Suriname demands secret Dutch documents

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Files held in the Netherlands could hold the key to the truth about Suriname’s 1980 coup and the December Murders of 1982, according to Surinamese Foreign Minister Winston Lackin. Mr Lackin says he will be asking Dutch Foreign Minister Uri for access to the documents.

On Wednesday Suriname passed a controversial amnesty bill which grants President Desi Bouterse immunity from prosecution for any involvement in the murder of 15 opposition lawyers, journalists and union leaders in December 1982. Under the terms of the amnesty, a truth and reconciliation commission is to be established to investigate events surrounding the murders. Mr Lackin says the Dutch files could hold crucial information.

Some theories allege Dutch involvement in the 1980 coup led by Desi Bouterse in the Netherlands’ former colony. Mr Lackin described it as “striking” that the Dutch government should recently have put the documents about Suriname in the 1980s under a 60-year embargo.

Mr Lackin also said he did not expect that Suriname would face international consequences in response to the amnesty law. He said that the fact that the Netherlands has recalled its ambassador was usual diplomatic practice but not a “serious thing”.

President Desi Bouterse welcomed the amnesty, describing it as “a new beginning” for the country. “It is aimed at healing the entire nation,” he said. Mr Bouterse is one of 25 suspects in the case of the murders for which amnesty has been granted.



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