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Witness hearing in appeal December 8 process closed

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Hugo Essed, lawyer for the next of kin, speaks to journalists after the hearing.  The witnesses were heard yesterday. 

The December 8 trial will continue on October 31.  Then the convicted/suspects Desi Bouterse, Benny Brondenstein, Iwan Dijksteel, Ernst Gefferie and Stephanus Dendoe are interrogated.  During Wednesday’s hearing, 4 of the 7 witnesses were heard by the suspects and their counsel Irvin Kanhai.  The Public Prosecution Service and the defense have no need to hear more witnesses.  Hugo Essed, lawyer for the next of kin, believes that the witnesses have not added anything new and that a few have actually testified against each other.

John Hardjoprajitno, Ivan Graanoogst, Iwan Dijksteel (also suspect) and Mohamed Said, testified in the case on Wednesday.  Essed sums up that the testimonies did not change the position of the suspects.  “Hardjoprajitno and Graanoogst were not in Fort Zeelandia on December 7 and 8,” he said.  “They’ve said they don’t really know anything so why they were called up is a mystery.”

“Ex-military Dijksteel, summoned by suspect Dendoe, stated that Dendoe was present in the Fort,” continues Essed.  “So Mr. Dendoe just called a witness who testified against him.  The last was Mohammed Said.  He has indicated that he was in the Fort all day on December 8, that he did indeed hear shots at various times. But did not see anything.  Which is not believable.”

Essed states that the testimonies are in favor of the Public Prosecution Service and against the suspects.  “It was not necessary for me.  Nothing new has been added, on the contrary witness statement has been made against Mr Dendoe.”  Kanhai does not want to say what it looks like for his client: “We will see that after the interrogation of the suspects.”

Kanhai explains why the other witnesses were waived: “Because we found ourselves… the witnesses themselves didn’t feel like it either.  So we refrained from that.”  he announces that a witness has died, Cornelis Vrede.  “It was about people from the people’s militia.  But we couldn’t find anyone but the one sitting in the hall.  But we wouldn’t give them up as a witness.  A witness did mention Essed’s name.”

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