Death Penalty Database
(Archived Reports)

Suriname

Information current as of: December 7, 2010

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Suriname (Suriname). [1]

Geographical Region

Latin America (South America). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

Comments.
It seems that only one person has been executed by shooting (firing squad), in 1982, under a very specific decree that has been repealed since then. [5] Surinamese law otherwise provides for executions to take place by hanging. [6]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Suriname, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1893.htm, Nov. 17, 2009.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 61, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009.
[4] Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[5] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 210, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[6] Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.

Country Details

Language(s)

Dutch. [1]

Population

492,829. (2004 census). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

During our research, we were unable to conclusively determine whether anyone is held under sentence of death in Suriname. We found no reports of any death sentences even though the death penalty is retained by statute. A Surinamese journalist reported in a May 2009 article that no sentence of death had been pronounced in Suriname for the past 82 years. [3] This conflicts with the fact that a person was sentenced to death and executed in 1982, but this infamous trial and execution is not considered a judicial execution by present Surinamese authorities and journalists, who report 1927 as the year of the last known execution. [4]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2018 to date

0. [5]

Executions in 2017

0. [6]

Executions in 2016 (last updated on October 17, 2018)

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [13]

Executions in 2009

0. [14]

Executions in 2008

0. [15]

Executions in 2007

0. [16]

Year of Last Known Execution

1982. [17]

The last execution took place on March 13, 1982 and was carried out under a decree introduced two days earlier. This decree empowered military courts to sentence Sergeant Major Wilfred Hawker to death on charges of “attempting to overthrow the military government,” and was rescinded ten days after his execution. [18] This infamous trial and execution is not considered a judicial execution by present Surinamese authorities and journalists, who report 1927 as the year of the last known execution. [19]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Suriname, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1893.htm, Nov. 17, 2009.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Suriname, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1893.htm, Nov. 17, 2009.
[3] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[4] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009; Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 22, para. 123, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003. See also U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 3, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.
[5] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[6] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[7] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[8] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[17] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 61, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009.
[18] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 210, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[19] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009; Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 22, para. 123, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003. See also U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 3, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Premeditated murder [1] and murder to further or facilitate another offense [2] are punishable by death.

Treason.
Various treasonous offenses are punishable by death. These include:
- cooperating with or aiding a foreign power in hostilities against the state; [3]
- attacks against the head of State (a.o. for separatist purposes), a reigning monarch or friendly foreign head of State; [4] and
- “crimes against the security of the state such as attempting to subject the territory of the state to foreign domination.” [5]

Comments.
By December 2010, we were not able to locate complete versions of the penal codes (civil and military) and had to rely on partial statutory sources and secondary sources.

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. From the information we were able to gather by December 2010, it seems that the death penalty is not mandated by the Penal Code. [6] Because we could not find a substantial part of Suriname’s criminal legislation, our answer is not absolutely conclusive. However, Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle do not list Suriname among countries with a mandatory death penalty, [7] and in May 2009, a Surinamese journalist stated that no death sentences had been pronounced in the last 82 years. [8]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Although our research is not absolutely conclusive, we found no statutory evidence of a mandatory death penalty in Suriname.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No individual has been executed in Suriname since 1982. [9]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
When an offense is committed by a minor aged between 16 and 18 years old, the maximum sentence is of 15 years imprisonment. [10] Additionally, Suriname is party to the ICCPR, [11] the Convention on the Rights of the Child [12] and the American Convention on Human Rights, [13] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
Under the Penal Procedure Code, death sentences cannot be carried out on pregnant women. [14] Additionally, Suriname is party to the ICCPR [15] and the American Convention on Human Rights [16] which prohibit the execution of pregnant women.

Intellectually Disabled.
Under Article 55 of the Penal Code, a finding that the offender’s mental faculties are underdeveloped precludes criminal liability. [17]

Mentally Ill.
Under Article 55 of the Penal Code, a finding that the offender was insane at the time of the offense precludes criminal liability. [18]

Elderly.
Suriname is party to the American Convention on Human Rights [19] which prohibits the execution of individuals who were over the age of 70 at the time of the crime.

References

[1] Penal Code of Suriname, art. 349, extracts available on http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.
[2] Penal Code of Suriname, art. 348, extracts available on http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.
[3] Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006.
[4] Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006.
[5] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 210, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[6] Penal Code of Suriname, extracts available on http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010. See for instance arts. 348 and 349; Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 210, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[7] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 279, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[8] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[9] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 61, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009.
[10] Altaafahmad,Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 25, para. 145, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[11] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[12] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants , last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.
[13] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[14] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 25, para. 145, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[15] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[16] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[17] Penal Code of Suriname, art. 55, extracts available on http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.
[18] Penal Code of Suriname, art. 55, extracts available on http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.
[19] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Dec. 28, 1976. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

Yes. [4]

Date of Accession

Dec. 28, 1976. [5]

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Yes. [9]

Date of Accession

Nov. 12, 1987. [10]

Signed?

No. [11]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [12]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Vote

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [13]

Vote

In Favor. [14]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [15]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [16]

Vote

Abstained. [17]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [18]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Against. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [21]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Abstained. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [24]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Against. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[9] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[10] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[11] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[12] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010.
[13] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[14] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[15] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[16] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[17] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[18] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[19] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[20] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[21] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[22] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[23] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[24] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[25] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[26] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[27] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

No. Under Article 9 of the Constitution, everyone has a right to physical, mental and moral integrity [1] and Article 14 guarantees the right to life without providing for any exception, [2] implying that death penalty may be challenged as unconstitutional. In a May 2009 interview, the Surinamese Minister of Justice, a supporter of the abolition of the death penalty in his country, stated that a death sentence could possibly be in conflict with the Constitution. [3]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

Yes. Under Article 106 of the Constitution, laws in force in Suriname do not apply if their application would be incompatible with binding provisions of agreements entered into either before or after the enactment of these laws. [4]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

The last execution took place in 1982 [5] and the previous one more than 50 years before in 1927. [6]

In 2007, Suriname voted against the U.N.G.A. resolution on a moratorium [7] and signed the Note Verbale of dissociation [8] but in 2008 abstained during the vote [9] and did not sign the Note. [10]

The President and government are supporting the abolition of the death penalty in Suriname, but face some popular opposition. [11] However, they have decided to make abolition of the death penalty one of the innovations of the new Penal Code [12] which is under review by the National Assembly. The Council of Ministers drafted a bill regarding the revision of the first part of the Penal Code in May 2009, providing for the abolition of the death penalty and a corresponding increase of the maximum sentence of imprisonment to 30 years. [13] The bill was approved by the National Assembly on June 13, 2009. [14] As of November 17, 2010, the death penalty was still on the books in Suriname, [15] indicating that the revision of the second and third parts of the Penal Code has not yet been completed.

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. In 2007, Suriname voted against the U.N.G.A. resolution on a moratorium [16] and signed the Note Verbale of dissociation. [17] In 2008 Suriname abstained during the vote [18] and did not sign the Note. [19] However, we found no report of an official moratorium.

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

During our research we did not find any significant cases concerning the death penalty in Suriname.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

During our research we did not find any easily accessible source of Surinamese jurisprudence.

What is the clemency process?

Under Article 109 of the Constitution, the President has the right to grant pardons and exercises this right after obtaining the opinion of the judge who pronounced the sentence. [20]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

There is no jury system in Suriname. [21]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Defendants sentenced by the court of first instance have the right to appeal the decision to the High Court of Justice. [22] Subsequently, appeals can be lodged before the Caribbean Court of Justice. [23] Finally, defendants who allege their rights under the American Convention on Human Rights have been violated can petition the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [24]

As of November 2010, we could not locate the Surinamese legislation pertaining to the military penal procedure. According to the U.S. Department of State, “the military courts follow the same rules of procedure as the civil courts” and “there is no appeal from the military to the civil system.” We were unable to ascertain if members of the armed forces accused of a crime, who are said to immediately come under military jurisdiction, have the right to appeal to the High Court of Justice. [25]

References

[1] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.9, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[2] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.14, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[3] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[4] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.106, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[5] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 61, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC, Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General, p. 64, U.N. Doc. E/2010/10, Dec. 18, 2009.
[6] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009; Altaafahmad, Doodstraf een nader beschouwing, Dagblad Suriname, http://www.dbsuriname.com/archief/vrije_tribune/2006/apr06/210406vrijetribune.asp, Apr. 21, 2006; U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 22, para. 123, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003. See also U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 3, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.
[7] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[8] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.
[9] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[10] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[11] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009; Waterkant, Regering gevraagd doodstraf niet te schrappen, http://www.waterkant.net/suriname/2006/06/17/regering-gevraagd-doodstraf-niet-te-schrappen/, Jun. 17, 2006.
[12] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[13] Ministerie van Justitie & Politie, Persbericht 24/09, http://www.juspolsuriname.org/, May 19, 2009.
[14] Mi Bari, Doodstraf geschrapt uit strafwet, http://www.mibari.com/wordpress/2009/06/13/doodstraf-geschrapt-uit-strafwet/, Jun. 13, 2009; Waterkant, Doodstraf definitief uit strafwetgeving Suriname, http://www.waterkant.net/suriname/2009/06/11/doodstraf-definitief-uit-strafwetgeving-suriname/, Jun. 11, 2009.
[15] Information Services of the National Assembly of Suriname, email to DPW, Nov. 17, 2010.
[16] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[17] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.
[18] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[19] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[20] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.109, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[21] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Suriname, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136127.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[22] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 18, para. 83, p. 34, para. 211, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[23] Law of Suriname houdende goedkeuring van de Overeenkomst betreffende de Instelling van het Caraibisch Hof van Justitie, Mar. 10, 2003. See also the website of the Caribbean Court of Justice: http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/default.htm.
[24] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Oct. 7, 2010; Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Decisions and Judgments, http://www.corteidh.or.cr/pais.cfm?id_Pais=11&CFID=770539&CFTOKEN=83148333, last accessed Dec. 5, 2010.
[25] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Suriname, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136127.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

During our research we were not able to ascertain where death-sentenced prisoners are incarcerated. One news article suggests that there have been no legal death sentences since 1927. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

During our research we could not ascertain how many people are sentenced to death in Suriname or where they are incarcerated. One news article suggests that there have been no legal death sentences since 1927. [2] However, the following observations relate to prison conditions as a whole.

Overcrowding is reportedly a serious problem, as are staff shortages and inadequate food provisions. In November 2009, prisoners from the Santo Boma prison also complained of “mistreatment by prison guards, limited ventilation, and a lack of rehabilitation programs.” [3] In a July 2008 report, the Surinamese authorities acknowledged that available facilities for detainees were insufficient and that most locations were overcrowded. They declared that the remedy of this problem was a priority and that measures were being taken, including the renovation of existing facilities and planning of new ones. [4]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

As of November 2010, we could not find any evidence that foreign nationals are currently under sentence of death in Suriname.

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

As of November 2010, we could not find any evidence that foreign nationals are currently under sentence of death in Suriname.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of November 2010, we could not find any evidence that women are currently under sentence of death in Suriname.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

As of November 2010, we could not find any reports that individuals are currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of November 2010, we could not find any reports on the racial/ethnic composition of prisoners on death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Under Article 12 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to legal assistance before the courts. [5] In a 2003 report, the Surinamese authorities declared that “if during a session of the criminal court, it becomes clear that the accused has no attorney and that the State did not provide for one, the judge handling the case will immediately appoint an attorney on behalf of the accused. This is a standard practice of the Judiciary that is aware of the long bureaucratic procedure before an attorney is appointed to an accused.” [6] In the same report, the authorities said that they had adjusted the payments made to the assigned lawyers. [7] However, in a 2005 report, they admitted that lawyers assigned by the Examining Magistrate to juvenile offenders often “do not appear during trial, possibly because of their low remuneration.” [8] Juveniles do not face the death penalty but this statement raises questions as to whether defense attorneys are adequately compensated in all cases.

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Under Article 12 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to legal assistance before the courts. [9] As of November 2010, we could not find any reports on the legal aid system on appeal.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In a 2005 report, the Surinamese authorities admitted that lawyers assigned by the Examining Magistrate to juvenile offenders often “do not appear during trial, possibly because of their low remuneration. In these cases the magistrate has to postpone the trial, and sometimes assign another lawyer to the juvenile.” [10]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

In a 2003 report, the Surinamese authorities acknowledged that at the time, “it [could] be said that cases [were] not brought before the judge within a reasonable time. There [was] a considerable backlog in the processing of criminal and civil cases, which [was] due in part to a serious shortage of judges (…).” [11] In 2010 the U.S. Department of State reported that Suriname had a total of 20 judges and only limited support staff. There was a backlog of cases. [12]

References

[1] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[2] Ivan Cairo, Doodsvonnis kan juridische conflicten brengen, De Ware Tijd, http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=37&id=60127, May 21, 2009.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Dossier Suriname, http://www.amnesty.nl/landen_dossier/5691, last accessed Nov. 22, 2010; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Suriname, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136127.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[4] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Suriname, Replies by the Government of Suriname on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/80/SUR), p. 3, para. 7, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/CO/2/Add.1, Jul. 10, 2008.
[5] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.12, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[6] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 29, para. 172, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[7] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 29, para. 171, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[8] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Second periodic reports of States parties due in 2000, Suriname, p. 50, para. 164, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SUR/2, Nov. 24, 2005.
[9] Constitution of the Republic of Suriname, art.12, 1987, as amended by the law of Apr. 8, 1992.
[10] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 44 Of The Convention, Second periodic reports of States parties due in 2000, Suriname, p. 50, para. 164, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SUR/2, Nov. 24, 2005.
[11] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Second Periodic Report, Suriname, p. 19, para. 91, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/2003/2, Jul. 4, 2003.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Suriname, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136127.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 2004 Concluding Observations regarding Suriname’s compliance with the ICCPR, the U.N. Human Rights Committee noted that the death penalty remained on the statute books for premeditated murder, aggravated murder and treason, and encouraged Suriname to accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and abolish the death penalty. [1]

The Committee made other observations and recommendations of potential relevance to those facing capital charges or investigations: The Committee noted that Suriname was taking measures to investigate and punish police ill-treatment, beatings and sexual abuse of detainees, although it was concerned that such incidents continued to occur. The Committee recommended appropriate human rights training for enforcement personnel and that Suriname continue investigations and prosecutions for ill-treatment in custody. [2] The Surinamese authorities responded in 2008 that a “Complaints Desk” authorized to deal with complaints of ill-treatment of detainees by police officers had been created in 2005. [3] “In instances where the complaints indicated punishable acts, those [had] been prosecuted by the Attorney-General and punishment was imposed by the Criminal Court.” [4] It also stated that “human rights training [had] recently been included in the official training of enforcement personnel and a public prosecutor [had] specifically [been] charged with alleged human rights violations.” [5] The Committee also expressed its concern at the persistence of poor prison conditions and serious overcrowding and identified the backlog in the adjudication of cases encountered by the judicial system as contributing to this situation. [6]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Suriname’s human rights review by the U.N. Human Rights Council through its Universal Periodic Review process will take place in May 2011. [7]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 3, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.
[2] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 3, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.
[3] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Suriname, Replies by the Government of Suriname on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/80/SUR), p. 2, para. 3, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/CO/2/Add.1, Jul. 10, 2008.
[4] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Suriname, Replies by the Government of Suriname on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/80/SUR), p. 2, para. 5, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/CO/2/Add.1, Jul. 10, 2008.
[5] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Suriname, Replies by the Government of Suriname on the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/80/SUR), p. 2, para. 6, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SUR/CO/2/Add.1, Jul. 10, 2008.
[6] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by states parties under article 40 of the covenant, Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee, Suriname, p. 4, para. 15, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/SUR, May 4, 2004.
[7] UPR-info.org, Suriname, http://www.upr-info.org/-Suriname-.html, last accessed Nov. 25, 2010.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

None.

Helpful Reports and Publications

None.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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