Suriname December murders case adjourned

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO Lawyers for the suspects in the December murders case have reacted shocked and disappointed over the decision by the court martial to adjourn proceedings. The lawyers had expected the court to declare the Public Prosecutor inadmissible.

‘This decision doesn’t take us anywhere. We surely hadn’t expected this. The court should either have stated that the Public Prosecutor is inadmissible or not inadmissible.’ The lawyers will decide whether or not to appeal the decision.

Jurist Jennifer van Dijk-Silos had also expected court martial to declare Judge-Advocate Roy Elgin inadmissible ending the trial immediately. ‘It caught me by surprise when I heard the decision,’ she says. The jurist thinks that with this decision the stalemate in amnesty issue has only become bigger. The tribunal should have decided whether the Amnesty Act is applicable on this case or not. Van Dijk-Silos cannot understand why the court tested the act against international treaties but failed or dared not do so against the Constitution.

The ball is now back in the Public Prosecutor’s court but their stance is no secret.  ‘You must have guts to take a decision which will turn large portions of society against you. But you have to do your work to the best of your knowledge,’ the jurist said. She wonders if the Public Prosecutor (OM) will respond to the decision by the court martial since the OM’s stance is already known. Irvin Kanhai, the main suspect’s lawyer, thinks the decision is a ‘bad’ one. He too does not understand the instruction to the OM to investigate possible Parliamentary interference.-.

….US considers court martial’s decision well thought-out

BOXEL – The decision by court martial to adjourn proceedings indefinitely is a well thought-out move, says American Ambassador John Nay. Proponents and opponents of the controversial Amnesty Act should seize the opportunity to find a solution which will suit all parties.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), on the other hand, is concerned over the decision. In an issued statement the ICJ expresses its concern of the court’s decision to leave it up to the Public Prosecutor and some unnamed court to decide whether President Bouterse is granted impunity by the adopted Amnesty Act. Nay thinks that society should make the court martial compliments for its wise decision.

Proponents and opponents of the Amnesty Act should be aware that peace and quiet is needed and Suriname needs a peaceful dialogue. It should be clear that both parties love the country and are loyal to it. It is no use to continue to launch accusations towards each other. ‘The ICJ is concerned over the fact that the court martial has decided to withdraw its responsibility in this case,’ says Jeff Handmaker, who attended the trial on behalf of ICJ. ‘Passing this case to the Public Prosecutor without deciding on whether the Amnesty Act is constitutionally allowed  causes a great deal of concern, Handmaker says.  International and Surinamese law allows that victims are satisfied with a fair trial within a reasonable time, but Handmaker now thinks that this will not happen. The ICJ will make a thorough study of the court martial’s decision as soon as it is available.-.


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