EU to impose measures on Suriname over Amnesty Act

(de Ware Tijd) BRUSSELS –The European Union will call Suriname to account on the controversial Amnesty Act and its observance of the constitutional state, NOS learnt from diplomatic sources in Brussels. The EU will soon engage in the so-called Article 8 dialogue with the Surinamese government. In diplomatic circles such a dialogue is referred to as a ‘political debate’, but actually it is a fierce reprimand of the country called to account. Diplomats say this is the toughest measure by the EU before it resorts to sanctions.

According to the Treaty of Cotonou the debates must have a profound and elaborated character, taking place at regular intervals and finally result in tough agreements. A remarkable detail of the European measure is the time when the Surinamese government will be notified. The deadline is 11 May, the same day court martial will reconvene. The judges will then decide whether or not they accept or reject the Amnesty Act. Minister Winston Lackin of Foreign Affairs has already received an official notification.

The Surinamese government is bound by the Treaty of Cotonou to accept invitation for an Article 8-dialogue. It will be the first time ever that the EU engages in such a debate with a country. Sources say that the measure must be seen as a political signal to the Surinamese government that the EU keeps close track of everything regarding the Amnesty Act. The timing of the measure may be explained as support to the court martial judges. Sources in Brussels say that the European ambassador Kopecky will soon travel to Suriname from his station in Georgetown to discuss the current situation with the Surinamese government.  Yesterday American Ambassador John Nay condemned threats to the constitutional state. Earlier the inter-American Court for Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International condemned the controversial Amnesty Act.

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