Desi Bouterse disputes any accusations of murder. In the appeal case for the criminal trial that took place on December 8, he was questioned for more than two and a half hours. Five of the trial’s defendants have appealed the jury’s decision. In addition to Bouterse, other people who disagree with their sentencing include Stephanus Dendoe, Ernst Gefferie, Iwan Dijksteel, and Benny Brondenstein. Due to illness, Brondenstein is not present, but his case is still being addressed. Irvin Kanhai is the attorneys for all of the suspects.
According to Bouterse, he did not fire the gun on December 8 and did not murder anyone. He did not specify who did, though. The former army commander added that he did not accept the 15 slain Surinamese’s claim that they attempted to flee. However, he claims that Paul Bhagwandas, who oversaw everything at Fort Zeelandia, provided that report. Bouterse claimed that his only option was to provide the official report to the public.
The trial’s main suspect also said that immediately following his public disclosure of the official report about the escape attempt, he requested that the Attorney General launch a separate inquiry. That document, which was kept in the De Surinaamsche Bank vault, has since vanished.
Bouterse is adamant that he did not order the killings. As is customary with soldiers, there was a script. But it was never in that screenplay that those folks would be killed. Bouterse claimed that he intended to declare the 15 individuals persona non grata and have them removed from the nation. There are even rumors of negotiations with the previous SLM leadership in this regard.
Bouterse emphasized his presence at Fort Zeelandia on December 7 and December 8 when the atrocities occurred once more. He emphasizes that he knows nothing about the murders and was not involved in them because he left the area after 8 p.m. on December 8. However, according to eyewitness reports, shootings had already occurred during the day. Additionally, Bouterse refutes the existence of a firing squad. He has official confirmation in writing that the persons on the run were shot from the person in charge in the fort. According to Bouterse, he was the only political figure at fault.
At 12 o’clock, the session was adjourned, and after the break, the other suspects were questioned.