Bouterse Decembermurders interview in Suriname/Plea for impunity

Bouterse Decembermurders interview in Suriname/Plea for impunity

zaterdag 8 augustus 2015 13:15

BOUTERSE DECEMBERMURDERS INTERVIEW IN SURINAME/A PLEAFOR IMPUNITY/REACTION ON LOOP NEWS SERVICE

SEE ALSO

http://www.astridessed.nl/bouterse-decembermurders-interview-in-surinameplea-for-impunityreaction-on-loop-news-service/

[Suriname is a country on the north easterncoast of South America.It is a former colony of the Netherlands and also called”Dutch Guyana”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname]
In this comment I will concentrate on the human rightsviolations and ¨(war) crimes, committed during theSurinamese military dictatorship (1980-1987),the short lived trial of one of the worst crimes, the frustrationof this trial and moreoverOn the proposal of historian, writer and journalistSandew Hira (real name Dew Baboeram) to thethe present president D Bouterse, ex dictator andformer chief of the army,head responsible for the military crimes, to makea ´´testimony´´ on the military crimes.Without trial.Just like that.Because I consider this as a serious travesty ofJustice, I wrote some comments on the LoopNews Service, to be read under the Notes.But first a review
At 25th february 1980, a military coup took placein Suriname, overthrowing the corrupt, butdemocratically elected government of primeminister Arron. ¨(1)A National Military Council was formed together witha civil government, but the real power laidby the military, so more and more Surinamebecame a dictatorship. (2)Since the  coup, the military has been guilty of intimidation, oppression and serious human rightsviolations.Politicians of the former parties were arrested on vague grounds andoften mistreated.Colleage soldiers, with who were conflicts, werearrested and detained in bad detention conditions.In march 1982, sergeant Hawker, who had planned a contra coup,was executed without trial, when wounded on his brancard. (3)And in december 1982 15 opponents of the military regime wereexecuted without trial, after been tortured, the socalled ”Decembermurders”(4)As if this were not worse enough, in 1986 the Surinamese armycaused a massacre in the marroon village Moiwana in thecivil war with Bouterse’s rival, R. Brunswijk. (5)This massacre took place under responsibility of Bouterse, whohad been the commander in chief of the army since july 1980and one of the leading military, who committed the coup in 1980. (6)

In 1987 general elections were held after the military regime was weakenedby the suspension of the financial aid from the Netherlandsand general strikes against the military oppression. (7)However, the military stayed an important and powerfulforce in Surinamese society.
Bouterse would stay military commander until 1992.Meanwhile his political party, the NDP was formed  (8), whichgained in the nineties considerable support, promisingsocial measures like better wages, better houses, ahigher allowance for old people and the minimumwages.Honesty demands, that they did what they promisedwhen coming to power. (9)
A bitter pil however was not only that the crimes from the pastwere not brought to Court (because of the still existinggreat power of the military), also former dictatorBouterse became president in 2010. (10)And by the way, in 1999 he was convicted in the Netherlandsin absentia (by not being present at the Court) on the charge of involvement for drugstrafficking to 11 years prison. (11)
However, according to Wikileaks, Bouterse continued thedrugstrafficking until 2006…..(12)
Meantime there were many courageous attempts to bring Bouterse and co suspects to trial for their involvementin the Decembermurders. The Decembermurders trials started, but was frustratedby the passing by the Surinamese parliament of theamnesty law, which only excluded the massacre in maroonvillage Moiwana in 1986. (13)
Bouterse´s party NDP won elections again (due to bribary,intimidation and creating social programs) (14), Boutersewas elected as president for the second time and stillJustice was not done.

At the end, because of the amnesty law, creating impunityfor the Decembermurders suspects, the whole trialstopped. 

PROPOSAL OF SANDEW HIRA TO PRESIDENT BOUTERSE
In this sickening atmosphere, president Bouterse gotanother way out.Historian and journalist Sandew Hira (real name/Dew Baboeram)whose brother, the lawyer John Baboeram, was one ofthe victims of the Decembermurders (15) did a proposalto president Bouterse to make a ´´testimony´´of the crimes in which he had been involved sincethe military coup in 1980. (16)And that would be allNo trialNo verdict
For me, that is unacceptable.It doesn´t involve a stolen bycicle.But warcrimes and crimes against humanity!
Of course Bouterse accepted his way out into impunity (17),Hira went to Suriname and gave a press conference at 3 august,defending his proposal, with reference to the successes ofthe South African Truth and Reconiliation Commission, whichI reject also because of the impunity for serious crimes. (18)And it was no such a great succes anyway, since forexample the family of the murdered Steve Biko rejected the amnesty for his killers, calling the Truth and Reconiliation Commission´´unconstitutional´´ (19)Hira also said, that the testimony of Bouterse would provide”healing” to many people and the country as a whole.However I sincerely doubt that.
When Bouterse is lying [denying his involvement], people, especially the survivorsof the Decembermurders victims, will be frustrated. When he speaks the thruth, fury and frustration will takeplace, since there are no legal consequences.
It’s clear, that the only real solution is a fair and independenttrial of Bouterse and the other suspects [20], so that justicecan be done.Not only for the survivors of the victims, but also forthe country as a whole.
Because only by a trial of serious crimes as happened during themilitary dictatorship in Suriname, Suriname can develop intoa real society, based on justice and human rights.
Justice and truth shall make us free.NO TO IMPUNITYFOR JUSTICE!

Astrid Essed

See under the notes my three comments on the website of Loop News Service.
The first involves my comment on Bouterse’s acceptance ofthe proposal of Hira.The second involves my comment on Hira’s pressconference and his defence of his proposalThe third involves my comment on Theo Para’schallenge to the critics of Hira on himduring the press conference.Theo Para is a yearlong critic ofBouterse and the military regime and I respecthim very much for that.

NOTES

(1)

´´ Indeed, Surinamese politics soon degenerated into ethnic polarisation and corruption, with the NPS using Dutch aid money for partisan purposes. Its leaders were accused of fraud in the 1977 elections, in which Arron won a further term, and the discontent was such that a large chunk of the population fled to the Netherlands, joining the already significant Surinamese community there.´´

WIKIPEDIA DECOLONISATION
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname#Decolonization

SOURCEWIKIPEDIA SURINAME
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname

(2)

WIKIPEDIA1980 SURINAMESE COUP D´ETAT

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980_Surinamese_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

(3)

´´Hawker was injured the next day and was taken to a military hospital. Hawker was arrested in the hospital by Bouterse’s soldiers and taken by stretcher to Fort Zeelandia, where he was summarily tried and condemned to death for treason. Hawker was executed by firing squad before a live Surinamese television broadcast.´´
WIKIPEDIAWILFRED HAWKER
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Hawker

(4)
WIKIPEDIADECEMBERMURDERS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_murders

NJCMDUTCH SECTION OF INTERNATIONAL COMMISSIONOF JURISTS
DUTCH ICJ SECTION PARTICIPATES IN MEMORIALDECEMBERMURDERS IN 1982 IN SURINAME
http://www.njcm.nl/site/english/show/34

(5)

WIKIPEDIAMOIWANA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moiwana

(6)

WIKIPEDIADESI BOUTERSE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9si_Bouterse

(7)

´´The Netherlands condemned the murders strongly and immediately suspended all financial aid to Suriname.´´

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALSURINAME/FAMILIES OF BOUTERSE´S VICTIMSSEEK JUSTICE 30 YEARS ON6 DECEMBER 2012

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2012/12/suriname-families-bouterse-s-victims-seek-justice-years/

(8)

WIKIPEDIANATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (SURINAME)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Democratic_Party_(Suriname)

(9)

´´. However, Bouterse’s five years in office were also characterised by steady economic growth, increased spending on social programmes, and improvements to the country’s infrastructure courtesy of an increase in investment from China.´´

SURINAME/LIKELY SECOND TERM FOR BOUTERSE PRESAGESPOLICY´S CONTINUITY

https://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2015/06/01/likely-second-term-bouterse-presages-policy-continuity/

(10)

WIKIPEDIADESI BOUTERSE PRESIDENT OF SURINAME
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9si_Bouterse#President_of_Suriname

SOURCEWIKIPEDIADESI BOUTERSE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9si_Bouterse

NEW YORK TIMESRETURNED TO POWER, A LEADER CELEBRATES A CHECKERED PAST2 MAY 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/world/americas/03suriname.html?_r=0

(11)

WIKIPEDIA DESI BOUTERSEDRUGTRAFFICKING

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9si_Bouterse#Drug_trafficking

SOURCEWIKIPEDIA DESI BOUTERSE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9si_Bouterse

WIKILEAKSDESI BOUTERSE ANS SHAHEED ROGER KHAN ACTIVITIES

https://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/06/06PARAMARIBO399.html

(12)

´´According to Wikileaks cables released in 2011, Bouterse was active in the drug trade until 2006.´´
ROGER KHAN WAS IN PHONE CONTACT WITH SUR PRESIDENTBOUTERSE IN 2005-2006 DEA RECORDS

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2013/09/22/roger-khan-was-in-phone-contact-with-suriname-pres-bouterse-in-20052006-dea-records/

(13)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALSURINAME AMNESTY LAW THREATENS PRESIDENT´S TRIAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS23 MARCH 2012

https://www.amnesty.nl/nieuwsportaal/pers/suriname-amnesty-law-threatens-presidents-trial-human-rights-violations

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALSURINAME-FAMILIES OF BOUTERSE´S VICTIMSSEEK JUSTICE 30 YEARS ON6 DECEMBER 2012

http://www.amnesty.nl/nieuwsportaal/pers/suriname-families-bouterse-s-victims-seek-justice-30-years

(14)

´´. However, Bouterse’s five years in office were also characterised by steady economic growth, increased spending on social programmes, and improvements to the country’s infrastructure courtesy of an increase in investment from China.´´

SURINAME/LIKELY SECOND TERM FOR BOUTERSE PRESAGESPOLICY´S CONTINUITY

https://maplecroft.com/portfolio/new-analysis/2015/06/01/likely-second-term-bouterse-presages-policy-continuity/

(15)

WIKIPEDIAVICTIMS OF THE DECEMBERMURDERS
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_murders#Victims_of_the_December_murders

SOURCEWIKIPEDIADECEMBERMURDERS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_murders

[16]

”Hira proposed that Bouterse submit to a comprehensive interview with him regarding all political violence he’s been involved in and the decision-making behind it. Hira would like time to research the topic with a team and prepare questions that he will submit to Bouterse prior to the interview. He would then prepare a report on his research and the entirety of Bouterse’s testimony which would be presented to the DNA president and be made available for public download.”
LOOP NEWS SERVICEBOUTERSE AGREES TO COMPREHENSIVE INTERVIEW ON DECEMBER MURDERS

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/bouterse-agrees-comprehensive-interview-december-murders

[17]

LOOP NEWS SERVICEBOUTERSE AGREES TO COMPREHENSIVE INTERVIEW ON DECEMBER MURDERS

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/bouterse-agrees-comprehensive-interview-december-murders

[18]

”Hira says that he is after healing via truth. He believes that legal justice has been pursued for three decades to no result and that there is no indication that this will ever change. For Hira, this interview is an opportunity for a different kind of justice to be realized through truth…………………Regarding the first critique, Hira points to South Africa and how it managed to achieve healing outside the courtroom with a pursuit of truth.
………….”For Hira, it’s worth the chance for the best possible outcome which would provide healing to many people and the country as a whole.”
LOOP NEWS SERVICEHIRA DEFENDS FORGOING LEGAL SYSTEMFOR TRUTH-SEEKING BOUTERSE INTERVIEW

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/hira-defends-forgoing-legal-system-truth-seeking-bouterse-interview

[19]

”A 1998 study by South Africa’s Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation & the Khulumani Support Group,[11][12] which surveyed several hundred victims of human-rights abuse during the Apartheid era, found that most felt that the TRC had failed to achieve reconciliation between the black and white communities. Most believed that justice was a prerequisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it, and that the TRC had been weighted in favour of the perpetrators of abuse.[13][14]” ……..………”Among the highest-profile of these objections were the criticisms levelled by the family of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was killed by the security police, and whose story was featured in the film Cry Freedom.[17] Biko’s family described the TRC as a “vehicle for political expediency”, which “robbed” them of their right to justice.[18] The family opposed amnesty for his killers on these grounds and brought a legal action in South Africa’s highest court, arguing that the TRC was unconstitutional.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa)#Criticisms  SOURCE WIKIPEDIATRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION SOUTH AFRICA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa)

[20]

WIKIPEDIADECEMBERMURDERSTHE SUSPECTS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_murders#The_suspects

SOURCEWIKIPEDIADECEMBERMURDERS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_murders

MY COMMENTS ON NEW LOOP SERVICE

COMMENT 1

LOOP NEWS SERVICEBOUTERSE AGREES TO COMPREHENSIVE INTERVIEW ON DECEMBER MURDERS

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/bouterse-agrees-comprehensive-interview-december-murders

Astrid Essed • BOUTERSE/HIRA DECEMBERMURDERS INTERVIEW/A PLEA
FOR IMPUNITY
Of course present president D. Bouterse, ex dictator and former
chief commander of the Surinamesearmy, accept the proposal
of Sandew Hira to make a ´´testimony´´ of the violence in
which he was involved during his dictatorship (1980-1987) after
committing a military coup at 25th februari 1980.
That´s the way out for him to impunity, since it only
implies his ´´testimony´´.
Nothing more.
Now a trial is at the moment impossible anyway, since
under Bouterse´s political influence the amnestylaw passed
Surinamese parliament (except for the massmurder in marroon
village Moiwana)
Put the Bouterse propaganda aside (wanted to create a better
Suriname) and look at the facts
During the period of the dictatorship , serious human rights violations
,warcrimes and
crimes against humanity took place, for which Bouterse c.s. bear
responsibility, Bouterse being chief commander of the
Surinamese army.
To mention some (the list is longer)
The execution
without trial and wounded on his brancard, of alleged
contra coupist sergeant Hawker (march 1982), the December
murders (december 1982) and the massmurder by the Surinamese army
in the marroon
village Moiwana (1986) during the civil war between dictator
and army chief D. Bouterse and R. Brunswijk, chief of the
Jungle Commando.It is clear, that dealing with those serious crime can
only on one way
In the Courtroom, in a fair and independent trial.Any other way/´´Truth and Reconciliation Commissions´´,
and ´´testimonies´´ like Hira propose, leads to impunity
and are therefore travesties of Justice.Not only no Justice is done, when Bouterse c.s. get away like
this, also Suriname as a country can´t develop into
a society of Justice.JUSTICE and truth will make us free.
NO IMPUNITY TO (WAR) CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST
HUMANITYAstrid Essed/Amsterdam/The Netherlands

COMMENT 2

LOOP NEWS SERVICEHIRA DEFENDS FORGOING LEGAL SYSTEMFOR TRUTH-SEEKING BOUTERSE INTERVIEW

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/hira-defends-forgoing-legal-system-truth-seeking-bouterse-interview

Astrid Essed
BOUTERSE/HIRA DECEMBERMURDERS INTERVIEW/A PLEA
FOR IMPUNITY
With all due respect for mr Hira´s personal tragedy, I strongly
oppose his proposal to the present president D. Bouterse, ex dictator
and former chief commander of the Surinamese army, to make
a ´´testimony´´ about the violence in which he was involved during
his military dictatorship (1980-1987) after committing a military
coup at 25th february 1980.
During this period, serious human rights violations, warcrimes and
crimes against humanity took place, for which Bouterse c.s. bear
responsibility.
To mention some (the list is longer)
The execution
without trial and wounded on his brancard, of alleged
contra coupist sergeant Hawker (march 1982), the December
murders (december 1982) and the massmurder by the Surinamese army
in the marroon
village Moiwana (1986) during the civil war between dictator
and army chief D. Bouterse and R. Brunswijk, chief of the
Jungle Commando.
There was a Decembermurders .
However, it was stopped after
the installation of the amnestylaw, giving Bouterse c.s. amnesty 
(except for the mass murder in marroon village Moiwana)
This was a serious travesty of Justice.
So is the proposal of Hira, because such serious crimes demand
a trial.The argument of Hira, that wounds will be healed by this testimony is not
valid
The very fact that there will be no trial, but only a ´´testimony´´ about
those horrendous crimes, will be experienced as a great injustice.
And with reason, since Bouterse will go his way easily with that.
Hira´s argument about the South African Truth and Reconciliation
Commission is not valid eitherFirstly is what Hira proposes-a ´´testimony´´- far lesser than a Truth Commission,
which implies a public hearing and confrontation with victims or
survivors.
Secondly the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa was not that succesfull as it seemed.For example the family of the murdered anti apartheid activist Steve
Biko rejected the amnesty for his killers and called
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ´´unconstitutional´´But most important
´´Testimonies´´ and ´´Truth and Reconciliation Commissions´´ are
no Justice, because there is no trial and no verdict.This is unacceptable when it involves serious crimes as warcrimes
and crimes against humanity.
Why a ´´normal´´ Surinamese thief is faced with a charge and verdict,
when the president gets away with a ´´testimony´´ about warcrimes
and crimes against humanity.Only a fair and independent trial of serious crimes
like those committed during the Surinamese dictatorship of
D. Bouterse is justice and can make Suriname develop towards
a society of Justice.Mr Hira says, that the truth shall make us free.But he has forgotten something.JUSTICE and thuth will make us free.NO IMPUNITY
JUSTICE FOR ALL THE VICTIMS DURING THE DICTATORSHIP OF
BOUTERSE C.S.Astrid Essed/Amsterdam/The Netherlands

COMMENT 3

LOOP NEWS SERVICE
PARA CHALLENGES HIRA ON BOUTERSE INTERVIEW

http://www.loopsuriname.com/content/para-challenges-hira-bouterse-interview

Astrid Essed • BOUTERSE DECEMBER MURDERS INTERVIEW/A PLEA
FOR IMPUNITY
I agree with Theo Para about his assumption, that Sandew Hira´s
proposal to president Bouterse to give a ´´testimony´´ about the 
Decembermurders and the other violence in which he was involved
from the military coup in 1980, is not a spontaneous act, but stems
from earlier contacts with mr Linscheer, confidant of mr Bouterse and
chief National Security.
Hira himself admitted the earlier contacts with Linscheer in his press
conference at 3th of august.
However, more important is the fact, that the proposal of Hira
that Bouterse should make a testimony about his involvement with
the crimes during his dictatorship (from 1980 untill 1987′) is a travesty of
justice, since it is a plea for impunity.
Because the testimony is all there is
No judicial prosecution, which is impossible anyway since
the installation of the amnesty law in 2012.
During the military dictatorship, under the head responsibility
of former chief of the Surinamese army, ex dictator and present
president D. Bouterse, many human rights violations,
warcrimes and crimes against humanity took place.
I mention among else (the list is longer) the execution
without trial and wounded on his brancard, of alleged
contra coupist sergeant Hawker (march 1982), the December
murders (december 1982) and the massmurder by the Surinamese army
in the marroon
village Moiwana (1986) during the civil war between dictator
and army chief D. Bouterse and R. Brunswijk, chief of the
Jungle Commando.
Either a ´´testimony´´ of those crimes, or a ´´Truth and Reconciliation
Commssion´´ is a solution, because they both imply impunity.
No trial, no verdict.
Not only that is no justice, also a blow to the development
of Suriname towards a society of Justice.Because there is no logic, why a Surinamese suspect of
theft or murder is going to trial and convicted, but D. Bouterse
c.s., suspects of human rights violations, warcrimes and
crimes against humanity are making some ´´testimonies´´
or doing penance for a ´´Truth and Reconciliation commission´´
and go their way, without any trial or verdict.A fair trial according to international standards is the only way.
Only then a sinister chapter of the Surinamese history can
be closed and justice is done.JUSTICE and truth shall make us free.Astrid Essed/Amsterdam/The Netherlands

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