Suriname MP fears unrest if Bouterse is convicted

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – A possible conviction of Desi Bouterse, main suspect in the ‘December murders’, will create much unrest in Suriname, and that is why amnesty should be granted for these crimes, so the current positive economic developments may continue, Theo Vishnudatt (MC/NDP), chairman of the reporting committee, told Parliament yesterday.

The legislative body had started public debates on amending the 1989 Amnesty Act. Opposition members Guno Castelen and Winston Jessurun (Nieuw Font, NF) considered these statements a threat and urged Vishnudatt to explain himself. In his speech as reporting committee member, Radjkoemar Randjietsing (NF/VHP) reminded Parliament that is was the proposed amendment that has created much unrest and uncertainty in the past two weeks. He pointed out that at the moment there is no basis to grant amnesty to persons. The reasons he mentioned for this included the absence of a war situation and the fact that law and order and legal protections are not in danger. He also concludes that this involves no higher state interests, but narrow personal ones. “Since the community has learned of this proposal, much fear and unrest have been created”, the NF fraction leader said.

He claims possible amnesty will mean a violation of the rule of law. Vishnudatt argued that passage of the amendment will restore order and calm in the country, as well as the unity needed for economic development. Randjietsing countered by asking what unity has been broken that it needed restoration through violation of the rule of law.  He also questioned alleged thwarting of developments by the trial for the human rights violations on 8 December 1982. The legislator argued that on the contrary currently there are all possible options for impartial investigation, prosecution and conviction of all crimes. Democracy has been restored, calm and order has been created, and the Constitution is in force, so the legislative and executive branch can function normally, Randjietsing stated.



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