Netherlands to keep Suriname coup files closed

(de Ware Tijd) THE HAGUE – Dutch files from the 1980s will stay closed for the time being, as Foreign Affairs minister Uri Rosenthal has found a way to keep them secret. He considers it a diversionary tactic by Suriname’s government in the framework of the adoption of the Amnesty Act and the 8 December trial.

During Wednesday’s debate on Suriname in the Lower House, Harry van Bommel (SP) and Mariko Peters (Groen Links) asked to make these files public, so the Dutch role in events including the 1980 military coup will be clear. Suriname has also filed a similar request. Van Bommel and Peters were not supported by the other legislators, who believed that no link should be made between making the files public and the Amnesty Act. Peters claims, however, that by keeping the files closed, the Netherlands has made itself vulnerable and has lost credibility. Last year, the Netherlands decided by law to keep the files secret until 2060.

Van Bommel reminded Rosenthal that he has been urging to make the files public for years, but the minister stated in reply that he is willing to inform the Lower House in a separate session about this matter. Hero Brinkman, who forms a one-man fraction, alleged that the “Javanese legislators” who had voted for the Amnesty Act have been bribed. Either Bouterse had made them promises, or they have been bribed, Brinkman claims. He wants the Dutch government to take measures against the Act’s 28 supporters in Parliament personally, as they have participated in state terror. Louis Bontes (PVV) said he has doubts about the vote’s democratic quality, and mentioned legislators Paul Somohardjo and Ronnie Brunswijk. Bontes, a former policeman, said he had experience with many attacks on Somohardjo by Bouterse supporters in the Netherlands. Nine of the Lower House’s eleven fractions participated in this debate.

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