Former President of Suriname Desi Bouterse was sentenced to 20 years in prison for complicity in the murder of 15 people on December 8, 1982.
The Court Martial led by President Cynthia Valstein-Montnor found the legal and convincing evidence for murder. The judgment in absentia has thus been confirmed by the Court Martial.
No arrest has been ordered by the Court Martial. Bouterse was not present at the hearing. He called in sick. The session lasted a very short time. No new facts have emerged, the Court Martial concluded. Bouterse had opposed the default judgment.
Military auditor Manro Danning has demanded 20 years in prison in the resistance case, just like in the absentee case. After delivering his indictment at the previous hearing, Counsel Irvin Kanhai made his plea.
This was followed by a reply and a rejoinder and then Bouterse’s last word. The court martial then adjourned the case until today for ruling. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the same composition of judges – Valstein-Montnor, Suzanne Chu and Rewita Chaterpal – on November 29, 2019 .
In his last word , Bouterse said that the former colonizer, the Netherlands, has spared no effort to reverse the ongoing development, and that with an increasing degree of ruthless meanness and escalating violence. The first actions were still aimed at the liquidation of the revolutionary leadership and of him in particular.
He argued that a foreign military invasion should bring about a complete regime change, with the death of several hundred civilians seen as an acceptable inevitability. According to him, there is Dutch influence in the case law against him. During the trial, Bouterse exercised his right to remain silent.
Counsel Irvin Kanhai has previously indicated that he will appeal the verdict. He had expected the earlier verdict to be confirmed today. Appeal cases are heard by the Court of Justice. Kanhai was not personally present at the hearing. An appeal can be lodged within 14 days. (Modified report from Starnieuws)