WASHINGTON, CMC :
A leading think thank here has claimed that Surinamese justice is ‘under fire’ following decisions by lawmakers and a judge that stalled a trial to determine the full extent of President Desi Bouterse’s involvement in the murders of political opponents almost 30 years ago.
“In light of the National Assembly’s retroactive Amnesty Act granting immunity to Bouterse and his political henchmen, whether the Public Prosecutor’s office can legally carry on the trial is now uncertain,” said the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) in an analysis.
COHA alleged that the Suriname’s government has reportedly ‘pressured the trial’s judges to bury the case by threatening their safety’. “The act, an affront to justice, is part of a long pattern of abuses by Bouterse and his colleagues,” it alleged.
“Regrettably, the suspension of the trial likely means that the Public Prosecutor’s office will be unable to obtain a guilty verdict against Bouterse,” it added.
COHA suggested the victim’s relatives and the Surinamese nation were being denied justice that has been delayed for the past 30 years and call for stepped up political pressure on Paramaribo to resume the trial.
International human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and the International Commission of Jurists have condemned the decision, described by COHA as an ‘affront to justice’.