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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 12, 2024: Former Surinamese President Desiré Delano Bouterse, along with six former Surinamese military officials, namely Benny Brondenstein, Stephanus Marinus Dendoe, Iwan Dijksteel, Ernst Gefferie, Kenneth Kempes, and Lucien Lewis, have been designated by the United States today as ineligible of entering the country.

desi-bouterse
FLASH BACK: Suriname’s former president (2010-2020) Desi Bouterse walks next to a body guard while leaving the High Court of Justice after a hearing in his appeals case in the December 8, 1982 murders, in Paramaribo on January 31, 2023. (Photo by RANU ABHELAKH/AFP via Getty Images)

This designation, pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, stems from their involvement in gross violations of human rights, specifically in relation to the “December Murders” of 1982, which included extrajudicial killings of political opponents.

As a result of this designation, these individuals, along with four of their family members, are generally prohibited from entering the United States.

In announcing these designations, the United States acknowledged Suriname’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, including efforts to maintain judicial independence and address official impunity. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has emphasized the importance of ending impunity as a means to prevent future abuses. The robustness of Suriname’s judicial institutions underscores the significance of the rule of law in safeguarding democracy and upholding human rights.

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