Prosecutor asks for suspension of December Murders trial

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The Public Prosecution in Suriname wants the trial of the suspects of the December Murders to be suspended indefinitely. In court on Friday, the prosecutor said the case can resume once the Constitutional Court has examined the controversial Amnesty Law.

The suspects in the trial are accused of the extra-judicial killings of 15 opponents of the military regime led by then army commander Desi Bouterse. A fellow suspect told the court a few weeks ago that Bouterse personally killed two of the 15 victims. It was after this revelation that the Amnesty Law was drafted and swiftly passed through parliament.

Bouterse led a coup in Suriname in 1980, five years after the former Dutch colony gained its independence. He was elected president of the South American country in 2010, despite having been sentenced in his absence to 11 years in jail for drug smuggling in the Netherlands.

Last week, the Surinamese parliament voted in favour of the Amnesty Law which has now been ratified by the government. As a result the suspects now on trial will be given amnesty.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has promised international aid to Suriname to set up a truth and reconciliation committee. The decision to set up such a committee was taken during the handling of the controversial law last week in parliament in recognition of the relatives of the victims and opponents of the law. The OAS has a great deal of experience in supervising processes seeking truth and reconciliation.

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