Suriname Amnesty act ready for public debate

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – During Friday’s closed session of Parliament, it was decided to include the views of the Nieuw Front on amending the 1989 Amnesty Act in the final report of the reporting committee. De Ware Tijd learned that the expected fierce debate failed to occur. In contrast to last week Friday, the Nieuw Front fraction participated in the debate as usual. The committee reported on the preparations since the proposal was introduced last week Monday with the subsequent appointment of the committee the following day. In recent days, the reporters, except the Nieuw Front representatives, have informed social groups about the amendment. The Nieuw Front held its own round of consultations. Parliament was informed on Friday that the proposal was sufficiently prepared and is ready for public debate. Public sessions will most likely be convened for today. A previous attempt to debate the proposal last week Friday stalled because opposition and coalition partners Pertjajah Luhur (PL) and Nieuw Suriname did not provide quorum. PL chairman Paul Somohardjo, who was in Indonesia at the time, had requested to postpone the debate until he had returned to Suriname and had consulted his party’s structures. When his request was ignored, he instructed the PL parliamentarians not to attend the session. Somohardjo returned earlier this week and was authorized by the structures to support the controversial amendment. Meanwhile, the Trade and Industry Association Suriname (VSB) has sent a letter about the amnesty issue to Speaker of Parliament Jennifer Geerlings-Simons and all faction leaders. The letter states the VSB advocates that actions and rulings by the judiciary ought to be allowed without any outside intervention and should be respected. Any intervention in cases already being tried in courts must be avoided. “Each actual or apparent infringement on this principle should thus be considered unlawful and a violation of the principles of our democratic state”, the business organization writes. The VSB believes both the proposal and the existing 1989 Amnesty Act are “in violation of the above and the basic principle that enforcing the rule of law and protection under the law are among the fundamental conditions for sustainable individual and social development”.


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