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Protest against amnesty for President Bouterse

Parliament last Wednesday night approved the controversial legislation providing the amnesty for people accused of human rights violations committed during Bouterse’s two previous stints in power, between 1980 and 1991.

The murder trial will resume on Friday April 13, when military prosecutor Roy Elgin will present his closing argument in the case against Bouterse and four other suspects.

“Let you concerns be heard and participate in the walk”, the organisers said, urging citizens to participate in the march.

Among those organising the event include the Teacher’s Union, the Organization for Justice and Peace, Moiwana Human Rights Organization Suriname, the Committee of Christian Churches, the Inter-religious Council Suriname, C-47 trade union, Staatsolie Workers Organization and RBC Worker’s Union.

They argue that the amnesty is a flagrant violation of the rule of law and a clear attempt to end the ongoing trial.

The international human rights group, Amnesty International, said the law contravenes international law, “which states that amnesties can’t be applied to those responsible for gross human rights violations including extrajudicial executions.

“ Amnesty International has consistently opposed the granting of amnesties to those alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law and gross human rights violations that would preclude the determination of guilt or innocence of the suspect, the establishment of the truth about a crime and the awarding of full reparation to the victims”, the London-based group said.

“Suriname, as all other states, is obliged, under international law, to investigate human rights violations, including crimes under international law. As long as sufficient admissible evidence exists, states are also obliged to prosecute those persons responsible for such violations.

“In case they are found guilty, those persons must be punished with penalties that reflect the gravity of the crimes. These obligations, which in some cases derive from the jus cogens nature of certain prohibitions, are also grounded on conventional international law and customary international law”, Amnesty International added.

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