DNA testing has confirmed that the remains in a grave in Bucharest are those of the Romanian dictator Nikolae Ceausescu and of his wife Elena. The family and many Romanians had questioned whether the grave-site in the Ghencea military cemetery in Bucharest really belonged to the Ceausescu and Elena.

Before his death, Ceausescu ruled for 25 years. He and his wife were executed following a revolution which killed over 1000 people. The couple was then tried in 1989 in a court of military justice and was executed by gunshot. The couples’ bodies, punctured with multiple bullet holes, where then shown on national television. The Romanian revolution, which resulted in the collapse of the Ceausescu regime, is considered to be the goriest revolution of those that followed the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. The death toll estimates are somewhere between several hundred to several thousands.

Valentin Ceausescu, the dictator’s son, is glad that the DNA test results have proved his parents are buried in the grave; for many years, he has steered clear of it as he had no conclusive confirmation that the remains were those of his parents. Now he wished to have the remains buried in graves so as to have Elena and Nikolae Ceausescu buried next to each other.

The team of forensic experts employed to exhume the corpses worked in a very timely manner- all was done with just two hours. At dawn, they opened the graves and took the necessary DNA samples from Elena and Nikolae and then re-buried the bodies.

The couple had other children beside Valentine. However, only one of the three today survives. Zoia Ceausescu, their daughter, died of cancer; she had originally tried suing the defense ministry in 2005 but died before the case could come to an end. Her brother, Valentin, took up her case. Another brother, Nicu, died of liver cirrhosis in 1996.

Genetic analysis means the remaining relatives can now return to the grave site knowing that the remains inside are those of Nikolae Ceausescu and of his wife Elena.