Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse says he doesn’t understand the commotion surrounding the so-called 1982 December murders of 15 opponents of the military regime led by Mr Bouterse, then army commander.
The past years have witnessed many other deaths, Mr Bouterse says: “We sympathise with all survivors, but soldiers and police officers have been killed too. Don’t they have wives and children too?”
Mr Bouterse is currently being tried for the murders but parliament recently passed a law that grants him amnesty. The move prompted international outrage and the Netherlands suspended its financial aid in response.
Mr Bouterse made the remarks on Saturday evening in the capital Paramaribo during a so-called reconciliation and unity meeting attended by several thousand people. The gathering was organised by the country’s three government parties. In his speech Mr Bouterse spoke of forces that try to destabilise Suriname and provide misleading information. Observers say the president was alluding to the Netherlands, the country’s former colonial ruler, and Surinamese nationals living in the Netherlands.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide