dinsdag 15 augustus 2017

OHCHR: 'Staat moet onafhankelijkheid rechterlijke macht in Suriname waarborgen'

'Ik ben bezorgd dat er herhaalde pogingen zijn ondernomen om het 8 decemberproces te beïnvloeden of te vertragen'

De onafhankelijkheid van de rechterlijke macht in Suriname moet door de staat worden gewaarborgd, zegt Diego García-Sayán (zie foto - Bron: OHCHR), Speciaal VN-rapporteur inzake onafhankelijkheid van de rechterlijke macht, aldus een vandaag, dinsdag 15 augustus 2017, uitgebracht persbericht (zie onderaan) door het OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) in Genève, Zwitserland. Dit naar aanleiding van de bezorgdheid over de recente ontwikkelingen omtrent het 8 Decembermoordenstrafproces. 

García-Sayán veroordeelt de bedreigingen tegen de rechterlijke onafhankelijkheid en de herhaalde vertragingen in de strafzaak tegen ex-legerleider Desi Bouterse, nu president van Suriname. De toenmalige bevelhebber staat met een aantal anderen terecht voor de moord in 1982 van 15 critici van het toenmalige militair bewind.

'Ik ben bezorgd dat er herhaalde pogingen zijn ondernomen om het proces te beïnvloeden of te vertragen', zegt García-Sayán, wiens speciaal mandaat betrekking heeft op de rechterlijke onafhankelijkheid.

De behandeling voor de rechter begon in 2007, 25 jaar na de moorden. Aanvankelijk stonden 25 personen op de verdachtenlijst van wie enkele intussen zijn overleden. Eind juni is tegen enkele verdachte gevangenisstraf gevorderd door het Openbaar Ministerie en vrijspraak voor enkele anderen. De behandeling wordt in oktober hervat.

In april 2012 heeft De Nationale Assemblee middels een wet amnestie verleend aan de verdachten. De rechtbank verklaarde deze wet echter niet van toepassing en zette de behandeling van de strafzaak voort, ook mede op basis van indringende instructies van het Hof van Justitie, nadat door het rechtscollege diverse beroepszaken werden behandeld. 

'Het is de plicht van de Staat om de onafhankelijkheid van de rechterlijke macht te respecteren en te waarborgen door de rechters in staat te stellen zaken onpartijdig beslissingen te nemen, zonder enige onjuiste invloed, druk, bedreigingen of inmenging door de uitvoerende of de wetgevende macht', aldus García-Sayán. 'De onafhankelijkheid van de rechterlijke macht, zoals vastgelegd in de Grondwet van Suriname, evenals in diverse internationale mensenrechteninstrumenten, moet door de staat worden gewaarborgd, met name bij de aanpak van ernstige mensenrechtenschendingen.'


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Suriname must respect judicial independence over president’s trial, UN expert urges

GENEVA (15 August 2017) – The independence of the judiciary in Suriname must be guaranteed by the State, the United Nations human rights expert on the independence of judges and lawyers has said, amid concerns over a long-running murder case in which the country’s president stands accused.
Special Rapporteur Diego García-Sayán condemned the threats to judicial independence and the repeated delays which have dogged the case against President Desiré Delano Bouterse.

President Bouterse is among the defendants standing trial for allegedly murdering 15 political opponents in 1982 in a case known as the “December murders”.

“I am concerned that there have been repeated attempts to interfere with or delay the trial,” said Mr. García-Sayán, whose specialist mandate deals with judicial independence.

The trial process began in 2007 – 25years after the murders – with President Bouterse among the 25 defendants.

But in 2012 the country’s parliament granted amnesty to all the accused after changing the law in order to do so.

“It is the State’s duty to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary, by allowing judges to decide cases impartially, without any improper influence, pressure, threats or interference, by either the executive or the legislative branch.”

He added: “The independence of the judiciary, as enshrined in the Constitution of Suriname, as well as in several international human rights instruments, must be guaranteed by the State, particularly when dealing with serious human rights violations.”

The Military Court in charge of the trial later found the Amnesty law unconstitutional and ordered the proceedings to start again.

Mr. García-Sayán praised this decision, highlighting that amnesty measures could not be applied under international law unless States had met their obligations to investigate crimes and punish those responsible.

“A failure to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of human rights violations would be in breach of international law instruments,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“The absence of a fair and expeditious trial of the 1982 murders would also endanger the victims and their families’ right to truth, as well as the general fight against impunity in the region and globally,” he added.

President Bouterse has previously labelled the trial as a threat to national security.

Mr. Diego García-Sayán (Peru) has been Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers since December 2016.  As Special Rapporteur, Mr. García-Sayán is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page: Suriname

Mr. Diego García-Sayán was appointed Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in December 2016. Mr. García-Sayán was a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for two consecutive terms. During his tenure, he was elected Vice-President of the Court (2008-2009) and President of the Court for two consecutive terms (2009-2013). Some of the significant achievements of his 4-year Presidency include having increased the Court’s efficiency (32% of the rulings since the Court’s inception in 1979 occurred during this 4-year period), boosting the organization’s income by over 50% in order to fund its budget, and holding the first public hearing of the Court in a CARICOM Country (Barbados). During this period the Court issued several landmark rulings related to women’s rights in contexts of violence, discrimination, and access to public information, among others.
Mr. García-Sayán has broad experience working for multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Among other, he was: Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Peace Agreements at El Salvador and for the subsequent verification of the agreements reporting directly to the Security Council; member and Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances during several years; member of the Redesign Panel on the United Nations System of Administration of Justice, appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2006; Head of the Electoral Mission of the Organisation of American States (OAs) in Guatemala during the general elections (2007).
Mr. García-Sayán was Minister of Justice during the democratic transition in Peru and Minister of Foreign Affairs proposing and promoting the Inter-American Democratic Charter adopted on 11 September 2001 by the General Assembly of the OAS which he presided. He was also President of the High Level Commission to design and implement the Museum of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion in Peru, inaugurated in December 2015.
Mr. García-Sayán successfully performed public roles in critical situations demonstrating his ability to identify strategic issues and lead change and democratic transition processes in complex contexts such as internal conflicts and authoritarian regimes. He is the author of several books on international law and development. Finally, he has experience in high level diplomatic and policy negotiations on international peace, security and inclusive development.

(De Surinaamse Krant/OHCHR/de Ware Tijd)


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