containing data and information, which might affect the national interests, the citizens’ rights and freedom or those documents, which could be destroyed, are not free for research.
This category encloses the following documents:
a) documents related to the territorial security, integrity and independence of the Romanian State, according to the constitutional stipulations and the legislation in force;
b) documents, which might harm the citizens’ individual rights;
c) documents being in an inappropriate conservation state, situation which should be established by the special commission and recorded in a minute;
d) documents, which are not processed yet.
According to Appendix no. 6, the legal owner should establish which are the above mentioned documents.
Depending on their value and quantity, the juridical persons creating and holding documents, as stipulated by art. 2, are pledged to set up archive departments or to appoint persons in charge with the archive problems.
The personnel in charge with the archive activity, as well as the structure and components of these archive departments should be established by the management of the creating and holding companies, with the approval of the National Archive or its County Departments.
The schooling of the personnel employed by the National Archive, as well as by the other entities creating and holding archive documents, is done within the Archive Faculty and the National School for Archive Training.
The personnel employed by the National Archive will be structured according to the quality and characteristics of the administrated documentary material and being public-sector employees.
Responsibilities and penalties
The violation of the present law leads to civil or criminal responsibility.
The embezzlement, destruction, degradation of documents or putting the documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund in an unusable state, represent offences and should be punished according to the stipulations of the Criminal Code.
Smuggling abroad the documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund or their alienation through foreign private or juridical persons without having the National Archive’s previous approval, represent offences and should be punished with prison from 3 to 7 years, if the action is not a more serious offence.
The tentative should also be punished.
The following actions represent violations of the present law, excepting the cases in which, according to the criminal law they are considered as being offences:
a) the creators do not perform an inventory of the documents or do not keep archive catalogues for their own documents, as stipulated by art. 8 paragraph 2;
b) the departments do not forward to the own archive the documents to be permanently kept based on delivery-reception minutes, as stipulated by art. 9;
c) the selection commission does not select in due time the documents created and held by juridical persons, violating the stipulations of art. 11;
d) the creators and holders of documents do not assure adequate conditions for preserving and protecting the created documents, as stipulated by art. 12;
e) the creators and holders of documents do not forward the documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund to the National Archive or its County Departments after the due dates stipulated by art. 13;
f) private or juridical persons offer for sale documents from Romania’s National Archive Fund, without taking into account the preemption right of the National Archive to buy them, as stipulated by art. 15 paragraph 2;
g) the creators and holders of documents do not forward the stocktaking documents in due time to the National Archive or its County Departments, as stipulated by art. 17.
The violations stipulated by art. 29 should be punished as following:
a) fine from Lei 500,000 up to Lei 2,000,000 for those stipulated by letters a), d) and f);
b) fine from Lei 250,000 up to Lei 1,000,000 for those stipulated by letters b), c), e) and g).
The fine should also be applied to juridical persons.
Regarding the violations stipulated by art. 29, letter f), the National Archive is entitled to request a court decision for canceling the sale contract, even after the responsibility reaches the limitation.
The violations stipulated by art. 29 are established and punished by the representatives of the National Archive or its County Departments.
Every person is entitled to complain against the finding minute in 15 days after receiving the decision, forwarding the document to the corresponding Court.
The violations stipulated by the present law are complying with Law no. 32/1968 regarding the establishing and punishing of violations.
Final and transitory provisions
In 30 days after their set up, reorganization or liquidation, the creators and holders of documents should announce in writing the National Archive or its County Departments about the certification documents.
The denominations ‘General Body of State Archive’ and ‘State Archive’ used in the legislation in force should be changed into National Archive.
The stipulations of the present law regarding the National Archive’s County Departments should also be applied to the Bucharest Department.
Appendices no. 1 to 6 form an integral part of the present law.
The present law repeals the decision no. 472/1971 regarding the National Archive Fund of the Socialist Republic of Romania, with the subsequent amendments, as well as any other decisions, which violate its provisions.
This law has been approved in the Senate’s meeting of March 4, 1996, under the provisions of art. 74, paragraph (1) of the Romanian Constitution.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
Prof. Univ. Dr. OLIVIU GHERMAN
This law has been approved in the Chamber of Deputies meeting of March 12, 1996, under the provisions of art. 74, paragraph (1) of the Romanian Constitution.
PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
APPENDIX no. 6 at Law No. 16
List of due dates for accessing documents regarding national interests and the citizens’ rights:
- medical documents, in 100 years after their creation;
- civil status documents, in 100 years after their creation;
- personal files, in 75 years after their creation;
- documents regarding a person’s private life, in 40 years after his/her death;
- documents regarding the national security and integrity, in 100 years after their creation;
- documents regarding crimes, in 90 years after their creation;
- documents regarding the foreign policy, in 50 days after their creation;
- documents of private owned companies, in 50 years after their creation;
- fiscal documents, in 50 days after their creation;
- notary and juridical documents, in 90 days after their creation.