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Suriname tribunal backs charges against 1982 massacre suspects

[JURIST] A military tribunal in Suriname [government website, in Dutch] ruled Friday that all suspects involved in a 1982 massacre in Paramaribo must stand trial, including former military dictator Desi Bouterse [backgrounder]. Led by Bouterse, the armed forces seized power in 1982 and then executed 15 prominent citizens accused of plotting against the government. The Suriname military tribunal rejected an effort to dismiss charges against 11 of 26 suspects, and the court can now begin hearing testimony. Bouterse has objected to the charges, saying they are politically motivated. Bouterse, who ruled the tiny South American country until 1987, has accepted political responsibility for the killings but denies personal involvement. AP has more.

In 2005, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [official website], part of the judicial branch of the Organization of American States [official website], ordered the Suriname government to pay $13,000 (USD) to each of the 130 survivors [JURIST report] of a 1986 massacre at the N'djuka Maroon village of Moiwana by Suriname military forces. Bouterse denied reports of soldiers slaughtering innocent villagers, but acknowledged that the military had been looking for "rebel fighters and sympathizers" in the area.

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