Netherlands concerned over developments in Suriname's December-murders case

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The Netherlands is very concerned about developments in Suriname, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday in response toe Surinamese President Desi Bouterse stopping the trial on the December-murders, the Volkskrant reports.

"The Netherlands stresses again the urgent importance of the obligation that Suriname has to investigate human rights abuses and bring perpetrators to justice", the Ministry said.

On Wednesday Bouterse blocked the resumption of the December murder process, in which he is a prime suspect. He called on Article 148 in the Surinamese Constitution, which states that the president can stop the prosecution of a suspect "in the interest of state security in concrete cases"

Lawyers disagree what this means for the case. The Surinamese court-martial in Paramaribo was set to hold a hearing in the case on Thursday. The Military Auditor (prosecutor) was to demand sentencing in the December murders case. If the hearing goes through, it is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local time.

Harish Monorath, the dean of the Suriname Bar Association, thinks that the President's order means an end to the case, AD reports. According to him, there's nothing more the court-martial can do. Hugo Essed, the lawyer representing the families of the victims, believes the court-martial can continue as planned because the president only gave the order to the Attorney General.

The December-murders process revolves around the murder of 15 prominent Surinamese in December 1982. The process has been suspended four for years after the Suriname parliament accepted an amnesty law in 2012 that let the suspects go free, according to Het Parool. In December last year, the Court of Justice ruled that Bouterse must be tried.