Suriname amnesty amendment backer says no independent judge at trial

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – “There is absolutely no independent and impartial judge at the December trial. Mark my words,” legislator André Misiekaba (MC/NDP) said yesterday in Parliament during the debate on amending the Amnesty Act. Misiekaba, one of the initiators of the amendment, called the trial a political one intended to damage Desi Bouterse, adding, “Everybody knows the presiding judge of the court-martial was challenged at the start.” He believes this is sufficient reason not to await the verdict, but to grant amnesty to the suspects through the legislature. “The political result is a foregone conclusion, and is not in Suriname’s interest.”

Misiekaba stated that there should be no doubt about the reason for submitting the amendment, and confirmed that it is to prevent President Bouterse from being convicted, as his conviction, given his current position, would be detrimental to the country’s development. He believes the chance Bouterse will be acquitted is small, as the judiciary’s leadership is neither independent nor impartial. Fellow legislator Asiskumar Gajadien (NF/VHP) called Misiekaba’s statements about the judiciary a low point in parliamentary history, while Harish Monorath even urged Misiekaba to take back his words. However, Misiekaba failed to do so.

As a young politician, Misiekaba considers it his responsibility to make an attempt to put an end to the December trial, saying, “I wasn’t there, but I am taking responsibility now to solve this protracted conflict.” He holds it against older politicians that they did little to solve this problem in the past decades. “We’re learning, listening and preparing to take over. It is my turn now”, Misiekaba says, yet he believes the political field is currently too chaotic and order can only be restored by granting amnesty.

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