PARAMARIBO, SURINAME, CMC – A military court has denied a request to dismiss a case in which President Desi Bouterse and several others are implicated in the deaths of 15 prominent people who were opposed to the then military government in Suriname in 1982.
The Military Court is reported to have delivered its verdict last week when it met behind closed doors, according to the Suriname based website, devsur.com
It said that attorney Irwin Kanhai had submitted the request on behalf of three of the accused.
The trial was due to restart last December, but the Prosecutor's Office announced that it was awaiting a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the Amnesty Law which was recently passed by the Parliament.
The trial had been halted in May after the National Assembly approved the controversial law that could pardon all the suspects in the December 1982 murders. It has been criticised by civil and non government organisations as well as human rights groups including Amnesty International.
Bouterse and 24 others are accused of the murder of 15 prominent citizens more than 30 years ago. The men were political opponents of Bouterse, who was then the military leader of the country. The trial began in November 2007.
Last month, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said it was concerned at the ongoing delay in the resumption of the trial and that that it was dissatisfied with the continued uncertainty on the applicability of the Amnesty Law that could threaten the status of the trial.
Bouterse has repeatedly denied being present at Fort Zeelandia when the detainees were shot. He led a military government in Suriname from 1980 until 1987 and again from 1990 to 1991, but in 2010, he won the general election becoming the country’s ninth president and the fifth to be democratically elected.