The Federalist – Under International Pressure, Norway Reunites Seized Children With Family

Ruth Bodnariu



The Bodnariu family’s ordeal ends, but advocates vow to keep fighting for reforms.

On Friday, June 3, the family website joyously announced the results of those hearings: Barnevernet had finally been forced to drop its case against Marius and Ruth Bodnariu, reaching an agreement to return their children. Because the case was dropped rather than ruled upon, there can be no appeal. After seven long months, Eliana, Naomi, Matthew, and John will finally come home.

While Norway’s defenders might point to this outcome as evidence that its system worked, Peter Costea, a Texas civil rights attorney who donated hundreds of pro bonohours to the case, vehemently disagrees. “The Norwegian system did not work,” he told me. “But for the international pressure on Norway, the children would not be home with their parents today. They would still be where they were back in November. I’m 101 percent certain of that.”

Costea believes the County Social Welfare Board was likely influenced by an international attorney petition recently submitted to Norway’s prime minister. Signed by more than 100 lawyers and law professors from around the world and members of European Parliament, the petition detailed Barnevernet’s “grievous breaches of domestic and international law,” calling on the prime minister to intervene. This created a stir in the Norwegian media and among government leaders.

[…] Ben Oni Ardelean, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). aid he has no intention of letting the matter rest now that the Bodnariu family is reunited, noting “the system is still producing victims.

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