- The petition received by the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights on
October 8, 1987, according to which:
On June 18, 1987, Edward M. Darmburg was arrested by elements of the Army of Suriname. He was 32 years old, married and the father of two children, ages 3 and 1, respectively. Mr. Darmburg was falsely accused of collaborating with the so-called Jungle Commando. He was taken by the Army to a place called Berg-en-Dal where he was brutally tortured. Thereafter he was forced to dig his own grave and then was summarily executed. This extrajudicial killing constituted a flagrant violation of the right to life as protected in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
In addition, the Darmburg family lost the following possessions when their home was gratuitously burned to the ground:
- Guyana passport, birth certificate, school
- Gold articles.
- Kitchen articles e.g., plates, pots, spoons,
- Furniture articles e.g., chairs, tables, beds, gas
stove, iron, etc.
- Clothing e.g., for children and adults.
- Money e.g., three thousand dollars ($3,000).
- Large tape deck with two (2) speakers.
- Birth certificate for children and all other
- Play articles for children.
- Food for children and adults.
This constitutes a violation of the right to property protected under the same American Declaration.
- Guyana passport, birth certificate, school certificates.
- The transmission of that complaint to the Government of
Suriname in the note of
October 30, 1987, requesting it to provide such information as it
deemed pertinent, as well as any
information that would make it possible to ascertain whether, in
this case, the remedies of
domestic law had been exhausted.
- A copy of the same note and the pertinent parts of the
complaint were also sent to
the Mission of the Government of Suriname to the Organization of
American States on the same
- The communication of October 30, 1987, to the
Government of Suriname was
repeated on February 9, 1988.
- The repetition of the request for information made in the note of February 9, 1988, informed the Government of Suriname that should such information not be provided within a period of thirty (30) days, pursuant to Article 42 of the Regulations, the facts reported would be considered to be true.
That the Government of Suriname did not reply to the
request for information made
by the Commission concerning this case despite an expressed
- That a Resolution was adopted by the Inter-American
Commission on Human
Rights on March 24, 1988, Resolution No 3/88, and duly sent
to the Government of Suriname on
March 30, 1988, granting a 60 day period to inform the Commission
of measures taken to
implement this Resolution.
- That the Resolution was based on Article 42 of the
Article 42. Presumption
The facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been transmitted to the government of the State in reference shall be presumed to be true if, during the maximum period set by the Commission under the provisions of Article 34 paragraph 5, the government has not provided the pertinent information, as long as other evidence does not lead to a different conclusion.
- That the Government of Suriname thereafter sent a note
dated May 19, 1988, to
the Commission regarding the Resolution which stated in pertinent
The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Suriname to the Organization of American States presents his compliments to the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and upon instructions received from the Government of Suriname has the honour to inform the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with reference to the Resolutions concerning cases N´ 9778, 10.116, 10.117, 10.118, 10.119, and 10.124 the following:
The Government of the Republic of Suriname has taken due note of the contents of aforementioned Resolutions and will seriously endeavour to act upon the recommendations contained therein.
Mindful of the gravity of the cases cited, the Government intends to carry out a further investigation into those cases.
The Government is aware, however, that a thorough investigation of alleged violations of human rights, which would have occurred during the internal conflict since July 1986, is a most difficult and time consuming exercise.
The Government is nevertheless determined to do everything within its power to serve the cause of justice.
The Government also intends to carry out its obligations with respect to all victims of human rights abuses.
- The the Commission, thereafter in reply to this note,
advised the Government on
June 9, 1988, inter alia:
On behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, I am pleased to respond to your note of May 1988, in which you inform the Commission that Your Excellency's Government intends to seriously endeavor to act upon the recommendations contained in the Resolutions steaming from Cases 9778, 10.116, 10.117, 10.118, 10.119, and 10.124. Moreover, Your Excellency's statement that the Government intends to carry out a thorough investigation into those cases in order to serve the cause of justice is most heartening.
Because the Commission will be meeting in September of this year and will necessarily have to decide whether to include those Resolutions in its 1987-88 Annual Report, it is very important that the Commission be advised in a timely way of the actions taken by Your Excellency's Government with respect to said cases.
- That the Government, on August 19, 1988, sent the
following note to the
Commission concerning this case:
The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Suriname to the Organization of American States presents his compliments to the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and with reference to the latter's notes concerning Cases 10.115, 10.117, 10.118, 10.119, 10.124, 9820, as well as to the note dated May 19, 1988, has the honour, upon instructions received from the Government of Suriname to further communicate the following.
An inquiry at the proper judicial authorities into the abovementioned cases revealed that no complaints have been filed. Since the Office of the Public Prosecutor has no knowledge of abovementioned cases, it is not possible to provide satisfactory answers to the questions submitted by the Commission.
The information as contained in the notes of the Commission is however not sufficient to enable the Office of the Public Prosecutor to make thorough inquiries into these cases. The Government of Suriname would therefore appreciate being provided with any additional information, which the Commission might have at its disposal and which might facilitate such investigations. Needless to say that this information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
Nevertheless the Office of the Public Prosecutor is attempting to gather information, in order to investigate these alleged violations. In this respect the Government of Suriname would like to state that the continuation of the hostilities in the area, where the alleged violations occurred, is not conducive to an investigation.
- That despite the assurances provided in the foregoing
notes, no further
investigation has been conducted and no further information has
been provided to the Commission
by the Government on this case.
- That the Commission thereafter received testimony
regarding this case during its
on-site visit to Suriname in December of 1988, and that the
testimony effectively corroborates the
original complaint, in particular the arrest, torture, and murder
of Mr. Darmburg and the
destruction of his home and personal property.
- That the Commission was told by the acting Attorney
General of Suriname, during
its December 1988 on-site visit, that the Government was unable
to investigate this matter.
- That the Commission is satisfied that the Government
has failed to make a good
faith effort to investigate the allegations in this case and to
punish those responsible for its
- That it was impossible for the complainants to exhaust domestic remedies in this matter since the authorities that would have been responsible for the investigation, namely the military police, form part of the military establishment accused of the violations in question, and that it can reasonably be deduced that the inaction of military in this and other cases clearly demonstrates an unwillingness to investigate, prosecute, and punish those responsible for the violations.
- To determine to be true the facts denounced in the
communication of October 8,
1987, concerning the killing of Mr. Edward M. Darmburg, on June
- To declare that this constitutes a very serious
violation of the right to life (Article I)
and the right to property (Article XXIII) of the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Man, although it occurred before the democratically elected
civilian Government took office in
- To insist that the Government of Suriname proceed, as
soon as possible, to carry
out an investigation of the event and punish those responsible
therefor with the most severe
penalties established in its domestic legislation.
- To declare that the relatives of the victim are
entitled to fair compensation,
according to law, whereby the Government is responsible for said
- To publish this Resolution in its Annual Report.
- To transmit this Resolution to the Government of Suriname and the petitioner.