Audiencia Pública sobre Reparaciones y Costas.
Héctor Fix-Zamudio, Presidente
Sonia Picado Sotela, Vicepresidente
Thomas Buergenthal, Juez
Rafael Nieto Navia, Juez
Julio A. Barberis, Juez
Asdrúbal Aguiar-Aranguren, Juez
Antonio A. Cançado Trindade, Juez
Manuel E. Ventura Robles, Secretario
Ana María Reina, Secretaria Adjunta
Por el Gobierno de Suriname
Carlos Vargas Pizarro, Agente
Fred M. Reid, Representante del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Jorge Ross Araya, Abogado-Asesor
Por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
Oliver H. Jackman, Delegado
David J. Padilla, Delegado
Claudio Grossman, Asesor
Se abrió la sesión a las 10:00 horas y se cerró a las 15:30 horas.
EL PRESIDENTE: Se abre esta audiencia pública.
A los fotógrafos y camarógrafos, tres minutos para estar al frente. Después si ustedes quieren, pueden seguir tomando, pero al fondo del salón.
Se abre esta audiencia pública, citada con el objeto de escuchar el parecer de las partes, sobre la oposición hecha por el Gobierno, a algunos de los testigos y expertos, propuestos para declarar por la Comisión Interamericana.
Antes de comenzar, saludo al agente del Gobierno de Suriname, señor Carlos Vargas Pizarro y las personas que están acreditadas, el señor Fred Reid, representante del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y el señor Jorge Ross Araya, abogado asesor. También saludo al señor Oliver Jackman, al señor David Padilla, delegados de la Comisión Interamericana y al señor doctor Claudio Grossman, que es asesor de la misma Comisión.
Daré la palabra al señor agente del Gobierno de Suriname, para que haga su exposición sobre los temas y objetos de esta audiencia.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
Señor Presidente, Ilustres señores jueces. En aplicación del procedimiento establecido en la resolución del señor Presidente, de fecha 19 de junio del presente año, lo estipulado en Artículo 37 del Reglamento de la Corte y la solicitud expresa de la República de Suriname que fue hecha manifiesta de la Honorable Corte en nuestro contra-memorial sobre reparaciones y costas, Suriname procede, en vía oral, a recusar la deposición testimonial que puedan brindar en su calidad de expertos, el día de hoy, los señores Richard Price y Stanley Rensch.
En nuestra defensa escrita, recusamos también el testimonio del doctor Federico Alodi y la doctora Sally Price.
Por no estar presentes las citadas personas, en esta sala, no podemos recusar su deposición testimonial y consecuentemente, solicitamos respetuosamente a la Corte, se tome nota de su no asistencia a esta audiencia.
Como es del conocimiento de los señores jueces, la Comisión solicitó a la Honorable Corte, se admitiera el testimonio del doctor Price, con el fin de avalar una solicitud de indemnización, por un monto de 2 millones de Florines de Suriname, a favor de la tribu Saramaca.
Véase en este sentido, página 19 del Memorial presentado por la Comisión, en cuanto reparaciones y costas.
A criterio de la República de Suriname, la deposición testimonial que pueda brindar tal experto, corresponde, en cuanto a su deposición, a la expresión de meras opiniones, que no pueden considerarse como evidencia, por la razón de que no tiene los conocimientos idóneos para fijar y valorar con precisión y criterio científico de perito actuario, que es lo que requiere la Corte en este momento, el monto de la suma antes solicitada, a saber, 2 millones de Florines de Suriname, con lo cual se pretende reparar el supuesto daño moral sufrido.
Señor Presidente, Ilustrísimos señores jueces, Suriname considera que hemos venido aquí a determinar, en forma científica, el monto de las indemnizaciones que por los daños sufridos, la República de Suriname debe de pagar a los familiares de las víctimas, en el presente caso.
Es por esta razón que hemos recurrido a la ayuda de peritos y expertos, los que, por sus estudios y conocimiento, pueden asesorar a este Honorable Tribunal. Sin embargo, el doctor Price, sin desconocer ni menospreciar su gran experiencia y estupendo curriculum aquí presentado ante la Corte anteriormente, carece de los conocimientos para determinar con precisión científica el monto patrimonial del daño moral, que supuestamente, debe de indemnizarse, a la tribu Saramaca.
Es por esta razón, además, de la extemporaneidad que ya hicimos referencia, en nuestro contra-memorial, durante la fase escrita de este proceso, que recusamos el testimonio del doctor Price.
Asimismo, señor Presidente, Ilustres señores jueces, recusamos el testimonio oral que pueda brindar en esta audiencia, el señor Stanley Rensch, en relación con la determinación, como asimismo literalmente expresó a la Comisión, de la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados en el presente caso.
Señor Presidente, reconocemos como digno de elogio, la lucha que en pro de los derechos humanos en Suriname ha venido desempeñando la organización, a la cual pertenece el señor Stanley Rensch. Sin embargo, ello no nos puede facultar para reconocer, ante esta Corte, la idoneidad del testimonio que pueda brindar el señor Rensch y que ayude a determinar, en última instancia, el monto del daño moral, que supuestamente debería de reconocer la República de Suriname, a los familiares de las víctimas y a la tribu Saramaca.
Es plenamente aceptado que todo daño moral deberá de ser demostrado, vía una serie de pruebas psicológicas, que deberían de hacerse a los supuestos perjudicados, por parte de peritos y expertos en ese campo. En la medida en que toda indemnización por daño moral, resulta principalmente, de los efectos psíquicos que han sufrido los familiares de las víctimas, cuyos derechos humanos han sido violentados.
El testimonio del señor Stanley Rensch no es idóneo, ni aporta nada, en cuanto a la magnitud de los daños morales causados, por cuanto él no es perito psicólogo ni psiquiatra, para determinar la existencia de problemas psicológicos, afectando a los familiares de las víctimas por un lado y a la tribu Saramaca por otro.
Es por esta razón, señor Presidente, Ilustrísimos señores jueces, que recusamos su testimonio, en relación con la deposición que pueda brindar para determinar la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados en el presente caso contencioso.
Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor representante.
Ahora nos dirigimos al señor Oliver Jackman, delegado de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos para que se refiera a los mismos aspectos que ha abordado el señor representante del Gobierno de Suriname.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Thank you Mr. President.
Mr. President, first of all, I thank you for your welcome to the Delegation of the Commission, and I also personally express my great pleasure and honor of appearing before you again, and I'd like to offer a special word of welcome, on behalf of the Commission, to the new Judge, Mr. Justice Aguiar. It's a great pleasure to see him on the bench.
If it may please the Court, first of all, the Government of Suriname has made passing reference to the question of the timeless, or lack of timeliness, of the presentation of the witnesses, but has not condescended to any detail, in establishing their argument on timeliness, it is mentioned in passing, and I would just mention it in passing, because I think that's all it deserves.
The hearing today is a hearing which arose as a result of the decision of this Court, based on the acknowledgment by the Government of Suriname of its responsibility for the violations charged by the Commission, and this is, therefore, by way of being, a separate hearing, and in presenting it's memorandum, in relation to that separate hearing, the Commission, specifically identified a series of witnesses which it requested the Court to be allowed to present. So, there is no question of timeliness, there is no question of prejudice toward the Government of Suriname by any failure, on the part of the Commission, to provide adequate information about both the identity of the witnesses and the scope of the evidence which it was proposed that they should give.
It is argued by the Government of Suriname that neither Doctor Richard Price nor Mr. Stanley Rensch is the proper person to provide the Court with information concerning the moral damages, and other damages, sustained by the Saramaca people as a result of the massacre at Pokigron.
It is the contention of the Commission that the Court is entitled the fullest possible information about the circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of the victims, about the societies from which they come, and in particular, since the memorandum of the Commission stipulates that damage has been done, not merely to the immediate relatives of the victims but also to the very special society from which the victims come, it is only proper that the Commission should present to the Court, evidence to substantiate the concepts which are presented in that memorandum. Dr. Price and Mr. Rensch are ideally suited to provide the Court with this evidence, and the Court is fully qualified to accept, or disregard that evidence as it chooses, and to give that evidence its full and proper weight in the context of the overall question of damages sustained by the nearest and dearest of the victims. But, I think that the most important question which the Court has to decide at this stage of the proceedings is whether the presentation of evidence by these witnesses either takes the Government of Suriname by surprise, and that clearly is not the case, or puts the Government of Suriname in an unfair position, at a disadvantage, vis-a-vis the Commission and vis-a-vis the Representatives of the victims. The question is one of prejudice. Nothing that has been said by the Representative of Suriname this morning indicates any possibility of prejudice, much less any likelihood of prejudice.
The Court is perfectly entitled, at any given moment, to say to the witness, that this evidence is not relevant, or at the conclusion of the evidence, to come to it's own conclusion that the evidence is not relevant. Certainly, I would ask the Court, to immediately dismiss any idea of prejudice and to reject any contention of extemporanity. This means that, Mr. President, in view of the fact that the Commission is advised by an attorney, and a professor who represents the victims themselves, I would ask your permission, if indeed Professor Grossman wishes to add anything, I would ask your permission, for him to make a brief addition to this statement.
I thank you very much, Mr. President.
EL PRESIDENTE: Gracias, doctor Jackman. Ahora preguntaríamos al señor representante de Suriname, si tiene algo que replicar a los argumentos de la Comisión.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Sí, sí quisiéramos hacer una breve intervención.
Señor Presidente, Ilustres señores jueces, Suriname considera que lo que estamos discutiendo en esta audiencia ante la Honorable Corte, es referido a la idoneidad de los testigos recusados. No estamos discutiendo nada respecto a perjuicios causados o no. Consideramos que no son idóneos, por cuanto no pueden aportar nada, en cuanto a los daños morales, supuestos daños morales causados, tanto a los familiares de las víctimas como a la tribu Saramaca.
Señor Presidente, señores jueces, Suriname pudo haber presentado aquí una serie de testigos, que se refirieran a la poca inexistencia total de daños morales. Sin embargo, no creímos conveniente referirnos a eso, o presentar pruebas testimoniales en ese sentido, porque no creemos en la existencia de daños morales, en cuanto a la tribu Saramaca.
Aquí pudimos haber traído personas tan capacitadas como el doctor Price o como el doctor Rensch, para que aportaran su testimonio. Sin embargo, ni era el momento, ni era la intención de Suriname. Vuelvo a insistir, lo que estamos discutiendo aquí, es la idoneidad del doctor Price y el señor Rensch para aportar elementos de juicio que demuestren el daño moral causado tanto a los familiares de las víctimas como a la tribu Saramaca.
No consideramos que sean las personas idóneas que nos puedan ayudar a dilucidar este asunto. Muchas gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: Mr. Jackman.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Mr. President, I would merely say that the arguments of the Commission are in the memorandum which has been presented. The Curriculum Vitae of the two witnesses are available to the Court. It is for the Court to decide whether these are proper persons to present the kind of evidence which is appropriate in this case. As the Court pleases.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora pasaríamos a preguntar a los señores jueces si tienen alguna pregunta que hacer a las partes y le pregunto al señor Juez Cançado Trindade. ÀTiene usted alguna pregunta?
ÀEl señor Juez Barberis? ÀEl señor Juez Buergenthal? ÀEl señor Juez Nieto Navia? ÀA la señora Juez Picado Sotela? Ah, perdón, Àel Juez Aguiar? Yo tampoco tengo ninguna pregunta. Entonces, la Corte se retira a deliberar sobre la oposición de los testigos presentados por la Comisión.
En 20 minutos reanudamos la sesión.
EL PRESIDENTE: Se reanuda la sesión pública. La Corte, después de deliberar sobre las objeciones propuestas por el señor representante del Gobierno de Suriname, llegó a la conclusión de que no son aceptables y por lo tanto, llamaríamos a los testigos de la Comisión. Les haremos llegar oportunamente los fundamentos por escrito, de esta decisión.
Entonces, esta parte de la sesión tendrá por objeto, recibir los testimonios de tres personas, el señor Richard Price, el señor Stanley Rensch por parte de la Comisión y el señor Ramón de Freitas, por parte del Gobierno de Suriname.
Entonces, vamos a pedir al señor Richard Price que comparezca. Sr. Richard Price.
Sí, el señor Ramón de Freitas iba a hablar en holandés, pero hay traducción. Entonces, ellos van a hablar en inglés.
Ruego al testigo manifestar ante la Corte su nombre, nacionalidad, número de documento de identidad y lugar de residencia.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: My name is Richard Price, I'm an American citizen, I reside in Martinique, in the Caribbean. Excuse me, did you ask for the number of my passport? The number of my passport is Z-588-0533.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora ruego al señor Secretario, lea la prevención que hace la Corte a los declarantes.
SR. MANUEL VENTURA: Primero que todo, quiero informar que solamente el testigo que está declarando podrá estar presente en la audiencia. Los demás testigos, deberán permanecer fuera de la sala de sesiones. Los testigos deberán limitarse a contestar, clara y precisamente, la pregunta que se les formula, ajustándose a los hechos o circunstancias que les consten y evitando dar opiniones personales.
Se informa a los declarantes que, de acuerdo con el Artículo 39.2 del Reglamento, los Estados no podrán enjuiciar a las personas que comparezcan ante la Corte por su testimonio, pero la Corte puede solicitar a los Estados que tomen las medidas que su legislación disponga, contra quienes la Corte decida que han violado el Juramento.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora se procede a tomar el juramento al testigo.
ÀJura -o declara solemnemente- con todo honor y con toda conciencia, que dirá la verdad, toda la verdad y nada más que la verdad?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I do.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ruego al señor agente del Gobierno indicar el nombre de la persona que hará el interrogatorio y proceder al mismo. Digo, si usted personalmente, o alguno de sus asesores va a hacer el interrogatorio.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Yo personalmente, señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Entonces la Comisión. Perdón, bueno. Perdón la inexperiencia en esta. Entonces a la Comisión que diga quién hace el interrogatorio y quien va a hacerlo.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Mr. President, with the permission of the Court, I would like to ask Professor Grossman to conduct the interrogation of the witness. Before asking him to do so, I would like to make just a few general comments.
EL PRESIDENTE: Please do.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: First of all, sir, the Commission feels that the documentation which has been presented to the Court sets out, very fully, the basis on which the Commission wishes the Court to proceed, and on which the Commission would wish the Court to examine this matter. Therefore, I have no long statement to make, but I would like to emphasize just a couple of points.
First of all, on page 17 of the Commission's memorandum, in the English version, the following paragraph appears. I quote: "This Court has identified principles of equity, as the basis for indemnification, as to emotional harm". Velásquez Rodríguez Judgment, of July 21, 1989, paragraph 27. If I may quote from paragraph 27 of that Judgment, it is quite brief. "As to emotional harm", this is not a quotation from the Judgment of this Court. "The Court holds that indemnity may be awarded under International Law, and in particular in the case of Human Rights' violations. Indemnification must be based upon the principles of equity". The end of the quotation from the Judgment.
This is the principle, your honors, which is also uphelled in the practice of the European Court. In the case of compensation, the European Court is ruled by Article 50 of their Convention.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, aquí estamos comentando que realmente, no sería relevante todos estos puntos. Digo, ya sé que está tratando de relacionar los dichos del testigo con los puntos que se están examinando, pero en realidad, sería preferible, salvo que usted tenga algún comentario muy breve, que pasemos al interrogatorio.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: As the Court pleases. I thought that it would be helpful in setting the context in which the witnesses are going to appear, to make a few general comments, but the Court is master of its own procedure, and I am certainly in the hands of the Court in this matter.
In that case, if the Court wishes me to proceed in that manner, I would ask Professor Grossman to lead the witness.
EL PRESIDENTE: Please, Professor Grossman.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, could you share with us, please, your educational background?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I was educated at Harvard University as an undergraduate. I spent some time in the Ecolle ......... in Paris, studying Anthropology, and I received my Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard in 1970.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you share with us your expertise on Suriname, and in particularly with the bush-negro of Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Since 1966, I have spent several years in Suriname, particularly with the Saramaka people, who live along the Suriname River. I have written approximately 15 books, and more than 100 articles about Suriname, and I am generally considered, within the academic community, as perhaps the world's expert on the peoples, the maroons and the cimarrones, who live in the interior of Suriname and neighboring French Guyana.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: You are holding currently an academic position?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: My most recent position was as a fellow in the Department of History at Princeton University, this past year, this current year, excuse me.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What about fellowships involving the study of bush-negro and maroons and Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have probably held about 20 different fellowships from organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, The National Institute of Mental Health, the ....... in France, the Organization for Scientific Research of the Netherlands, a number of others, and Fullbright fellowships twice. I've just been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and a generous grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities in the United States for the next two years, beginning this July 1st.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do you speak the language spoken by the Saramakas?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I do.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you share with us what's their language, what's the name of it?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The name of the language is Saramakan. It is a Creole language. That is, it is a language that was formed by the ancestors of the Saramakas in the New World. They were brought as slaves from 40 or 50 different African language groups. They came to Suriname, soon after arriving as slaves. They escaped in small groups, a few times in large rebellions, and they formed a new society and culture in the interior of the country where, for nearly 100 years, they fought a war against the Dutch colonists. In 1762, the Dutch finally sued them for peace and signed a peace treaty with them, giving them their freedom 100 years before slaves in Suriname were emancipated by the Dutch Crown.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you tell us, approximately, how many Saramakas are now living is Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: There are approximately 25,000 Surinamers alive in the world today. There are several hundreds living in the Netherlands, there are probably about 2,000 who are temporarily in French Guyana doing wage labor, who move back and forth to Suriname, primarily men, so that nearly 25,000 Saramakas live in Suriname, in the central part of Suriname, along the same river that runs by Paramaribo, the capital. If you continue all the way up that river, you get to Saramaka territory.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: At this point, I would like to ask the permission of the Court to distribute, the map, and other materials from a book published by Professor Price. I brought copies also for the Honorable Representatives of the Government of Suriname. Por favor.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, claro, entiendo.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: If we go to the third page where you see a map, if we count, we see, one, two, the third page and fourth pages have maps. Professor Price, could you indicate approximately where the Saramakas live and show that to the Court and the Honorable Representatives of the Government of Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, traditional Saramaka territory begins at that point, where the hydroelectric dam is indicated on the second of these two maps.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: If we can see the second of the two maps?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: You see in the center of the picture, there is a lake, and it says hydroelectric dam.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yes, on top of it.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Right. That is the point at which the Saramakas concluded with the Dutch, in the Treaty of 1762, by cutting their wrists and the white Representatives cut their wrists, and they mixed the blood in the calabash and drank it together, because the Saramakas were not literate, and that was the way Saramakas swore with them. From that point up the river.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Up the Suriname River?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Up the Suriname River, past the lake, all the way up, past where the Galio and the Picalio converge, is Saramaka territory, and if you turn back to the previous map, you will see, which indicates only some Saramaka villages. There are in fact, 55 Saramaka Villages along that river, and you can see at the other end of the lake, which is outlined here, the village of Pokigron, which is where the incident that is being tried today took place.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Have you been there?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, I have.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: O.K. Dr. Price, could you share with us the following please? Who earns income in the Saramaka culture. How would you say a Saramaka family supports itself financially?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: May I give just a little bit of historical background?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yes.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: During the wars, in the 18th Century, Saramakas were dependent. Saramaka society, since its very foundation, including those war years, has been dependent upon European manufactured goods, such as, pots, axes, machetes, cloth and also salt and sugar, flour; in other words, during those war years, Saramaka men raided the plantations and stole or liberated those things, depending on your point of view. The 1762 Treaty required the Dutch Crown to give tribute to the Saramakas every year. Those representatives brought boats up to the point that I said was the border with Saramaka, where the hydroelectric dam now stands. They brought large numbers of axes, pots, guns, thread, needles, cloth, all sorts of manufactured goods. And they brought them to the Saramakas, as part of their Treaty agreements, and Saramakas for their part, no longer carded the slave plantations of the coast. And there is on this final page of the xerox. Excuse me, on the pen-ultimate page of the xerox, a chart. It is actually a photo of one of the documents that was signed in 1762, at the Treaty. Excuse me. The list was made on the 16th of September of 1763, and it outlines the goods, with their numbers, brought by the whites, by the Dutch Crown, for each Saramaka village, as part of the Treaty.
Once the slaves were emancipated on the Coast in 1863, Saramaka men were permitted tribute ended. This kind of distribution of goods to the Saramakas ended, and Saramaka men were permitted to come to Coastal Suriname, and Coastal French Guyana, which was a French Colony next door, to work, to earn money in order to buy goods, the same kind of goods that they had received previously in tribute.
In the middle of the 19th Century, every Saramaka men has spent approximately 50% of his adult life outside of Saramaka territory, either in Coastal Suriname, or in Coastal French Guyana, where they go for periods of two, or three or four years, at a time. They save 10 thousand, 15 thousand, 20 thousand dollars, in local currency. They come back to Paramaribo and purchase large quantities of goods.
Today, those would include, outboard motors, gasoline for them, chain saws, cloth, pots, axes, machetes, guns, gunpowder, a number of kinds of food stuffs. They would load a large canoe, or two canoes, and bring them up river, to their Village, where they would then distribute these goods; approximately 50% of what they had earned during those years, would be distributed immediately, to their wives, to their children, to their aunts, to their sisters, to various dependents. The other 50% would be kept by the man, in a house, to be used during the subsequent 3 or 4 years, when they would be living in Saramaka. So, for example, when one of his children or wives of other relatives became ill, and a medicine man needed to be consulted, they would be paid, not in money, but in goods -in lengths of cloth, in bottles of rum. So, Saramakas have, for a 150 years, been used to dealing with money which they earn on the coast and use to buy these necessities of life.
Their economy, to answer more directly Professor Grossman's question, is a dual one. The men cut fields, they cut down forest trees in swidden horticulture, slash and burn horticulture and the men cut down the trees and the women do everything else. The women do all of the planting, all of the weeding, all of the harvesting, and the great bulk of Saramaka food comes from their gardens in which they plant rice, and many other foods, a very large variety of foods, root crops of various sorts, cassava, other tubers, corn and so forth.
Men also hunt and fish, and when a man kills an animal, or makes a large catch of fish, it's always redistributed along kinship lines within the Village.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, is money essential, for the survival of the Saramaka family?
DR. RICHARD PRICE: Since the ending of Tribute from the Government, in the middle of the 19th Century, from moment slaves on the coast were emancipated and Saramakas were free to travel to the coast at will, their lives have been completely dependent upon the ability of men to go out, for periods of several years at a time, earn large sums of money, and then, go back with the goods that money has bought, to be in the Villages. It is an economy, that, since the very beginning (including the war years), was westernized, and was dependent on a large number of western manufacturers.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Until what age, are children supported by the family? Before that even, and I apologize, why don't you share with us something about the structure of the Saramaka family?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Saramaka is a matrilineal society, which means that each person, every child, boy or girl, gets their identity through their mother. The most important relatives for a person are the people to whom he is related, or she is related, through their mother's line, their mother's sisters, their grandparents and their grandmother on that side. The father also plays a very important role in bringing up the children, but legally, the corporate groups that are most important are matrilineal groups.
It is a society in which polygamy is widely practiced, so that men have, most men have, several wives. Every man and every woman has a separate house. People have a house in their own Village, which means their mother's Village, and often, women also have a house in their husband's Village. It is a society which is very much governed by kinship rules and laws, and the matrilineal group is very much of a corporation in a legal sense, as anthropologists think of it, so that, for example, if a man commits a crime, his brother, with the same mother, perhaps his cousin, with his same mother, is held responsible also. And in the Saramaka religious system, if I would kill someone, then, all of my matrilineal descendants forever, would be visited by the vengeance of the ghost of the person who I killed. So, there is a very, very strong sense of family.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Let us go back to my question -the support of children. Until what age are they supported by the family?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Children are supported by the family until they marry, at which time a woman becomes dependent on her husband, more so than on her brothers and other male relatives. Women tend to marry early, at 14, 15, or 16; men a good deal later, usually in the mid 20's.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Who supports the elderly members of the family, aunts, uncles?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Their younger male relatives. Perhaps I shouldn't stress male too much. In terms of food, in terms of eating, the younger women support them, so they are the ones. When an older man or woman is too frail to work, either for a man to go out to the coast and do wage labor, or for a woman too frail to go to the gardens, which are often many hours away from their Villages by canoe, her daughters, younger people would support them. It's a society which reveres its elders. As one gets older, one takes on a moral authority of considerable importance, and in terms of all of the things that money can buy, the support of the elders falls on people's male children, nephews and grandchildren.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: How many years does a man work and earn an income for himself and the family? Usually.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The general pattern during the 20th Century, has been for men to leave for periods of 2 to 4 years at a time, to earn a substantial sum of money, then in a 1 or 2 week period spend all of that money, buying the various goods that I've outlined before, bringing them back for distribution and staying in his Village for another 3 or 4 years before going out for another 3 or 4 years. We have calculated, using many, many life histories of men, older men, that they have spent approximately 50% of their lives earning money to buy these goods and bringing them back.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What would be expected to happen to a family supported by the male relative, if such a working age man were to be ill suddenly? What would be the impact on the family?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In economic terms?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: In economic terms.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: They would suddenly be in dier poverty. In terms of cloth, so that women, the skirts that women wear, don't last very long. They're made of very thin trade cotton and would become rags. Cooking pots, kerosene for fires, for light at night, salt, sugar, flour, tools, such as machetes, and axes, and hoses, which are necessary for farming, wouldn't be there. A woman who does not have a husband or a bother to support her lives very much in poverty and has to do. She is basically at the mercy of her more distant relatives for these kinds of things.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, is it customary for wives to remarry?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Women. It is advantageous for a woman to be married as early as possible and to be married all her life because the primary supporter of a woman is a husband. When a woman is divorced, or if her husband dies, if she gets into her late 20's, which now is 15 years into the married system, it becomes much more difficult for her to find a husband. Saramaka men, at any age, including the 60's and 70's, very much prefer 16 year-old girls and 18 year-old girls. As men get older and more powerful, they, and men who are in their 60's, are able to get young wives, so women who are in their 30's, and certainly older than that, are often alone for the rest of their lives and have very much lower standard of living than women who are married.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Thank you. If it please the Court, I have here a copy of the brief presented by the Commission and I would like to give Dr. Price a copy with the affidavit of the families and, I would ask permission to do so. I don't have copies for the Court or the Honorable Government, we will present them in due time. These are documents that are in your power. It's the official brief presented by the Commission on compensation, with it's appendixes.
(Discussion of page number in the brief).
This is a copy of our brief in English and we would like you to.(Court telling Claudio Grossman to go back and speak into microphone). Dr. Price, I would like you to take a look at the appendixes, to the Commission's brief that includes questionnaires, involving the situation of families whose sons or husbands were killed. You will see the first annex. I won't go through all the annexes in order to avoid time, probably, but I would like you to take a look at annex 5, page number 16, on the, down, it says, questionnaires, and it says on top, DODE, PAD, ACTIONE, DECEMBER 31, 1987. And then it says, general information, name of victim, Aloeboetoe Dedemanu. Did you find that?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have that. O.K.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you read what's the age, time of death?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: 30 years.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you please read there whether Aloeboetoe was married or single?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It says that the man Aloeboetoe had a common law marriage with 3 wives.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you please read the ages of the wives?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Wine Foto it says was 27 years old. Norma was 31 years old, and Asolinda was 30 years old.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: I will ask again, would you find strange and normal that the bush-negro was married to 3 women?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, that's absolutely normal and standard for a man of his age.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you please read the number of children and the ages, please, and their ages.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The number of children are 3. Naotia was 3 years old, Jossie was 2 years old, and Chrisiane was less than 1 year old, if I understand the notation. It says 0 years.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Let us move to the second page of that affidavit. This affidavit with sworn statement, list other dependents. Would you consider reasonable that parents and grandfathers be listed in the Suriname bush-negro culture, as dependents?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Absolutely.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is that something strange, abnormal?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: You will see that it says here, income of the victim at the time of his death. Based on your own experience and knowledge, is being a construction worker in Paramaribo, something that the bush-negro and maroons do in Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: The estimated annual income here is, 21,600 Surinamese Guilders. Do you have any comment to give to the Court and to ask to the Government, in concerning that estimated amount based on your own experience?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Could you repeat the amount?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: 21,600.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, that seems quite reasonable to me.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Why, how do you know that?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Well, I have watched the amounts earned by the Saramaka men, with my own eyes and ears, since the middle 1960's. I've collected a very great deal of data on the amounts earned earlier in the 20th Century by older men. We continue to spend a month or two each year with Saramakas who are actually earning wages in French Guyana now, both in Sanamary and at Kouru at the Center Espacial Guyani, and these figures conformed well with what these men are currently earning.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are there telephones in the Saramaka Villages?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, there are not.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do the Saramaka men use credit cards?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, they do not.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do the Saramaka -do the Banks have houses, offices in Saramaka territory?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you say, since you state here under oath, that there are no banks, no possibilities of receipts, no telephones and no credit cards used by the Saramakas.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: That is correct. I would say that there may be, among the 25,000 Saramakas, several hundred who have moved to the Netherlands, there may be a few in the city who have become educated, there are two or three Saramakas with Ph.D.'s and I would assume that they might have credit cards and so on. But the kinds of people being talked about in this brief would have none of these things.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What's the level of illiteracy in the Saramaka Villages?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: If I may say, historically, the first thing the Saramakas asked for... when the whites came to make peace with them they said, "please send us teachers." The whites did not, and literacy is pretty much confined to about 4,000 Christian Saramakas who live below the dam, in Villages of their own, and who are not an issue in this case. Among these people, there would be very little illiteracy. And I would imagine, if you asked people to sign their names, for example, that many of them would not be able to sign their name, that they would make a mark or something like that. These people are not used to reading and writing. The Suriname Government has only, very sporadically, put schools in the interior.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: How many years did you spend in Saramaka Villages?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I've been physically present in Saramaka Villages between 3 and 4 years of my life, but stretching from 1966 on to the present I've also spent considerable time with Yucas and Allooko maroons, who are their brothers and sisters, who live along other rivers.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you see, when you were in the Saramaka Villages, many receipts, involving payments for issues?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Professor Grossman, I have tried to explain: Saramakas do not read and write; what they do with money that they are very used to handling (when they earn 10 thousand dollars or 20 thousand dollars they go to the city and they buy the same kinds of goods that they've always bought, which they need to live with; pots, for their women to cook in, cloth for their clothes to be made from, for their women to make clothes from, guns to go hunting with, fishhooks to fish with, cartridges to hunt with, machetes to use in doing agriculture, hoses for the same purpose). They also, for the last 20 years, have been buying chain saws, which make the task of tending their gardens, felling trees for their gardens, considerably easier. For the last 20 years they have also been using outboard motors, which have made the trip from Paramaribo to the Villages that are concerned in this brief, they've cut that time from 2 weeks, it used to take 2 weeks to get there 20 years ago, and now it only takes 3 days, or, if you can pay for an airplane, an hour and a half.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, these Saramaka men get money. Do you have some statistics as to alcoholism? How they spend their money? Do they go on a drunken rampage in the city? Do they keep all the money for fun? What's your observation on these matters?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Saramakas are an extremely hard-working, sober people. In Saramaka territory, in Saramaka Villages, I have never ever seen an intoxicated Saramaka, not even one. They buy considerable quantities of rum when they buy the other things they always have, but it's used to pour on the ground in libations to their ancestors. It is not ingested by human beings, it's ingested by ancestors, for whom it is poured, along with water, on the ground. Saramakas do not drink to excess.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: O. K. To avoid time on material damage, I am not going to go one by one on the affidavits, because I think, well, the Court will assess whether we have proven or not, anything, but I would to avoid going through all the statements and taking a look at the annual income, with the permission of the Court, and so forth, and the reasons why you see some similarities on them.
Let me move to other point. You have given testimony so far, Dr. Price, to material issues. Let me now raise a different type of topic.
In the context of the Saramaka culture, what would be the impact of the manner in which the victims were killed, on their families, considering a case like this, where a government, as a matter of fact, has confessed responsibility before this Honorable Court, for the victims that were assaulted, forcibly abducted and forced to dig their own graves, and the families have learned of all of this? What's the impact in terms of pain and suffering, in addition to the material damage?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It would be very difficult to exaggerate the impact of the nature of these deaths on the families and the Villages of the victims. Saramakas classify deaths into several types. When an old person dies, after a long life, it's considered a natural death, and the person is buried with considerable ceremony. Funerals are the major ceremonies, the major public occasions in Saramaka life. They don't celebrate weddings particularly. They don't celebrate sweet-sixteen parties. Funerals are when hundreds, and often thousands, of Saramakas gather to honor the dead and to help in the transition of that newly deceased person into the roll of an ancestor. Ancestors (the dead), play a very important role in the lives of the living, who, if a child becomes ill, will do divination, and often will find that a dead great-grandmother, or a dead grandfather, or some other dead relative, is causing that illness because he, or she, is unhappy about something. It's then necessary to follow rituals to honor that person, to make that child well again.
The process of bringing a living person through a funeral, a newly deceased person through a funeral, into an ancestor, takes about a year. But there are certain cases, which Saramakas call Ogidede, evil deaths, which demand a great deal of expense and a great deal of special ritual efforts. For example, a woman who dies in pregnancy, that's considered a very evil death. A person who drowns in a river, is a very evil death. A person who dies in the forest. Hunting accident, is an evil death. But the very worst possible kind, the most dangerous kind of death for the family and for the Village is a death in war, a death that in some way reminds them of the wars that they fought and won against the white, a death by soldiers. That is the most evil possible kind of death, and in order to cleanse the family and cleanse the Village, very complex rituals have to be done by specialists from other Villages, and it's a kind of stain that can never be removed. It's a very, very serious difference from someone simply dying of natural causes.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is this compounded, or would this be compounded by the fact that the families and the Villages could not get the bodies of those killed?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Very much so. Saramakas' funerals depend on having the physical corps, making a coffin and indeed, carrying that coffin on the heads of two men, something that went on all over Afro-America in colonial times, including the Barbados. The spirit of the deceased is asked questions about the world, about sickness, and other things, and not having the body to bury properly, is a tremendous, tremendous violation of the way the world is supposed to work.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would also this be compounded if a government would not give an explanation, would not investigate or punish those who would be responsible for these deaths? How would this affect the Saramakas, in terms of their pride and dignity?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I think, with your permission, I'll have to again make a historical digression, but I don't think really its a digression.
Saramaka identity as a people. Their sense of what it means to be a Saramaka was forged during a Century of warfare against the colonists. Their religion is based on certain powers. The possibility of curing people who are sick, is based on certain powers that are very closely connected with those years of wars. There are Comantees spirits, which are warrior spirits, that possess people and allow them to cure other people. Those are the same spirits that allow men, Saramaka men, that allow them to be warriors, to be invulnerable to bullets, to make them invulnerable to spears, and bayonets, and machetes, and so on. In the manner in which these young men were killed, which included soldiers humiliating them and torturing them with bayonets, and cutting them up in front of large numbers of other people, is as much of a blow as I can imagine, to what it means to be a man in Saramaka, what it means to be Saramaka.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What happened to the wives and children of those who were killed in these atrocious ways without acknowledging responsibilities, without delivering the bodies, and so forth? From the point of view of pain and suffering?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I could only speculate about what happened to the wives and children because I've not met any of them, I've not been to Suriname since these events. But I can tell you, I can reiterate again, that the kinds of deaths that these men suffered, in Saramaka terms, the kinds of deaths that no one has suffered since the 18th Century, and in the early pages of this little extract from our 1980 book, on pages 2 and 3, there are engravings by William Brake, the great British engraver, based on water colors made by an eye-witness, to the way maroons, the ancestors of the Saramakas, were tortured in Paramaribo during the 1770's. These kinds of deaths, hangings, were, by the way, these were punishments given by the Court in Paramaribo to recaptured Saramakas during the wars. One of them involves hanging a man by a meat hook, the other involves breaking him on the rack, breaking all his bones, cutting off his limbs until he dies. These deaths, that took place in Pokigron, are in the Saramaka perspective, a direct throw-back to those kinds of tortures and deaths committed by the colonists during the 18th Century.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, how many hospitals are in the Saramaka territory?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: There was one facility that was called a hospital at Juno, near the confluence of the Gran Piquillo, which was run by the Moravian Church, with the Suriname Government. I am not sure if it had financial support, but with their cooperation, and that hospital began. It's called the Yaya Dande Hospital. It began operating in the middle of 1960's, until the Suriname Government soldiers cut off Saramaka from the rest of the world in approximately 1986 or '87. There was always a team of Dutch physicians, were present there and a large team of nurses, some from Holland and some from the City. There were also a couple of clinics lower down the river, one of them run by a Dutch physician, Dr. Decker who was there, as far as I remember, from the 1960's until... I don't know whether she is still there... but almost until the present. So the Saramakas became dependent for many things upon those clinics. In the area where we lived during the 1960's, when we first got there, all babies were born at home. By the end of the 1960's, all babies were being born in that hospital and the infant mortality rate had gone way down.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Doctor, thank you. Are there hospitals now?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It is my understanding that those units have been closed.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do you know of psychiatrists or psychologists that practice in the bush in Suriname now, in the Saramaka Villages?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Do you mean western?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Western or not western. Let us say western, western psychologists with Ph.D.'s as you have?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: To my knowledge there has never been a psychiatrist or psychologist there. The kind of medicine practiced in these hospitals was very basic. It was babies, malaria pills, sort of, it did not involve sophisticated methods. It was very general.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you ever meet when you were years in Paramaribo psychologist that would be psychoanalyzing or measuring pain and suffering of Surinamese bush-negros or maroons?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Never?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Never.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are you totally sure you never saw a psychologist or psychiatrist in the bush?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have never met a psychiatrist in Suriname, period.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is it possible this Saramaka territory is readably accessible? You can take a bus on a highway and get there?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Saramaka territory, since the treaty of 1762, has been controlled by the Saramaka Chief, who is called Grandman. For example, when we first wished to seek permission to do a study in Saramaka in 1966, we took a canoe with a Saramaka boatman, and arrived at the first Saramaka Village above the lake, indeed, the Village of Pokigron, the one where these atrocities took place. We then were asked to stay there for 4 days while a canoe was sent all the way up the river to the Grandman's Village, almost the next to the last Village, where permission was asked for outsiders to enter Saramaka territory. A message came back, 3 days later, and I think on the 4th day we were allowed to proceed. Whenever an outsider comes into Saramaka territory, permission has to be given by the Saramaka people, by the Government authorities of Saramaka, it has retained it's territorial integrity until the violations that took place in approximately 1987, when the army, the national army of Suriname, just suddenly started to march into the place.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, how would being dependent on the charity of non-family villagers affect the Saramaka, in terms of his or her dignity?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In terms of dignity, did you say?
I would say first that being dependent on the more general Village population would mean a very, very different material standard. I'm really not able to answer that in terms of dignity, but dignity that would be lost in those terms, I think, is the dignity that's lost by being poor, and being dependent.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: I would like to ask you to take a look at our brief appendix where it says moral damage.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: What page would that be on?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: 39.
(Discussion of page number as it differs between documents).
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do you see there a report by either psychiatrist or a psychologist assessing pain and suffering? Take a look at it.
SR.RICHARD PRICE: On this page?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yea.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, I don't.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: O.K. Fine. On the third paragraph is written that traditionally the working men are the main source of social security and dignity. Can you read that, the third paragraph? Do you agree with that?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I'm not sure what it means. I didn't write it.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Well, elaborate on it. Please elaborate on it.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Working men, as I have said, are important in two ways. On the one hand they provide all of the western manufactured goods that are necessary for Saramakas to survive and they bring those goods back on the basis of bringing large amounts of cash through wage labor of different sorts on the Coast, in Suriname and in French Guyana. The other thing that young men do, that is equally important, and they do this not when they are outside earning money, but when they are in the Villages, is cutting fields, cutting gardens for their female dependents. A man may cut three or four different gardens a year, for various of his female dependents of different ages, his wives, his mother, or his mother's sister, depending on whether they have another man to do it for them or not. A woman cannot feed her family, she cannot grow things, she cannot grow all of the things that Saramakas need to eat if a man doesn't cut fields for her, because that's very hard work. It used to be done with axes, now it's often done with chain saws, but it's not work that women in Saramaka can do.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, could you read out loud please, the last paragraph of page 39, with the permission of the Court?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It says: "This murder, and the absence of Judicial investigation and prosecution, is experienced as an expression of the lesser value attached to the lives of maroons by the Central Government and Government Institutions. The maroons do not feel themselves treated with dignity at all. They are generally subjected to racial insults. This value is generally expressed in the treatment in political, financial, socio-economic matter, and matters concerning education and "medical care."
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you write this?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I did not.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: O. K. Did we talk about this?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Can you comment on this please?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I think I would go considerably farther if I had been given an opportunity to write that paragraph, which again would have talked about the backgrounds in the wars during the 18th Century, the ways in which Saramakas, 'till today, feel themselves in many ways morally superior to the people on the coast. They feel like they fought for their freedom and they won their freedom, and they're the original freedom fighters of the Americas, along with maroons in other places. At the same time they feel as if the city people, who now run the Government of Suriname were people who did not have the courage to rebel and make themselves free, who had to wait for the queen or king to free them in 1863. And they feel, when they are in the city, that they are treated with a great deal of discrimination. Saramakas who have gone to school in Paramaribo, for example, and there are certainly several hundred who have, have told me terrible stories about being called monkey by other people, who to an outsider would look just like them in terms of their pheno-types, that is they're both what in the United States would be called black. They look the same, but because they don't speak the city languages, because they don't speak Dutch, they don't speak Surinametongo, they're very widely discriminated against in Suriname.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Thank you. Let me move to another problem. The killing of a member of a Saramaka family would have also an impact on the Saramaka tribe or it would be only an impact on the Saramaka family?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The killing of a Saramaka by another Saramaka, in a murder case, for example, which occasionally happens in Saramaka as everywhere else in the world, let's say over a woman, would not be experienced by the tribe as a whole. As a loss, that would be a loss that could ritually be fixed up, and would largely concern the families of the two parties, in that case. The kind of killings that took place in the current case affect the Saramaka people in a very gentile way as a people. It affects their identity as a people, it affects their religion, it affects the powers that they count on to make the world run the way it does. In the Treaties of 1762, there was a demarcation. the territory above the place that is now Brokopondo, that territory was Saramaka territory. It was inviolable, outsiders needed permission, as I've explained, to cross that border, to do anything there, they were guests if they came in. In this particular case, soldiers came in without permission, and not only did they come into a Saramaka Village, but they abducted, tortured publicly and then shot and murdered Saramaka men. For Saramakas as a whole, this represents their greatest night collective nightmare, I was often told. I wrote a book called "First Time" the historical vision of an Afro-American people. It was 1 of 2 books that I wrote about the Saramaka collective-notion of their past, and their identity and their history. Those two books have won three international prizes, between them. The second book, "About this World" has just won the Gordon Lewis Memorial Prize of the Caribbean Studies Association for the best book about the Caribbean in any language for the past three years. And I'm very proud of that, and I've worked for 20 years on that book. It's a book that directs itself directly to this question. Saramakas feel as if this kind of violation, is as if they have been raped as a people, and raped several times. They who are great warriors, who lived in peace with everybody since 1762, suddenly their greatest nightmare, that in their terms they would say, their greatest fear, was that those times, the times of war, the times of the fights against the outsiders, that those times shall come again, and then, in this case, they did come again, and for all of Saramaka, it was experienced as a tremendous, tremendous loss. With your permission, let me just mention that I've spent much of the last 2 weeks speaking with Grandman Sungo Aboiconi, who is the Chief of the Saramaka nation. He was in Washington D.C., along with a group of Saramakas and Yucas and Aluku maroons, from Suriname and French Guyana. They were brought by the Smithsonian Institution and I was there as an interpreter. I spent many evenings speaking with Grandman Sungo Aboiconi about this case, so much of what I am telling you today comes from him it comes from what he wishes me to say. I am saying it, I believe it, I have observed these things, but I feel in a sense, that I'm also speaking very much on behalf of the Saramaka people and on behalf of the Grandman.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, allow me to interrupt you. Why is the Chief of the tribe not here?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The Grandman of the Saramakas is very much like a secret king in Africa, he has mystical powers, much of what he does is hemmed around by tremendous protocol, a protocol that would make the kind of protocol that you're used to seeing like nothing at all. When approaching him, people have to bend low to the ground. You can never direct, you don't talk to the Grandman directly, if this woman here were the Grandman, I would speak to one of these people, and he would relay the message to the others, and so on. It's a great deal of protocol. The Grandman does not come as a witness ever, when there is a meeting in Saramaka, the Grandman doesn't come and sit down and give testimony, or listen, what he does, is he sends a delegate, and they do their meeting and then they report back to him.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: How do we know that you are a delegate, Dr. Price, of the Grandman?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: You only have my sworn word, that I have spent 10 or 12 hours during the past 11 or 12 days discussing this case with him, in order to try to find out to the best of my ability what he and his people wish.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Thank you. Now, so would you consider then, that this impact of the killing was compounded by the fact that it involved 7 members of the tribe, no punishment, no investigation, no compensation, no apologies?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: All of those things were mentioned by the Grandman as being very important to him. The fact that there had been to his knowledge, and to mine, no investigations at all, on the part of the Government, no punishments for the people who did this, is part of the violation and hurt and suffering felt by the Saramaka people, by the Grandman on behalf of his people.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price allow me to move to something else. Under the facts of the case, and with your knowledge on the Saramaka culture, would be a finding of liability, and a cash award be sufficient to repair the damage caused, considering how Saramaka's experienced these injuries, and considering how the Saramaka culture, as a matter of fact, experiences the concept of reparation?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I would say that such a finding would be an important part of what the Saramakas would like to have happen, but it is also very important for them, they feel, in the long run, to try, in any way possible, to influence the national Government of the Republic of Suriname, to treat them with the respect due to all citizens of the country, and in that regard, some sort of public apology, and an investigation, a proper investigation, of why these people were killed, and how that came about, and followed by public apology, would be considered a very important gesture by them. Certainly, the material compensation is more important, but this would be a very important component, and they are certainly concerned about the way in which, not only they've been treated during these past few years, but what the future holds for them.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Dr. Price, if a Saramaka family were awarded a sum in compensation for injuries it suffered, how would such a sum be distributed?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The corporate unit that I mentioned before, which is called a bay, a matrilineal group, by traditional Saramaka law and custom, would sit down and have meetings, not just one, but several meetings over a number of days, and they would, in their wisdom, in their collective wisdom, distribute the sums to individuals according to the ways that they evaluate, that they evaluate the just distribution, the proper.
For example, in an adultery case, within Saramaka law, when a payment is made to a husband because another man has slept with his wife, which is something that occurs as frequently there, as it does in other societies, a payment is made to this group and this group then distributes it. It's a society which is very accustomed to the redistribution of wealth by this group.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: For another wife, would that be the result of the weight of the grandmother, or it would be proceeded by some type of collective decision-making procedure.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: A grandmother would not say that, such a decision would come out of a collective process, a public meeting of a number of people, who would discuss often over many days, the proper distribution, and its quite possible, that a particular wife, who was a more recent wife, might receive less of a particular amount for distribution, than a wife who had been married and who had been working with these relatives over many years. That's the kind of thing that's completely within the competence with the Saramaka customary law of this kinship group to decide.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you honor that was of distributing compensation?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I would, absolutely.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Why wouldn't you? Let me ask you another thing. We have here, wives, grandmothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and so forth, the corporation decides what goes to what. Maybe you don't know this, but I will inform you about this. We requested that a special trust fund be created for children, for example. This is something, and there would see a difference. What do you think about that? Would be admissible, acceptable within the Saramaka culture? Would that be equivalent to raping their conviction, setting aside a trust fund for children, for example?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I think it makes a great deal of sense, for the following reason. The men who died, who were killed, were providers for certain children. The way they would provide for them, would be, by going out and working, bringing back goods, and distributing those goods to those children, over time. So, that, if those children were to be given lump sum payments, what happens with lump sum payments in Saramaka, is that goats are bought at once, money that is cash isn't saved, it's spent for the kinds of goods that I've mentioned a number of times. Therefore, what you would want to do, to simulate as much as possible what the deceased would have provided over those children's lives, as minors, the way to simulate that, would be to establish a mechanism by which goods could be given to those children, not all at once, but over the whole period of time, during which they're growing up. And it seems to me, that some kind of trust mechanism, would provide that. And that, on the other hand, it's quite appropriate for lump sums to be given to adults, with which they're going to buy goods, because that's very much what they would have done, had these people been alive.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: The same applies to the tribe?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I've spent a good deal of time talking to the Grandman about this. If I may, let me just tell a brief story. I was walking along the street, in Arlington, Virginia, the other night with the Grandman, near the hotel The Smithsonian Porter's Inn, and a homeless woman came up to us and said to me, could you spare a quarter, and the Grandman said to me, what did she say? And I said she's asking for money, and he immediately reached into his shirt pocket and took out a bill, a dollar, I believe, and put it in her cup, and he explained to me that the Grandman is responsible, one of his titles, this has been Grandman, is Kundemasa, Master of the Round. He is responsible for everyone in the world. Anyone in need. Anyone who is suffering. He has to give people duets. The rule of his office, his responsibility, and what he stated with me about how much Saramaka people have suffered during the last 5 or 6 years. And I have been corroborating testimony from missionaries whom I've met in the last couple of weeks in Washington, who have been in Saramaka. Old people are very thin now, many children and old people have died, because of the fact that the Government cut off medical aid to the interior, because they've cut for many months and years, they cut off the road, so the Saramakas were not able to go and work, and therefore they weren't able to buy goods that they needed. There's been a tremendous amount of suffering, and the Grandman who speaks Dutch, a new Grandman, the old Grandman had been there since 1951, he died in 1989, and Grandman Sungo was installed as Grandman last year, given his stool of office. And Grandman Sungo said that he has to provide such a security, in effect, for his people. Anyone who is in need and comes to him, he gives to, he gives bags of rice, he gives food, so that whatever money were given to the Saramaka people, as a whole, it seems to me, if I may make a suggestion, should in some way, be put in a trust, which would be run by the Grandman, and he, in fact, I now realize I may have, I wasn't thinking of him when you were asking about Saramaka's who had bank accounts and so on. The Grandman has a bank account in Paramaribo. I don't know that he has credit cards. I doubt that. But he does read Dutch and write, and he is fully competent as well as all of his traditional responsibilities. He is fully competent to deal with the Court, or with other western authorities, in terms of handling such a responsibility.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Thank you very much, that's all, Honorable Court and Government, that's all. Your witness.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, muchas gracias. Ahora pediríamos al delegado del representante del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname, si desea hacer un interrogatorio y que persona la va a hacer?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Sí, desearíamos referirnos brevemente a la exposición brindada por el doctor Price. Brillante en cuanto a los términos de cultura de Saramaka, personalmente lo felicito.
Sin embargo, tenemos algunas inquietudes, que quisiéramos expresarle, a efectos de tener un panorama más amplio sobre las posibilidades que brinda su testimonio, en cuanto a la determinación de daños materiales y morales.
Quisiéramos inicialmente preguntarle al distinguido doctor Price, Àcuándo fue la última vez que estuvo en Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In 1986.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Dice 1986. ÀDesde esa época no ha vuelto a Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, I've not been in Suriname.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Sin embargo, si mal no le entendí, ha tenido conocimiento de la actividad de los Saramaka, vía esta última entrevista que usted tuvo, a la par de usted se hizo referencia, que usted tuvo con el Grandman, representante del pueblo de Saramaka.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I had been meeting with large numbers of Saramakas, I have had contact, all of this week, five hundred Saramakas, during the past several years. Each summer, in French Guyana, there are large numbers of Saramakas living there, who are currently working in Kourou, in French Guyana, they perform various kinds of manual labor at the Center Espacial Guyani. There is there a place called Village Saramaka, where more than a thousand Saramakas live, and they go back and forth to Suriname, all the time, there are people coming and going, going back and forth to Saramaka. In San Lorenzo de Maroni, there are also really, hundreds of Saramakas, who go back and forth. Around Cayene, there are many hundreds of Saramakas, who go back and forth, and during the past several years, Sally Price and I have been working for the Council Regional de ...., on a project which involves the building of a new museum, in Cayene, and we have been collecting artifacts from various maroon groups, and spent a great deal of time with Saramakas and through them we are very aware of what's going on in their home Villages because they come back and forth all the time.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Si mal no le entendí, doctor Price, el Gobierno y quisiera que usted aclarara si se refiere al actual Gobierno de Suriname, al Gobierno del Presidente Venetiaan, que llegó al poder en Suriname, en 1991, en mayo de 1991. Si mal no le entendi, usted dijo que el Gobierno bloqueó, o ha bloqueado las posibilidades de los Saramaka, Àposibilidades económicas y de salir a buscar mejores fuentes de vida? ÀCorrecto?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: That is correct. By the Government, I was not referring to a particular political regime, I was referring in general to the national Government of Suriname, and its military.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, podría aclarar eso, que no le entendí bien.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: If I understood the question, I was asked whether I was referring to the present Government, the present Administration of Suriname, and I was not particularly referring to the current President and the current Ministers, who change very rapidly in Suriname during the last few years. I was referring to the authority of the Government of the Republic of Suriname, whoever the particular people had been who are in power, and their armed forces. They are the ones who blocked access of Saramakas to the outside world, to the city, to jobs, to food, to medicine, over very long periods, beginning in 1986, or 1987.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, usted dijo que la incursión del ejército de Suriname, en territorio Saramaka, constituyó una invasión ilegal de territorio Saramaka. Mi pregunta es, Àquiere esto decir que el territorio Saramaka, es soberano e independiente de Suriname? ÀQue en el territorio Saramaka existen leyes internas y un Gobierno independiente del Gobierno Central del Gobierno de Suriname? Mi pregunta es en relación con su conocimiento del territorio mismo y las costumbres del pueblo Saramaka.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In Saramaka terms, from the Saramaka point of view, the answer to those questions is yes. But I would like to clarify by saying that, the situation is similar to that of many North American Indian Nations, as they are called now in the United States Law, who make treaties with the Central Government during the 18th Century, at various points of the 19th Century. The Saramakas are, as anthropologists have said throughout the 20th Century, a State within a State, and I am not competent to speak to the constitutional issues within the constitution of Suriname. As far as the Saramakas are concerned, their treaties signed during the 18th Century, do give them sovereignty within their territory, and including authority to handle judicial cases which take place within their own territory, including murder and other serious violations, which they have always handled themselves.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, yo repito la pregunta porque no le entendí bien. ÀQuiere esto decir, que el territorio Saramaka es soberano, independiente, que existen leyes internas, que existe un Gobierno independiente al Gobierno de Suriname, que no se sigue el procedimiento legal, establecido para la República de Suriname, que existen tribunales independientes al estilo tribal en Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: There are indeed independent judicial procedures in Saramaka, which have been used since the 18th Century and continued to be used and respected by the Suriname judiciary during the 1960's and 1970's, during the period that I resided in Saramaka territory.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, usted se refiere, se ha referido en su interrogatorio en muchas ocasiones, a los Tratados de 1762. Los Tratados de 1762, es plenamente reconocido que fueron firmados entre el Gobierno holandés, que en ese momento estaba colonizando Suriname y el pueblo de Saramaka. ÀSe han preservado en el tiempo esos tratados, firmados en 1762? ÀHa reconocido el Gobierno de Suriname la competencia de esos tratados, en cuanto a la soberanía del pueblo Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I can't speak to that. I do not know. I can only speak to the practices that I witnessed in the Saramaka understandings.
EL PRESIDENTE: Señor representante, el Juez Barberis quiere hacer una aclaración, sobre la pregunta y la respuesta que se ha hecho.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Señor agente de Suriname: creo que el señor Price ha dicho que él no es un experto en Derecho Internacional. Usted no puede plantearle preguntas de derecho. Por el contrario, le puede preguntar cosas de hecho, cuestiones sobre la realidad. Pero no puede interrogarlo sobre la validez de un tratado, o sobre una sucesión de Estados, porque eso estaría totalmente fuera de lugar. Sólo le puede hacer preguntas acerca de hechos. Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Gracias señor Juez. Mi pregunta era en referencia a, si no mal me equivoco, el doctor Price le envió un Fax de fecha 31 de Diciembre. Perdón, no aparece la fecha aquí, pero está aportado como anexo, anexo al memorial presentado por la Comisión, en ese documento él dice expresamente: "El tratado firmado con sangre el 19 de setiembre del 62, véase al mismo tiempo, traducción al inglés que se adjunta, reconoce la libertad de los Saramaka y les reconoce derecho a la soberanía en sus aldeas y territorios". La pregunta era dirigida, más que todo, a que nos aclarara esa afirmación que él expresó en forma escrita, en este documento dirigido al señor Grossman.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I'm not sure I understand the question.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Si me permite repetirle. Usted en documento que remitió en fecha 29 de Marzo de 1992, al doctor Claudio Grossman, expresamente se refiere, a que el tratado firmado con sangre el 19 de Setiembre de 1762, reconoce al pueblo de Saramaka, derecho a la soberanía en sus aldeas y territorios. Yo entiendo que usted no es experto en derecho internacional ni mucho menos, sin embargo está haciendo una afirmación sobre una obligación establecida en un convenio internacional firmado hace aproximadamente 300 años o más.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Una cosa señor Presidente. Una cosa diferente es hacer una aseveración así y otra cosa es constituirse en experto de derecho internacional y de derecho constitucional y de sucesión de tratados, eso no prueba nada. Yo creo que sería importante utilizar el tiempo de la Corte y de los testigos, pidiéndole que hicieran uso de su conocimiento. Yo creo que una declaración que se haya hecho, mucha gente dice este es mi derecho no es mi derecho, pero el expertise del doctor Price es en la práctica, en la cultura, en la vida. Yo sugeriría que nos atuviéramos a eso con el objeto de avanzar. Respetuosamente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Yo creo que la aclaración del Juez Barberis va en ese sentido, que usted se limitara a hacer preguntas sobre hechos y no sobre apreciaciones que no tienen un sentido jurídico como nosotros los apreciamos. No creo que al hablar de soberanía se refiera a la soberanía internacional, etc. sino cierta autonomía que se da a ciertas comunidades indígenas, entonces más bien, la pregunta sería en ese sentido, es decir, no en el sentido de soberanía internacional, sino en el sentido de ciertas autonomías que ahí se reconocen y como no es experto en Derecho, no podrá decir si, de acuerdo con la nueva constitución de Suriname, se reconoce una autonomía digamos jurídica a esa situación, sino, si de hecho hay cierta autonomía para el pueblo de Saramaka y yo creo que es lo que, el único que puede el experto señalar.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Creo que también es buena costumbre, de si hay documentos que se van a preguntar al testigo, que se haga una cita de dónde están, de modo que todos los podamos leer y que al testigo también se le entregue una copia del documento, por lo menos y si no hay copia, porque están aquí y que nos haga referencia. La lectura, no sabemos, si el documento al que hace referencia el distinguido Abogado, es el que tenemos en nuestra, delante nuestros ojos, porque es una frase al pasar, entonces, que por favor nos diga dónde está, de qué se trata y se le muestre al testigo también, al margen de la decisión de cualquiera que sea sobre este punto el fondo.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
En aras de no agotar a la Corte y seguir el procedimiento sabiamente dictado por el señor Presidente, retomaremos la pregunta, retomaremos la pregunta en los términos que la hizo el señor Presidente. ÀExiste autonomía del pueblo de Saramaka en relación con la actividad del Gobierno central de Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: A system was established during the 19th Century that is related and that's related to the system that the British used in Africa, which they call indirect rule, in which by recognizing the Ruler, the Chief and sub Chiefs, of a particular tribe, or ethnic group within a larger colony, they were able to communicate in terms of legal and other matters through that hierarchy, and in very much the same way in Suriname, the central Government of the colony of Suriname, dealt with the Grandmans of each of the maroon groups, the Saramaka, the Yuca, the Mataguay, the Paramacca, and until about 20 years ago, when they became French, the Alouku, there were 5, in the Queenty, there were 6 such groups, the Queenty did not have a Grandman, they had Captains. The Government dealt directly with the Grandman, as the representative of the Saramaka people. Indeed, after the Grandman is chosen by traditionals, Saramaka means, that is by divination, and through also, it's a royal rituals, after he is chosen, he comes to the city, and this has happened since the 18th Century, where he is recognized by the city authorities and since Suriname became independent in 1975, each Grandman is recognized by the city authorities and is given a separate set of clothes, a uniform from the city, so that he serves as the Chief or King of this autonomist group within the nation or Republic of Suriname, formerly within the Colony of Suriname, and also as the Representative, the link between his people and the Central Government, the coastal Government.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor Price, Àvotan en las elecciones políticas de Suriname los Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Beginning in, I believe 1967, some Saramakas have voted. That is in 1967, during the Administration of Johan Paydon, when it was seen that, if I may say, the balance between East Indian and Afro-Surinamer population was shifting in favor of East Indians, Saramakas and the other maroons were encouraged to vote on the assumption that they would vote with the Afro Surinamer parties, and some voting votes were set up, I was there, and I was a witness to that voting. Later I cannot speak to later elections. There are times when the particular parties in power had decided it was useful to them to bring a voting apparatus into the interior, and they did collect a certain number of votes, there had been times when they had not, and that really depends on who has been running the country, in my opinion, and whether they thought they could profit from a black vote of that sort or not.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àusted conoce si votaron durante las últimas elecciones de principios del año 1991 y si conoce algún porcentaje de votantes de Saramaka en esas elecciones?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I do not.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, hemos escuchado el sentido de responsabilidad de protección de su territorio y sus costumbres de parte del pueblo de Saramaka, brillantemente expuesto por su persona. Yo tengo una pregunta, mi pregunta es la siguiente. En aras de defender sus costumbres y territorio, Àhan guerreado los Saramakas durante los últimos 8 años, han formado parte del conflicto interno que en alguna medida afectó el interior de Suriname?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yo quisiera objetar esa pregunta porque de acuerdo con la Convención Americana, el Artículo 27, de la Convención Americana, hay algunos derechos que no se pueden violar o derogar, ni siquiera bajo una situación de emergencia. Así que es absolutamente irrelevante la pregunta, porque aquí no se trata además de víctimas caídas en una situación de combate. Ya nos encontramos en la página segunda, ya se reconoció la responsabilidad, entonces esto no agrega nada y confunde las cosas. Yo no entiendo qué tiene que ver esta pregunta con los daños y perjuicios. Si nos pueden explicar, trataríamos de entender, pero no entiendo qué tiene que ver esto con daños materiales, morales o lo que sea. La masacre de gente que no estaban ellos mismos como combatientes, Àno?
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, yo digo la opinión es de que puede ser relevante la pregunta y que entonces siga adelante. Trate de decir qué explicación tiene y a qué resultado puede llegar esa contestación.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Se ha hablado, se ha expresado de parte del doctor Price, una serie de características de la costumbre Saramaka. Se ha dicho también que los miembros de tribu Saramaka son pacíficos, por lo menos así lo hemos entendido, pacíficos por naturaleza. Sin embargo, fueron parte de un pueblo, el pueblo surinamés, que durante los últimos 8 años ha tenido un conflicto interno. Ese conflicto interno fue el motivo por el cual la Corte tuvo que ver el caso Aloeboetoe. Fue también la razón por la cual, el Gobierno de Suriname, en su debida oportunidad, en Diciembre del año pasado, reconoció la responsabilidad sobre este caso. La pregunta no tiene que ver en cuanto al fondo de lo que ya en su debida oportunidad la Corte reconoció y juzgó. La pregunta tiene que ver, con una gestión, o una función, para poder determinar, en última instancia, el daño moral ocasionado al pueblo de Saramaka, esa es la única función por la cual estamos haciendo la pregunta. No para retrotraer y volver al pasado, en cuanto en la responsabilidad que ya admitió Suriname en su oportunidad, sino simplemente para determinar los alcances del daño moral ocasionado al pueblo Saramaka. Porque también murieron personas, durante el conflicto interno de Suriname, que no eran parte de la cultura Saramaka y que en algún momento hay que resarcir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor Presidente, en primer lugar, una corrección de hecho. Nunca nadie ha dicho que los Saramakas son por naturaleza contrarios a usar las armas, eso no se de dónde nuestro distinguido contrincante dijo se ha dicho, pero omitió decir quién ha dicho eso. En segundo lugar, no conocemos autoridades jurídicas que planteen que si un pueblo está en guerra en contra de otro, que no es el caso, si es que se matan violando el Derecho Internacional víctima, eso depriva del derecho a compensación moral. No conozco ni una autoridad en el Derecho internacional que apoye esa disposición. El caso Lusitania, por ejemplo, que estaban en Guerra Alemania con Estados Unidos, hundieron un barco, se pagaron daños morales. Si hubiera sido un barco militar u otro, habría sido otra situación. Así que tampoco tienen presente jurídico la razón que está estipulando aquí nuestro distinguido contrincante. Así que yo quisiera mantener, que sobre la base de razones estipuladas, no hay, esta pregunta no tiene ninguna razón de ser, no es relevante, en esta discusión.
EL PRESIDENTE: Entonces, si el doctor Price quisiera contestar la pregunta en cuanto las costumbres del pueblo Saramaka, digo, Àsi es posible que hayan intervenido en algún conflicto?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The Civil War that began in 1986, was led by a man and a large number of people, who came from the Yuca maroons, they were not Saramakas, they were from another, one of these maroons semi-autonomist nations within Suriname, and the very great bulk of members of what was called the Jungle Comandos, that is the group that was fighting against the national army of Suriname, was made up of Yucas, not Saramakas.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, Doctor. El señor Grossman, el Abogado Grossman le preguntó a usted respecto a un determinado monto y si era razonable ese monto en razón de las sumas que pudieran ganar o ganaran los Saramaka. Expresamente le habló de un monto de 21.600 Guilders o Florines de Suriname y le preguntó a usted si ese monto era adecuado en cuanto a salarios que hubiera dejado de percibir uno de los, una de las víctimas. Yo le pregunto a usted, Àcómo, sobre qué base se podría determinar ese monto de los 21.600 Florines de Suriname?. Mi pregunta es, Àusted es perito actuario para poder determinar con prontitud y precisión, un posible salario, o un salario que dejó de percibir en un momento dado, un miembro de la cultura Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: As I've mentioned, one of the things that I've written about since I began publishing on this, in the late 1960's, I've written several articles, the best known of which is called "Saramaka Immigration and Social Structure" something like that, it's in the Curriculum Vitae, oh no, it's not, because it just says 100 articles, or something. I have written in various places, including in a book that is listed in my Curriculum Vitae, that was published in Puerto Rico, in 1975, called "Saramaka Social Structure", about the wage structure of Saramaka's who work, at different historical periods on the coast, and I have, as I've mentioned, been with hundreds of Saramaka working men during the past several years, and among many other things, have discussed with them, their wages, and in my opinion, the figures that I was asked about by doctor Grossman, which as I remember, on that page were not simply a lump sum of whatever the figure 20 somewhat thousand Guilders, but were calculated at a certain amount of day, times, so many days for a year, were actual wages as far as I know, Saramaka men are now earning on the coast of Suriname. I could add that the Saramaka men, many of these men would have spent, had they lived, time working also in French Guyana, and the wages in French Guyana are very much higher in terms of what the men are able to bring home, than wages in Suriname, because of the existence of a market, of which is approximately right now, 22 to a dollar, while the official rate is something like one point nine to a dollar. So there is a factor for men who are earning hard currency, such as all the men who are working in French Guyana, they're getting ten times as much, for their money, as people who are working in Suriname, and many of these young men who were killed, could have been expected, during the next few years, to or already since they were killed several years ago, to have earned substantially larger sums than the sums that are being asked for here in compensation. In my own opinion, the sums being asked for here, the sums that are based on the earning power of these individuals, are distinctly understated. I think that they are very much on the low side, of what these men would actually have earned during these past several years, and what they would be earning for the rest of their lives. It's a very conservative figure, in terms of. I was not asked anything about this, I've only seen this now, but in my opinion is very understated.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, me disculpa, pero no puedo oir, no sé qué pasa con mi aparato, quisiera pedirle una. Muchísimas gracias.
Doctor Price, Àusted podría hablarnos de la expectativa de vida de los Saramakas, Àcuál es el rate, cuál es el porcentaje de expectativa de vida en años, de los miembros de la cultura Saramaka, si es factible, conocer ese dato?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: We did considerable demographic work, in the Pikinio region, a region at Pikinio, Degalio, and some of the Villages at the southern most end of the Suriname river, area of about 6,000 people, during the late 1960's, in which we made population pyramids, and did other standard demographic work. In part working with a Suriname demographer, who is now a Surinamer who is a demographer, Humphrey Lamour, who is now professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, and it was our findings, that once children lived past their first couple of years, when they were very vulnerable to various illnesses, that the life expectancy of Saramakas, was very much in line with the life expectancy of coastal Surinamers, and there are United Nations figures published, I don't have them in my head, but there are tables published for every country in the world, and the figures for Suriname are relatively good, they're very high, compared to most Latin American countries, they're spectacularly higher than most places in Latin America, perhaps not Costa Rica, but many of the poorer countries in Latin America, that is life expectancy is relatively long in an Inter American context.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Dentro de ese marco de estudio realizado por usted, doctor Price, Àtiene usted alguna idea, de cuál sería, el ingreso per cápita, de un Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Are you asking about, over a lifetime?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Anual, doctor, anual.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: We've already discussed that a moment ago, in talking about particular figures for particular men.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀConoce la relación de la expectativa de vida y el ingreso per cápita de un Surinamés en la costa?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I don't understand the question.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Otra vez. Hablamos de la expectativa de vida de los Saramakas. Yo quisiera preguntarle Àsi usted lo conoce? ÀCuál es la expectativa de un Surinamés, a efectos de hacer una comparación entre el Surinamés que vive en la costa y el Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I've already stated, that in our studies, which are published in referred academic journals, and that have been published in books, we found, that if you discount early childhood mortality, which was higher in the interior of Suriname dynamic coast, and which is irrelevant to the present cases, because these are people who have lived past their second or third year, that their life expectancy would be similar to that of the Republic of Suriname as a whole. I do not have in my head, I did not come prepared to tell you that the average life expectancy of men is for example, 67.3 years and that of women is 71.2. I cannot say that, I don't remember those figures, but I can say that those figures are available because UNESCO and other United Nations organizations publish each year, life expectancy tables for all the countries, and that you can refer to those tables and assume that Saramaka life expectancy for people who have passed their first several years, is similar to that of Suriname as a whole.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àha podido palpar usted personalmente, el sufrimiento que vivió el pueblo de Saramaka, luego de los hechos sucedidos en 1987?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have spoken, as I've mentioned, with several hundred Saramakas, largely in French Guyana, also during the past couple of weeks in Washington, where a group of nine Saramakas was living with us for a period of approximately two weeks, and I have had the opportunity to discuss with them and listen to them about the extent of suffering that they feel from the events of 1987. And my testimony earlier in the day, about that subject, is based in part, upon what I have heard them say, what they've told me, and what I've overheard them say to one another as well.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àusted habló con los familiares de las víctimas en este caso?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have spoken, by chance, last week, with a relative of one of the victims, who also by chance, I happened to have known almost since the day of his birth, his name is Asipee Amoida, he was one of the seven people who were killed, and he would have been in his early 20's at the time that he was assassinated. I was close to his father, who is the master drummer, who plays the apinti, talking drum, for the Grandman, whenever there is a Saramaka judicial proceeding. So, for example, if we were in Saramaka, and the Grandman were sitting in the President's chair, the drummer would be off to the side, the father of this man who was assassinated, to play proverbs on the drum, comment on the proceedings, he would sit the Court down, at the end, he would play other rhythms which stood the Court up, and I have every reason to believe that his son, Asipee, would have been, would be trained, and would eventually, have taken on that role, for the tribal Chief, so that his loss, is a loss, not only in terms of his money supporting and so on, but in terms of being a very important member of Saramaka society. I am not able to speak to the place of any of these other victims in the society because I didn't know them personally, and I've not had the opportunity to speak with any of the relatives.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, entonces podría decir, como usted acaba de decir, que usted no ha conocido personalmente el sufrimiento de los familiares de las víctimas, en el presente caso.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have no direct knowledge of the personal suffering of any particular individuals.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àcómo se demuestra el número de esposas, de hecho, que pueda tener un miembro de la tribu Saramaka?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Marriage in Saramaka is as public as marriage in Costa Rica or the United States. There is a thing called marriage, and everyone knows who is married to whom, there is no ambiguity about a person being married, a woman being married to a certain man or not, there is no question of demonstration, it is simply a legal fact that people are married by a particular ceremony and they can become divorced by a very specific other kind of ceremony.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀCuál es el número, cuál es la relación existente, doctor, si usted nos puede contestar esa pregunta, entre el número de hombres y mujeres, en una tribu, en la tribu Saramaka, proporcional, proporcional?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have written at length about this question, and I refer you particularly to the Monogar published by the University of Puerto Rico, called "Saramaka Social Structure" 1975. Because of the pattern that I've described of men going outside of the society for long periods of time, and because of the differential age at first marriage, of men and women, with men marrying in their middle of their 20's and women marrying when they are in their early teens, there are about twice as many women available in the marriage pool, at any time, within Saramaka Villages, than there are men. And it is because of that, that it is possible for polygamy to be as widespread as it has been during the past 150 years.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àexisten oficinas de registro en el interior de la provincia donde se puedan inscribir esos matrimonios entre los miembros de la cultura Saramaka, comisariatos, como llaman en Suriname?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No. Not to my knowledge, unless they've just been introduced, very very recently.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor, Àusted tiene conocimiento actual, de las fuentes de trabajo existentes en la costa, para los miembros de la cultura Saramaka?
Quisiera hacer una aclaración, actual, quisiera referirme a la época que se inicia, que se inició en 1987 hasta la presente época.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, I think I could speak to the proportion of Saramaka men who worked in different sorts of jobs and in different sorts of places during that period, because during that period I was in contact with large numbers of Saramaka men, for approximately two months out of every year, in French Guyana, just over the border from Suriname, so that we could see Suriname as we spoke.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Finalmente doctor, usted podría hablarnos, si tiene conocimiento de eso, si los miembros de la cultura Saramaka tienen la costumbre de ahorrar, a lo cual usted se refirió, perdón, Àtienen la costumbre de ahorrar el dinero que ganan cuando van a trabajar en la costa surinamesa?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, I've already spoken to that question. The pattern is very simple, and it's been consistent through the last 150 years. Saramaka men earn a salary, often they do wage labor and are paid by the day, often are paid by the week, depending on the particular job, sometimes they are paid by piece work, when they are doing logging, timber work and other kinds of forest extractive work. What they do with their money, is, while they're on the job site, while they are away from Saramaka territory, they save it, they save it as cash, they spend almost no money while they are on the coast, they sleep in hammocks, they live as simply as possible, because their only reason for being on the coast, and doing these kinds of very demeaning jobs, such as cleaning out the toilet bowls, and the missel base, and so forth, their only reason for being there, is to accumulate large sums of money, with which they then, go partly to Cayene, partly to Paramaribo, to purchase goods, and by the time they come back to Saramaka, they have spent that sum of money that they have saved, and they spend it on the items that I mentioned before, that I don't think the Court needs to hear about again.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, la última pregunta, quisiera hacer una adición, es lo siguiente.
Doctor Price, Àusted se refirió a que para los Saramaka es importante la influencia que se pueda hacer el Gobierno de Suriname, en relación con este caso y en ese sentido, algún tipo de disculpa pública, e investigación, se podría considerar como un gesto muy importante, tan importante como lo material, como la indemnización material?, es mi primera pregunta.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Sí, lo que el testigo dijo, fue frente a una pregunta mía, que la indemnización material era extremadamente importante, pero que no era suficiente. Entonces, no es efectivo lo que esta, quizá hay una confusión planteando el distinguido contrincante, que se dijo que era tan importante una cosa como la otra. La pregunta fue, Àbasta la compensación material y una finding of liability, o se necesita algo más? No se expresó que bastaba una disculpa y que eso reemplazaba lo otro. Y ahí, hubo una respuesta muy clara del testigo también frente a eso. Yo quiero aclarar simplemente lo que se refiere a la forma en que se hizo la pregunta.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, bueno yo entiendo que lo que pregunta el señor representante, sería si considera el testigo que, en una disculpa y una investigación, serían importantes, para no decir tan importantes, en relación con la compensación económica. Entiendo que ese es el sentido de la pregunta.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Sí y quisiera añadir algo más, no sólo en cuanto a la compensación pecuniaria, sino en cuanto a la compensación por el daño moral. Más que todo en cuanto a la compensación por el daño moral.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I would only be repeating myself to say that from the Saramaka point of view, material compensation, a pecuniary compensation for material loss and moral damages, is by far, the most important part of this case, but that because of their sense of a loss of dignity and violation, they believe that can't be compensated simply with money, money is a very important part of it, but they also, very much would like the Court to ask the Government of Suriname to make public amends and to investigate, and if possible, punish the people involved in this violation of their rights.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, para concluir, yo creo que hemos concluido el interrogatorio del doctor Price. Quisiera nada más, solicitarle al señor Presidente una aclaración del procedimiento, según las reglas que deben observarse en las audiencias públicas, que guardamos con mucho respeto por estar en esta Corte. En el punto 6, habla de referencias a las partes. Yo quisiera pedirle al señor Presidente y al señor, ilustre señor representante de la Comisión, que en lo sucesivo, en cuanto sigamos en este procedimiento, quisiera, cumpliera el procedimiento establecido en la regla número 6, en cuanto a la dirección hacia la Representación de Suriname y no se refiriera al distinguido contrincante, sino hiciera referencia a como está establecido en el punto número 6 de las reglas de procedimiento.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, efectivamente hay unas reglas de procedimiento y simplemente le pediríamos que las utilizara para las interpretaciones.
Entonces, Àha terminado usted el interrogatorio?
Bueno, entonces, dado a lo avanzado de la hora y como los señores jueces no han tenido oportunidad de hacer preguntas y lo desean naturalmente, al testigo, interrumpiríamos aquí la audiencia, la reanudaríamos a las tres y media de la tarde y rogaríamos al testigo que estuviera presente para que los señores jueces, si así lo desean, le hicieran preguntas adicionales, como está establecido en nuestro procedimiento.
Se levanta la sesión pública.
Se reanuda la sesión. Ya está el doctor Richard Price. Entonces, pasaríamos, como lo habíamos anunciado, a las preguntas de los señores jueces. Entonces pregunto al doctor Antonio Cançado Trindade, el Juez Antonio Cançado Trindade, Àsi quiere hacer preguntas al testigo?
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Gracias, señor Presidente. Dos muy breves preguntas.
The first question is: in your testimony, you have referred in the present case to the lack of punishment and investigation, on the part of the public authorities, and you have also referred, in historical perspective, to a case of punishment given by a Court in Paramaribo, in the form of hanging.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: This is just an additional information which I would like to obtain. Are there claims, to the best of your knowledge, under the domestic legal system of Suriname, of reparation for injuries of the kind here envisaged, that have been decided by the domestic Courts in Suriname, and if so, to the best of your knowledge, how have the measures of reparation been decided, if there had been any such cases? This is my first question.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I'm sorry to have to say that I simply do not have that knowledge, I simply do not know, it's not within my expertise.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: My second question is: besides the question of reparation, when you refer to the issue of public apology, in your assessment, would the Saramaka community regard the recognition of responsibility by Suriname in the present case, before this Court last December, as amounting to such public apology, or should it be taken, in your view, in a different form?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In my view, it would have to take quite a different form. I am not aware that the admission of guilt, admission of the facts in the present case by the Republic of Suriname, was made known in any way, within Suriname, and I believe that a much more public recognition of Government responsibility and public apology to the Saramaka people, would be necessary.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Thank you, that replies to my second question. Gracias señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora le pregunto al Juez Aguiar-Aranguren, Àsi quiere hacer alguna pregunta?
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Sí, señor Presidente. En la exposición que hizo el señor Price, hoy en la mañana, él indicaba que una vez que cada uno de los miembros de estas comunidades salían a trabajar, por períodos de tres a cuatro años y luego regresaban de ordinario a adquirir determinados bienes que distribuían dentro de su comunidad, podría precisar el señor Price, Àa qué tipo de comunidad se refería él? A la comunidad, en términos colectivos de los Saramaka, o se refería a la comunidad familiar que formaba parte del entorno de la persona que trabajaba. Si bien escuché, en su exposición en la mañana de hoy, hacía referencia que esa distribución de bienes, estaba fundamentalmente dirigida a las esposas, a los hijos, a las tías, Àesto es lo que usted identifica por comunidad, que evidentemente estaría directamente afectada, o se refiere a una comunidad en términos mucho más amplios y en términos mucho más amplios, desde el punto de vista étnico-racial?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The very great bulk of goods distributed, are distributed to close kinsmen, close parents, of the sort that you mentioned, plus some others, a small amount, not insignificant symbolically, but probably not of tremendous monetary value, goes to muy distant relatives and other members of the Village, the Village captain, other authorities, other older people, but the great bulk of the financial work, of the great bulk of the goods that were bought with the money that the man saved from his work on the coast, goes to his wife, his children, various dependent relatives who do not have themselves someone to give them such goods. And if they would be given, in other words, disproportionately to perhaps, a mother's sister who is informed, or to a grandmother who needs particular help, or a grandfather who can no longer work, that kind of thing, but wives, and children, mothers, fathers, and particularly those in need, or dependents would get the very great bulk of the goods.
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Podría, de ser posible, haciendo una suerte de ejercicio hipotético, señalarse que los efectos de tipo moral, pero que deban ser reparados materialmente, deberían estar ubicados fundamentalmente dentro de los núcleos familiares y las reparaciones de efectos morales, dirigidos a la totalidad de la comunidad, Àpodrían obtener una reparación moral distinta a la netamente material?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: If I understand the question, I think, I would distinguish two groups that are involved. One are the groups that we have referred to as dependents here, who are kinsmen, including affinlaw kinsmen, including inlaws, that is blood kinsmen plus kinsmen by marriage, who are dependents on, who were dependents on the diseased. That's one group, and both, the material and moral damages that we've discussed, the pain and suffering, and so on, refer particularly to that group on the one hand. The second group, that is at issue, is the Saramaka people as a whole, which involves, not simply the Village from which a particular man came, but the harm that was done to the Saramakas as a people, by the fact that the army coming and killing members of the Saramaka group. Am I answering your question correctly? Perhaps you could rephrase it, if you'd like more precision.
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: La distinción señor Price es perfectamente adecuada. Yo simplemente me remitía a una suerte de ejercicio hipotético. Hablábamos en la mañana de hoy, sobre la circunstancia cierta de que, era importante, tanto la reparación de carácter material, en términos pecuniarios, como la reparación moral en términos pecuniarios y en términos simbólicos, si se puede llamar esto de esa manera, disculpas, a título de ejemplo, por parte del Gobierno a la comunidad. Haciendo un ejercicio hipotético, tendríamos víctimas directas, de los daños que serían los que forman parte del entorno familiar, que tendrían en hipótesis, una reparación material más una reparación de carácter moral. Cuando se hace referencia a la comunidad de los Saramaka, la reparación de carácter moral necesariamente tendría que expresarse en términos materiales?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I agree with the premises that, if that is the question, I agree with what you have just said.
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUEN: Gracias.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yo creo que ha habido un problema de traducción y que la traducción, lo que ha dicho, en vez de plantearlo como pregunta, como una afirmación. Dijo, entonces la reparación necesariamente debiera ser material y el testigo dijo sí, pero yo creo que la intención del juez era hacerlo como pregunta, no como afirmación, entonces sería importante aclarar eso para que él pudiera responder, que no era, porque él está diciendo que está de acuerdo sin saber sobre qué, por un problema de traducción.
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Vuelvo a repetirle y a formularle la pregunta. Le mencionaran al señor Price, en términos hipotéticos, haciendo una suerte de ejercicios, en materia reparadora, que sea compatible con la tradición cultural y con las exigencias culturales del grupo de los Saramaka, me pregunto yo si las reparaciones morales, me pregunto y por eso quisiera saber si eso tiene alguna respuesta, si las reparaciones de tipo moral, que corresponden a la totalidad de la comunidad de los Saramaka, podría quedar satisfecha, mediante una reparación de naturaleza simbólica que compense el daño moral, o dentro de esa tradición cultural, a nivel de la comunidad global, sería un requisito sine qua non, el que se acompañe una reparación de carácter material? Decía que a título de ejercicio, a nivel de la comunidad familiar, parece que esos presupuestos estarían aparentemente claros, pero no están claros totalmente a nivel de la comunidad global. Entonces quisiera algún ejercicio al respecto, tomando como punto de referencia, la tradición cultural de ellos, como etnia, como grupo social.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Thank you. It's better when I listen directly in Spanish.
I believe that historically, if it would be possible to make a very strong argument that material compensation to the Saramaka people as a whole, would be within the traditions and customs of reparations. If one considers what happened during the wars, where the Saramaka people as a whole were involved in it. The people who are receiving tribute, who are receiving numbers of goods such as those that I've specified this morning, some of which you have listed on one of the pages of the chapter of a book that was distributed to you. Those were given to the Saramaka people as a whole, material damages given, for wrongs committed by the colonial Government, and they were given as tribute, and they were given every year, until the middle of the 19th Century. So that it seems to me, that a symbolic gesture to the Saramakas as a whole, some sort of public apology, investigation, and so on, would certainly not be considered adequate, under Saramaka traditions. I think that material, that the receipt of material compensation would be the only way, from their point of view, in terms of their traditional legal system, to compensate the Saramaka people as a whole, for the violation of their territory and of their autonomy. As I've said this morning, a symbolic gesture of some sort, whether it be certainly a public apology, certainly an investigation of the perpetrators, and perhaps something else, a monument or something else in Paramaribo, that publicly recognizes this event, so that it wasn't forgotten, is the sort of thing, the Saramakas would feel was adequate, with some way towards compensating the wrongs that were done to them as a people. Have I answered your question?
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: All right. Thank you.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl Juez Barberis?
JUEZ BARBERIS: Querría pedirle algunas aclaraciones respecto de lo que usted dijo esta mañana. En primer lugar, el señor Grossman ha distribuido un capítulo, unas páginas de una obra suya y usted ha hecho mención a un trabajo, un artículo académico que usted ha escrito sobre el nivel de vida, o la vida desde el punto de vista económico de los Saramakas, por ejemplo, cuánto ganaban, qué salarios tenían, etc. ÀPuede usted acompañar al Tribunal un ejemplar completo de este libro y algunas fotocopias de sus otros artículos?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I would be happy to provide the Court with a complete set of the books that I've written about the Saramaka, which cover many of the things that we've talked about today. All of them, I am afraid are in English or French, there is only one that has been translated into Spanish, a book that was published by Siglo XXI in Mexico, that's called "Sociedades Cimarronas, Comunidades Esclavas Rebeldes en las Américas", which is a fairly general introduction to maroon societies in the Americas, and in which the Saramakas only figure as one, among a number of other societies. The other 14 or so books that I could provide you, one of which is in Dutch, I guess, speak directly to Saramaka realities, economics, social, historical, and I would be happy to provide the Court with copies of those. It will take me several weeks to arrange that, and because I don't have with me any books, then I will have to ask for them from publishers, and then have them forwarded directly to you.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Otra pregunta es ésta. Usted dice que algunos hombres Saramakas van a la costa, trabajan un tiempo, ganan un dinero y después vuelven. ÀCuánto tiempo se quedan, antes de salir de nuevo?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The standard pattern during the past 20 years, would be to go out for 3 or 4 years at a time, and then to come back for 3 or 4 years, and then to go out for 3 or 4 years, and then to come back for 3 or 4 years, and during that period, normally their wives wait for them, back home, knowing that when the man comes back, they are going to be the recipients of a considerable amount of goods, which they, which they would lose if they took up with another man in the meantime.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Muchas gracias. Respecto al interior de la comunidad Saramaka, Àhay dinero, circula dinero en efectivo?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Beginning in the 1960's, a small amount of cash, has been circulating, so that there are now, in some Saramaka Villages, very small stores, which sell a few things, like some cans of sardines, soft drinks, a candy, flashlight batteries, things of that sort, a very small corner store, kind of thing, perhaps one, there might be one every several Villages. People do have pocket money, so that there is a small amount of money circulating, but traditionally, and so today, the great bulk of the cash that is earned on the coast, is converted into goods before the man comes back to Saramaka.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Otra cuestión. Respecto de la propiedad inmueble, digamos, Àexiste alguien que se considera propietario de un terreno, hay algún título, o se trata solamente de una ocupación y nada más?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The Saramaka people, the Saramaka nation, if we can call it that, as a whole, have a particular territory that you can see on that map. In terms of agricultural land, and the land in which they have their houses, they are held communally, by large kinship groups, of which there are 13 or 14 in Saramaka, and the whole river is divided into large areas of several miles long, owned by one of this particular groups. Every Saramaka belongs to one of these groups, through his or her mother, these groups are called Lo. They are what anthropologists call matrolineal clans, but you belong, every Saramaka belongs to one, and only one Lo. A person's Lo owns particular land, and any member of the Lo's has rights to work, to ask the Village Captain, in the area where the Lo owns lands, for an area to cut gardens. Any member of the Lo has a right to pick food from trees that grow in that area. Members of other Lo's, other Saramakas have to ask permission in order to pick food. But land is held communally, and it's held for posterity, so that if I am given a particular garden, for the present, I do not have rights to pass that particular place on to my children, rather the matrilineal group as a whole, that corporation owns it, and individuals come to the leaders, the Captains, and ask permission to use it for a particular period.
JUEZ BARBERIS: En un escrito que ha presentado el Gobierno de Suriname, éste ofrece pagar parte de la indemnización en especie. Según lo que usted ha explicado, creo que carecería de sentido que el Gobierno de Suriname entregue tierras en propiedad, porque esa propiedad ya la tienen. Ahora, Àqué otro bien material estima usted que el Gobierno de Suriname podría ofrecer como parte de la indemnización y que tendría verdaderamente sentido?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It's very difficult for me to think of anything that they could give in turn. As you've indicated, land is already Saramakas, it does not belong to the Government of Suriname. And it seems to me that the giving of particular material goods, such as outboard motors, and chain saws, and so forth, would be an arbitrary imposition on the part of whomever made the decision, of the Government, because it would take away the choice of how, of what goods the families wanted to buy themselves, and it seems to me that it's always been a choice of a man who owns the money, or a person who is his compensation, to buy with that money, the things that they need at that time, and it seems to me reasonable, that shouldn't be imposed by the Government in Paramaribo, but should rather be the choice to the injured parties.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Yo voy a hacerle ahora dos o tres preguntas acerca de cuestiones jurídicas, pero le pido que no las responda como jurista, sino simplemente según lo que usted ha visto.
La primera es la siguiente: cuando se comete un delito dentro de la comunidad, Àinterviene la justicia de Suriname, o hay, digamos, una autoridad tribal que decide y que aplica una sanción?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: In my experience, since the 1960's I'm aware of only one case, in which the Saramakas asked for assistance from the Government, the judicial system of Suriname. Other than that, there is a very competent and clear judicial system in Saramaka, which works through the appointed assistant headmen, Captains, and parama Chief, the Grandman, and depending on the severity of the crime, the men's Council meetings of different orders, for something, for instance, involving land disputes between two of the kinds of claims that I was talking about, or a murder, then the Captains from all over the river, would be called to the Village, to the Saramaka capital, the Village of the Grandman, and will meet, often over 2 or 3 days, in very complex legal procedures, that are very well qualified, and deal with it. The only exception that I'm personally aware of, occurred during the attempt of the Suriname national Government to introduce voting in Saramaka territory, for the national elections in Suriname, it was the year that I referred to earlier in response to a question, from the Agent of Suriname. It was, if I remember correctly, in 1967, when a Saramaka, who had been living in the city for many years, came to the Saramaka capital, along with some of the agents of the Government of Suriname, who were setting up a voting procedure, and attempted to assassinate the Grandman of the Saramakas during the night, by setting fire to the house where he was presumed to be sleeping. At that time, there were, as part of the delegation that was trying to introduce voting into the interior, there were one or two policemen, from the city who came along with the observers of the election, and the people who were setting up the booths, and at that time, the Grandman was not injured, in fact, in this assassination attempt, he was sleeping in a separate, in a different house. And he asked the policemen to apprehend the perpetrator, and he was, the man was taken to the city, and there was a trial there, but that's the only case that I know of. And that was very much mixed up with the notion of outsiders coming in, and doing something unusual.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Entonces, Àusted conoce casos en los cuales ha habido una sanción penal por parte de las autoridades de los Saramakas mismos? ÀHay alguna autoridad tribal que ha aplicado una sanción al culpable, en un juicio, o en un procedimiento legal?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Certainly, since the 18th Century, Saramakas have been doing that, on a regular basis. During the 18th Century, capital punishment was administered by Saramakas, to people who committed very grave crimes. Capital punishment by burning at the stake was done during the 18th Century, at the same time that in the capital of Suriname some of the executions of the sort that you saw, are being judicially sanctioned by the Courts of the Dutch. The Saramakas Courts, as Court system, the internal customary law system, makes judgments on a nearly a daily basis, and applies sanctions, fines are the most common one, and those fines are, fines usually counted in goods, a hundred lengths of clothes, because, as I've said, not a great deal of money circulates in the interior, rather what people have is goods. But fines are very often levied for breaches of law.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Otra pregunta. ÀEs costumbre que los soldados de Suriname, cuando entran en el territorio de los Saramakas, pidan permiso?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I had never known of Suriname soldiers entering Saramaka territory until approximately the time of these incidents, so I have never, I would have no knowledge of that, but the answer is that, another way to answer that question is that, to my knowledge, everyone including the District Commissioner, other officials of the Suriname Government who wanted to come into Saramaka territory, always asks permission, and always dealt with considerable respects, dealt with the Captains and the Grandman with considerable respect.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Dejemos de lado los soldados. ÀUsted conoce algún caso en que las autoridades civiles del Gobierno de Suriname cuando entran, generalmente piden permiso?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, when civil authorities come. In the old days, let's say, during the 1960's, during the period when we first were in Suriname, as I mentioned this morning, permission was asked when you first entered the territory, by sending a canoe all the way to the Chief's Village and waiting, and being either refused or being accepted for entry to come and talk. More recently, there's been radio telephone, and that is operated intermittently, and sometime during the 1970's there was a radio telephone that was operating at the hospital, run by the Dutch Ebegei, the moravian missionaries. They had contact with the city, and it was possible, through that means, for the Government to send a message to the Grandman, saying that a Minister so and so, would like to meet with the Grandman, would you receive him on Tuesday, if he arrived by plane, and that was done. And today, it's my understanding from speaking with the Grandman the other day, there is a radio telephone in the Grandman's Village, and he says that he speaks on a daily basis, with the District Commissioner for the Interior that is an employee of the Suriname Government in Paramaribo, and they ask each other, they say good morning to each other, and if there is anything that needs to be communicated, they do communicate.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Mi última pregunta es la siguiente: Usted, esta mañana, se refirió a la posibilidad de que hubiera un fideicomiso en beneficio de las víctimas. Dijo también que sabe que el Grandman tiene una cuenta bancaria en Paramaribo o en otra ciudad. Yo le pregunto, Àpodría tener sentido que se estableciera un fideicomiso directamente en favor de los familiares de las víctimas? Me refiero a lo siguiente. ÀUsted cree que los familiares inmediatos de las víctimas podrían ir a un banco, retirar mensualmente, o cada dos meses, un dinero, firmar, etc.? ÀEso lo ve posible usted?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: There are a number of fairly complicated technical issues imbedded in your question, I believe, because of the existence of a free market in currency in Suriname, and a banking system which really isn't being used by anyone who can possibly avoid it, because, they are getting a rate of 10 times as much for their currency in the open market, in the market place. Therefore, the use of banks. A bank is used, for example, by people who receive Government salaries, but for people who are earning money anywhere else, and I don't know, I have no idea of how the Court may decide to handle this case, but the question of using a bank, is making a presumption that the money is going to be paid in Suriname Guilders, because that's the only way a bank in Suriname would pay money. If you assume that, it seems to me that it would not be unreasonable to have individuals able to go to a bank on a monthly basis, or perhaps, better, a quarterly basis, because it's a very long trip, they wouldn't in fact, come every month. But if it were possible to come on a quarterly basis, or a semi-annual basis, and receive a sum, I know of no reason why they couldn't do that, as long as, many of these people cannot write, but if they are able to make a mark legally, and I do not know what the laws of Suriname are, in terms of banking, then that would seem to me a perfectly reasonable possibility for individuals, in other words, for a father, or a sister, of one of the deceased.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Tengo una pequeña aclaración, hoy en la mañana lo que planteamos nosotros frente a lo que respondió el doctor Price, es un fideicomiso a favor de los niños, de los menores de edad, no un fideicomiso a favor de las víctimas en general. Esa era la proposición nuestra. Eso era lo que quería aclarar, no más, no a favor de las víctimas mayores de edad.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl Juez Nieto?
JUEZ NIETO: Señor Price, a una pregunta hipotética sobre cómo podría repartirse una indemnización, usted dijo que probablemente se reunirían en un grupo familiar y ahí se decidiría cómo se repartiría. A mi no me quedó claro, si en esa reunión hipotética, participarían todas las esposas y sus parientes, o una esposa, o se harían varias reuniones, una por cada esposa.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: My understanding of the proposition, the brief that is before the Court is that, the question of the distribution of compensation for each of the deceased has already been, meetings have already been held, and that the proposition in each case for each of the deceased were, you have a list of several dependents, so many wives, so many children, such and such a percentage, to this person, such and such a percentage to another, that is the result of meetings that have been held by family members in the presence of the Village Captain, in other words... NOTA DEL TRANSCRIPTOR. ESTE CASSETTE NO. 2, LADO 4 QUEDA INCONCLUSO. COMIENZA CASSETTE NO. 3 LADO 5.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Except the procedures that are suggested by Professor Grossman and his team, that there would not need to be further meetings about the distribution, in other words, if that has already taken place, and those are outlined for you, in the case of each of the victims, where it says, such and such a wife would receive 20% of whatever compensation's awarded for that person, you know, a grandmother, and the names are all there, in other words, it has already been decided. Meetings have been held in each Village, with each kin group, in which they've decided how they would distribute the compensation were to be awarded, so I don't think further meetings about that would be held that would be necessary. Those procedures have already taken place.
JUEZ NIETO: Volviendo un poco al tema de la tierra, le entendí hace un momento que la tierra es comunal y que los hijos no la heredan. ÀPiensa usted que las esposas de las víctimas hoy no tienen huerta que cultivar? ÀO sí la tendrán?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The issue is not one of land, the issue is having a man to clear the land for them. There is land available to every Saramaka, by which they will be in Saramaka, by their birthright, they are allowed to ask for a piece of land. The Saramakas live in the tropical forest, in the extension of the Amazonian Forest, and in order to make a garden, a man has to spend many weeks cutting down very large trees, and clearing them, clearing the underbush and cutting down very large trees, a couple of hectares where, so that, there is no, a widow for example of one of the victims, is in no different position from anyone else in terms of having access to land, the way that she would differ, is that she would no longer have a man to do that labor for her, and therefore she wouldn't have a garden.
JUEZ NIETO: ÀCuánto tiempo le puede durar, una vez que se limpia la tierra?, Ào hay que estar cambiando, porque la tierra no responde?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Usually about two years, very usually two rice harvest, and some plants like plantains, and casaba, continue yielding for a couple of years, but a woman normally needs a new ground every two years, a new large garden cut every two years, she will, for a certain period, go back to her old one and take out the residual crops that are still there, that still keep growing, but she needs a new garden to grow staples every two years.
EL PRESIDENTE: El Juez Buergenthal?
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Doctor Price, in response to Doctor Barberis' question, you talked about the Court system that exists, and you talked about penal proceedings, Àwhat happens when a person gets killed, is there only a penal sanction that attaches?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Since capital punishment ended, it ended much later among the Yuca people, who were still burning people 40 years ago, the Saramakas haven't done that for about 100 years. The compensation, this corporal punishment, public corporal humiliation, whipping, sitting in the sun, and there are very severe material damages that are paid, as compensation to the bay, to the matrilineal, to the victim.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: How are those determined?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Those are determined by the Council, which consists of the Captains and the elders, presided over by the Grandman, and they are very standard judicial proceedings in which representatives of both sides speak to the Council in which the Captains leave the Grandman all alone, as if the President were left all alone and the others of you were to go out and discuss it, and then come back and tell the President, the Grandman, what decision has been reached, so that it's done democratically, by consensus.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Have you witnessed one of those?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Yes, I've witnessed all kinds of judicial proceedings.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Have you had a sense of a standard that was being applied?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I think that Saramaka law is applied, very much taking into account the context, the circumstances, the wealth of the parties, the circumstances of the crime, so that many different factors are taken into account, as in western law, the people who are making these decisions together, have each witnessed large numbers of such proceedings in the past, and although they don't refer to, well in fact they do refer to Presidents, that is, as part of the discussion, they can say, they can refer to something that happened 20 years ago, to other cases, in making a decision now.
Indeed, one of my books, which I will send you, called "First Time" takes oral traditions, which were told to me by Saramaka elders, during the 1960's and 1970's, about events that took place in the 18th Century, including some criminal cases, which ended in burning at the stake, and it then takes documents that I discovered during 3 different years in the Netherlands, working in the .........., the National Archdioceses of the Netherlands, and puts them next to each other about the same incidents, we have a number of incidents that I had described to me through the memories, the collective memories of Saramakas that have lasted for 200 years, and we have contemporary documents written by Dutch officials, colonial officials, and the general reaction to that book, was one of astonishment on the part of scholars because of the tremendous accuracy and depth of memory of Saramakas today, about their past. And although they don't write or read in general, Saramakas are constantly thinking about Presidents, they're constantly giving equivalents to footnotes, as they speak, saying, telling exactly where they learned a particular piece of information, from whom, and under what circumstances, very much though, as scholars use footnotes.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: You've mentioned that they would also give a war material damages, how would, what kind of material damages are we talking about?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: We're taking about the equivalent to monetary damages, as I've mentioned, currency did not circulate, so, they would be damages of a hundred lengths of cloth and ten bottles of rum, and everyone would know how much that cost, at the current prices, so it would be exactly like saying, you know, five hundred dollars or seven hundred dollars, but it would be expressed in terms of. Usually, usually cloth and rum were the media of exchange withing the society. The same would be true, if for example, my wife were ill, and I called a ritual specialist in, someone to make medicines for her, I would pay that specialist in cloth, usually, and sometimes in bottles of rum as well.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: If we made an award, to say a group, would that award be one that could not be challenged before the Grandman?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Challenged by whom?
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Because the Grandman decided that the award should have gone to some other people, and begin distributing it?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I'm not sure if I understand. As I understand it, there are two kinds of awards we are talking about. One which would go to family members, to dependents, and there is another type of award we're talking about, which would go to the Grandman on behalf of the Saramaka people, and in that case.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: I mean the first.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The first one. No, the Grandman is very well aware. I sat down and went over with him, what was going to be presented to this Court, he was made aware that, he knew, because of meetings that were held in Suriname, which I was not present, in the recent past, he has a very good sense of who the dependents are, who the people are, who would be receiving damages, and he is fully in accord with the procedures and with the identification of those people, so in no way could he or would he challenge those. Those were arrived at by normal Saramaka communal customary law procedures.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: But suppose we arrived at them in some way that differed from those procedures?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: And the question then is how would he react?
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Is he bound? Can he distribute it to somebody else?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: That's a very difficult question to answer because I'm not sure who the people are.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: You said, you explained to him and he understands now, which suggests that if he didn't understand, he would have all kinds of lead ways to make some other determination.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: No, that is not what, my intent was not to imply that, it was simply to, it was simply my way of answering your question, is to whether he might disagree with these things. I was trying to say that he felt that this was an equitable incorrect distribution.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: I misunderstood you. Let me switch to another subject.
You said initially that men would go out do this work and then they come back after a year or two with the money. Then you mentioned that now, women are going, specially to French Guyana, Àis that beginning to be customary, are more and more women going?, and you mentioned a substantial number of people.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Until the late 1960's, Saramaka women were prohibited by their families from leaving Saramaka territory, except once in their life, it was traditional for a father or a mother's brother to take a girl, when she was 12 or 13 years old, to the city, when he was making a brief trip, for 3 or 4 days, so that she would see the city, so that she would know what a horse was, or a car, a street, and so forth. And then, the rest of her life, she would come back to Saramaka, and she would know what those things are when men sat around and talked about them, told about the wonders of the city.
Beginning in the late 60's, some of the oracles and Council meetings that decide these things in Saramaka, began to allow men to take one of their wives with them when they went to the coast to work, and it's now become quite standard for men to choose one of their wives and to take her with them. It makes life for the man, much easier, in that he has someone to cook for him, yes, someone to be with at night, and so forth.
A very common pattern which we've seen many times in the last three years in French Guyana, is for a man to bring a wife for a year or two, then to bring her back to Saramaka to pick up his second wife and bring her back, and then perhaps even to bring a third back, so that each of them has a term, and then to come back to Saramaka, and live for several years.
Those women do not work. What the women do is, they support their men, they often come with one or two children, and they're basically taking care of children and cooking and doing domestic work around the house, but they do not earn money.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: You were asked by Council for Suriname about whether you knew the per capita income of people in Suriname. I was a little bit surprised when you mentioned that in two years period, for example, they could earn $15,000, or Àdid I get that wrong? That seems a lot of money, when you look at per capita distribution.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The standard wage for Saramakas who do the most mineal kind of work, and right now in Kourou or Sannaraa, is approximately, was a year ago, FF 300 a day, that translates roughly into US$60.00 a day. If you multiply that by 6 days a week, you've got $360 a week, multiply that by a year, so 50 times 3, what have we got, $15.000-$16.000 in U.S. dollars. When they take that money back to Suriname, and let's say that they use, 20%-30% of that to live on, maybe less, I would estimate 15% or 20%, when they take that money back to Suriname and exchange it on the market, they get quite large numbers of Guilders, because as I've said before, the official rate is a 10th of the market rate, that's available on the street. So that we're talking about quite large amounts of money.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: $60 a day?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: $60 dollars a day is the minimum wage in French Guyana, absolutely. And many Saramakas earn more than that, those who have been working for a period of time. These are people who are doing construction work, digging ditches, working as janitors, cleaning out toilets at the Space Center, building roads, working on the dam that' s being built, a large dam in French Guyana, and so forth.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Just one more question, if I may. When we talked about banking systems. If we decided to establish a bank account, I had the sense that you sort of implied that they might be losing money if you put it in a bank, because nobody else puts money in a bank. Is that correct?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: It's very difficult for me to think about this, in this particular setting, it would be easier for us, sitting around over drinks, talking about, because I don't have the answers to this. On the one hand Suriname, the Republic of Suriname is in a very difficult financial position at present. Suriname currency is worthless on the world market. If you have a Suriname Guilder and you try to exchange it anywhere in the world in a bank, they'll laugh at you, except in Suriname. If you have an American dollar, which in a Suriname bank is worth, if I go to the bank with an American dollar they would give me, I believe, well 1.9 guilders. 1.85, I'm not sure, the same rate that they were giving 25 years ago. But if I take that dollar to anyone on the street, they'll give me 22 Suriname Guilders, so that when you think about, also inflation is very high, there is hyper-inflation in Suriname, which means that, when you think about making an award, and the possibility of making such an award in a stable currency, such as Dutch Guilders, which might be the most natural one, or U.S. dollars, might make a lot of sense, but the problem is that there would have to be some mechanism which guaranteed these people that they would be receiving, in other words, it would cost, the money would be worth, worth much more to the recipients, if it were in hard currency, and they can then convert it at their own, if in fact they have to go to the Dutch bank, the Suriname banking system, they would be getting only, a tenth of the value of the money, as if it would being paid to them, in hard currency, and I'm not particularly competent to work out with you, as the economist who would know how to handle this kind of problem, since the money would be coming from Suriname, and Suriname presumably doesn't have hard currency. I really don't know what the solution is, but from the Saramaka point of view, Suriname Guilders, that are paid through the Suriname banking system, are only worth a tenth of what the same amount of money coming in French franks from someone who's working in French Guyana is, or someone who has a dollar. I don't know if I can say anything more.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: So when they come in with that money from French Guyana, they just bring it in cash, and then they sell on the black market?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: That's right, and it's my understanding that's completely widespread, that no one in Suriname does anything else.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Thank you.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀLa Juez Picado?
JUEZ PICADO: Thank you. I have some questions because I have trouble understanding the family structure, which I imagine is natural. May I ask a question? Do you have any idea if any of these wives have remarried?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I have no idea. I do not have information about particular people involved in this case. I've not been back to Suriname since these atrocities took place, and I only knew one of the individuals who was killed personally, and he was young and not yet married.
JUEZ PICADO: Now, if a family is, let's say destroyed, by adultery or whatever, does the woman keep the right to the children, to the money they had before, you know, to the goods that the husband had brought before? Do you have any idea of any kind of regulation of this sort?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: You're asking whether, are you asking about inheritants, in other words, what the man might've owned, and who that goes to?
JUEZ PICADO: No, the way I understand, I understand it, is that a man goes out, comes back with a lot of goods, and these goods gives to his family, mainly to his wife. Now, one thing that seems to me a little difficult to understand is that a man can have many wives, but at the same time he goes away for long periods of time. And it seems to me rather logical that the women will get pregnant from somebody else, in that case, maybe you're answering my question, but it seems to me that in that case, can she keep the children, because, his children anyway, and can he keep the goods he has brought, because you also made a statement that I would like for you to explain to me a little better. The identity is given by the mother, so what rights does that, what does that mean, I mean.
SR. RICHARD PRICE: You've asked several different questions. The mother, nothing that happens to a father can sever the tie between a mother and her children. The children are the children of that mother, whether the man is dead or whether the man goes away, or anything else. The Saramaka family is not a nuclear family in the sense of a western boujui family.
I'm trying to think of the parts of your question, they were two or three. You are asking whether the woman keeps things if the man goes away. She keeps whatever she has been given, those are hers, and her children are always hers.
You supposed that women often get pregnant while their husbands are away for 3 years or 4 years. Surprisingly, very few women, surprisingly perhaps from a western point of view, the very great majority of Saramaka women remain faithful to their husbands during the period that they are away working, and they do so, in part for romantic reasons, in part for very practical reasons, because they know, that when that husband comes back, they are going to receive a windfall, they are going to receive the things that they need to live for the next 4 or 5 years, and if they don't wait, if a woman becomes pregnant by another man, after some compensation is paied, through the Saramaka legal system, she will become the wife of that other man, if she wants to, usually, so that she no longer will have rights when her husband comes back with the goods. They're divorced. So that by becoming pregnant, or by having an affair without, and getting caught without becoming pregnant, she gives up her rights to a lot of material goods which are very important to her, and that certainly is part of the reason why the great majority of Saramaka women remain faithful to their husbands while they're away, even for very long periods. So they suffer sexual deprivation in return for material goods.
JUEZ PICADO: Maybe you answered my question by saying that the women keep the right to the children and keep the children, because I was thinking that if the Court gave a certain amount of money, to a woman, and then, she remarried, will she still be able then, to keep the money, and apparently yes?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: Absolutely. Women and men in Saramaka society are very independent of one another, they each have their own houses, a couple does not have a house together, a woman has her house, a wife will have her house, a husband will have his house, and he will visit her. If he has two wives, which is common, he will visit one wife. He will hang his hunting sack, in the front of her house for three nights, three days, and then he goes to the other one for three days, and the first one for three days, and the other, except for when they're having their menstrual periods, they go into seclusion, and the husband doesn't come to them during that period.
There's a good deal of equity required of men in terms of dealing with their wives. One of the books that I will send you is a book written by Sally Price, to whom I'm married, which is called "Koads in Kalabashes". It won a feminist prize in the United States. It describes what it's like to be a woman in a society in which you legally share your husband with other women. It describes relationships between the wives of the same man, and has a lot of details about the family system, which may be useful to the Court.
JUEZ PICADO: A short question. I don't want you to expound on this too much. But since so much has been emphasized that these people, specially the wives and children, get mainly goods, because I don't see them keeping the dollars, it wouldn't make sense. Would a kind of compensation, on the part of the Government, on periodical handling of goods, makes some sense to you? Because it seems to me, with the devaluation, and the problems, the technical problems that even money implies, would it make some sense to you that it could be a commitment for a certain amount of time, all ex-number of goods that could be estimated, does that make sense?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: The problem... I think we would get back into the kinds of problems that there were in the 18th Century, every year, when the Government... the Government had committed itself by the treaties to give a certain amount of goods each year, and every year when the goods came, there were terrible problems about the quality of the goods, and exactly what the Government was proffering, and it seems to me that there is an important principle here, to treat Saramakas like adult, fragile people rather than its words in substance, who don't have the judgment to buy the things that they want to buy, it seems to me that, over time, I know, that over time in Suriname, for instance cloth, which is one of the important kinds of goods that Saramakas buy, that they kinds of cloth available have changed quite substantially, the sources of supply, have changed during the last 20 years, with the last 50 years, from during the Second World War, cloth came from the United States because of blockades with Europe, it later came from Japan, it later came from the People's Republic of China, then lots of shifts in what their preferences are. And they are very specific preferences, and I would worry that, unless Saramakas had a very strong hand in choosing the goods that they were buying, that it would be, there could be bad faith, and there would be disputes and problems, between the Government or whoever is responsible for distributing these things in the Saramakas, and it seems to me in a sense, that part of recognizing them as dignified human beings, involves, allowing them to choose the quality of cloth that they want and the type of cloth, and that if we got into having the Minister of Economics of Suriname or someone else, the Department of the Interior, giving out the cloth that he thought was appropriate, then we would get into very serious problems, and we would defeat the purpose of just compensation.
JUEZ PICADO: One more question. For most of these cultures it is difficult to accept any kind of legal system, because they have their own legal system, as you have explained. When you talk to them, what is their perception of an Inter American Court and how do they feel about the fact that Suriname has recognized these violations of Human Rights? Do you think they feel comfortable with that, do they trust the Court and the work of the?
SR. RICHARD PRICE: I think that because of the way that I have presented the work of the Court to them, that they have provisional trust in the Court. Saramakas feel very strongly that anyone who works for justice and freedom, is on their side, and they have felt, in many ways, betrayed by the events of the last 12 years in Suriname, since 1980, since the military takeover, and in their view, any International Organization, which recognizes what has happened to them during this period of time, and particularly what has happened during the last 6 years, the suffering that they have endured as a people, because of events totally beyond their control, that have to do with other people's arguments, I think they would have, they have the greatest respect for it, and they have, I was quite clear with them, that the outcome of this particular case, was completely unknown to me, but they, the Grandman said to me that, that he has tremendous faith in right winning out in the end, and justice being done, and that some day, they will have justice, and I think that he hopes very much that will begin in this Court.
EL PRESIDENTE: Yo ya no tendría preguntas que hacer, todas las que yo pensaba se han hecho, así es que, muchas gracias, creo que con esto termina esta parte de la audiencia y puede retirarse el testigo y le reiteramos las gracias por su cooperación.
Entonces como tenemos que llamar un testigo a continuación, vamos a suspender 10 minutos nada más.
Se reanuda la sesión. Está el señor Stanley Rensch ya en el lugar del testigo, entonces le rogaríamos manifestar ante la Corte, su nombre, nacionalidad y su documento de identificación.
Give your name, nationality and passport number.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Your honor, my name is Rensch, R,e,n,s,c,h, Atiere Stanley Nestor, passport number is R-51-6834.
EL PRESIDENTE: And your nationality?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: My nationality is, Suriname nationality.
EL PRESIDENTE: Thank you. Ruego al señor Secretario leer la prevención que hace la Corte a los declarantes.
SR. MANUEL VENTURA: Los testigos o peritos en su caso, deberán limitarse a contestar, clara y precisamente, la pregunta que se les formula, ajustándose a los hechos o circunstancias que les consten y evitando dar opiniones personales. Se informa a los reclamantes que, de acuerdo con el Artículo 39.2 del Reglamento, los Estados no podrán enjuiciar a las personas que comparezcan ante la Corte, por su testimonio, pero la Corte puede solicitar a los Estados que tomen las medidas que su legislación disponga, contra quienes la Corte decida que han violado el juramento.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor Secretario. Ahora procederemos a tomar el juramento.
ÀJura o declara solemnemente, con todo honor y con toda conciencia, que dirá la verdad, toda la verdad y nada más que la verdad?
Ruego al señor delegado de la Comisión, indique la persona que va ha hacer las preguntas al testigo.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Thank you, Mr. President. As previously, I would ask the Court's permission to invite Professor Grossman to conduct the questioning.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, are you a maroon? From which tribe?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I am from the Saramakan tribe, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Which Village?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I am originally from the Village of Gansee.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What languages do you speak, Mr. Rensch?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We do speak Saramaka.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What else?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We furthermore speak Dutch, and I do understand and speak English.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: With a better pronunciation than mine, I would say. sir.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Thank you.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is it... what's your educational background?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I have, apart from the teaching-training, College. I am an educationalist trained in Education of Psychology and also in Educational Policy-Making.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Where did you study?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I studied in Suriname and in Holland, the Netherlands.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Where in the Netherlands?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: In the State of Utrackt, in the Province of Utrackt, rather.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, what's currently your position in Suriname?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: At the moment, I am Director of a Human Right's Organization, the Bureau of the Human Right's Organization, Moiwana 86, in Suriname.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, who funds, Moiwana 86?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We do receive funds from the Dutch. We have received funds, up to now, from the Dutch Ministry of Development Corporation, especially the Humanitarian Division, and we received funds in the past, from Sibimo, that is a co-financing agency, non-governmental co-financing agency from the Netherlands. We do receive funds from also the U.S. Aids, United States Agency for Development Corporation.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What are the functions of Moiwana 86?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Moiwana 86's main functions are to, first of all, identify cases of Human Right's Violations, we register them, make investigation whenever possible, and we do try to make public cases of alleged Human Right's violations, and if we cannot find satisfactory remedies at home, try to find support from International Organizations to bring about change and to improve Human Right's situations at home.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you define Moiwana as a political organization?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No sir, it is not.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, were you the original complainant in the case, the instant case at Court?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir, I am.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, did you assist the Inter American Commission of Human Rights in its process to quantify the damage the victims had suffered as the results of the killings?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir, I did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you receive questionnaires, sent by the Commission and the lawyers of the victims, to assist you in the process of getting the necessary information received by the Court?
SR STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir, we did, received them.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you have a team? A group of people working, assisting you in terms of gathering the information requested?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir, we do have, we do have volunteers as well as members of the Secretariat of the Bureau.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: How many, as a matter of fact, were involved in the process of getting information, so that you could answer our questioners?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: At different stages we had different numbers of people, as according to the requirement then. In the last part in 1992, we had group of more than six people permanently involved, gathering information and processing them.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you share with the Court, what happened once you got a questionnaire asking on material damages, moral damages, suffered by the victim? How did you go about sending us the information? What was the process, please explain that to the Court today?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: First, we had some information available after the occurrences of 1987, at the end of 1987. But after receiving the questionnaires, we went to the interior, we visited the Villages, we visited the people, the dependents, and tried to establish, first of all, the conditions in which they lived, up to this moment, and took note about their position, about the expectations, the knowledge they have about the deceased, and then, back in Suriname, we tried to compare this information, with what we had in the past, and on basis of that, established the first answers on the questions we received from the Inter American, from the Commission.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you mention some dates and amounts of people?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We went there in the beginning of February, in the beginning of February 1992, and I'm referring specially the period after receiving the questionnaires. In the period of February, we went to the interior, and in there, in that period, we had a staff with us, consisting of volunteers and members of the Secretariat, amounting at least 6. We also had, people from the press with us, able to record and to put on video and also on normal photos, the process of recording the information, the process of collecting the information. So we went with that group of six of our volunteers and permanent members of our Bureau, and also with people from the press, who joined us in our trip to the interior.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Well, you went to the interior, you came back, you analyzed the information, and what happened then?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: After the processing of the information, we have been in touch with the Inter American Commission, because there were deadlines to be met, and after, during the typing, and so we, one of the first thing we do, is to exchange the information to find out, if first of all, we do meet the requirements of the Inter American Commission. So we send information by Fax, and try to wait and see if there are additional questions to be answered.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Were there additional questions?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We received some request for clarification from the Inter American Commission, some time by Fax. I should mention that, some of the communications came afterwards, while we happened to be in Holland, so communications went, as far as the Bureau is concerned, to Suriname as well as to Holland, at the address on which we then state.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Was there a second and even a third visit to the interior?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: There were in total, as from February, three visits to the interior, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you share with the Court, the way in which you traveled to the interior?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We traveled to the interior, first in first, in the two cases, we traveled by a small twin motor plane chartered, because traveling to the interior is not always that easy. We traveled by plane, by chartered plane, and we also traveled by boat, by canoes with outboard motors. First, before you reach the area from where you can proceed by boat, you have to travel by bus, or by car, or by truck, hired by the Bureau. So that the journey to the interior went along by using the boat, by using chartered small twin motor airplanes, and also by using a car, motor vehicle.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you ask authorization to the Grandman of the Saramakas to visit the territory?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, at the beginning of the, when we started to complete the questionnaires, one of the first things I did, is myself, went up to the residence of the Grandman, himself, informing him, about the procedure, informing him about the work to be done, in order to complete the questionnaire, and then, from there, coming down, because he lives up river.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could he denied, had denied you going into the territory?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir, he could, he could. I mean, according to the tradition, if he refuses, if he did not want us to proceed, then I do not think that we could have had the support of the people to complete these questionnaires.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Now, let us go a little bit back to the questionnaires. Did you question the families, using the questionnaires, as a guide, not only as a guide, literally, question by question, regarding the losses they had sustained?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir. I spoke with all the members of the defendants, the names mentioned in the questioners, I spoke with them personally, in more than one occasion.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did the families appear to understand the questions and provide accurate responses?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: They definitely understood.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you record their answers to the questions, as those interviewees as we know by the signatures are not literate?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We recorded the answers. We spoke with the members of the families, with the dependents, we spoke in Saramakan language and we did that in the presence of the leaders of the Village, the Captain of the Village, and we did it also in all the cases, we did it, in the presence of other people who are able to understand and translate Saramakan language.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: We can read from the affidavits that there were two witnesses and that the affidavits were notarized, is that correct?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Excuse me, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: That were witnesses and in addition that the affidavits, the sworn statements were notarized, is that correct? Were notarized. The affidavits were notarized by a Public Notary.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: They were notary, yes sir, the affidavits were notarized.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Yea, that's the question.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yea, they were notarized, absolutely, yea.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: You have mentioned also, that the Captain of the Village in each case was present. Could you share with the Court who is the Captain of the Village?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: The Captain of the Village is really the leader of the Village. He has the responsibility to govern the Village, to settle whatever problem there is in the Village. To provide also counseling to whatever problems there might be with the people in the Villages. So he's the one. One has to approach by entering a Village, to ask for his permission, and he's the one to give the support. If the Grandman says alright with me, you can go ahead, we could transfer that information to the Captain of the Village, and he will be supportive to proceed with work in that Village. So in both of the Villages where we had to go after the meeting with the Grandman, we met with the Captains first and they granted us permission to continue, after we informed them about the position of the Grandman.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Were the Captains present when you were questioning the families and gathering information?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir. In both of the cases we did that in the presence of the Captains.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do the Captains of the Village know everyone in the Village?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: They definitely know everyone in the Village.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are they considered an authority figure to be respected by the members of the Village?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: They are considered an authority and they are respected in the Villages.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: How did you establish the identity of the dependents?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We do that, first of all, if you enter the Village by the authority of the Village, someone who knows everybody in the Village who can point out, not only know the people of the Village, but know the problems happening, know the problems in that Village that is one entering, secondly, we have been working along the lines of the Administration, the family books, as we have them in Suriname, many people in the interior, they do have a book of the family in which the names of the children, the names of possible husbands are registered. So we approach the members, the dependents, via the leaders of the Village, and we approach them furthermore, we identify them also by using these family books of the dependents.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What would happen if, as it was the case, some persons were not in the family book?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Then, that means that we know, we are aware of the fact that he belongs to a certain, he is the child, the son of a certain woman, then what we need to do, what we did in some specific case in the past, that we tried to find to locate these people in the Administration of the Government in Paramaribo. Whenever necessary we locate the person in the Administration of the Government and then try therefore, to establish, that this person belong to that woman, as it just been, is a child of that woman, so that we are sure that we are dealing with the son of that woman, from that Village.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are you confident that the proposals involving distribution of compensation, are the proposals of the victims themselves, and represent the collective wish?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Were you a personal witness of that?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I have been personal witness, in all the key activities, including this one, to establish the distribution of the compensation sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are you aware and the victims are aware, that the Commission, on their behalf, was proposing monetary compensation for the material damage, monetary compensation for the moral damages, plus other non-pecuniary means for the families?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we are aware of them, we have been aware of that, and we discussed it with the dependents, and we discussed it also with the leaders of the Villages, with the Captains of the Village.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you meet also, on the matter of compensation for the tribe as a whole with the Grandman?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We discussed this case with the Grandman, in fact we discussed long before we took the trip in February. We discussed the procedure with him and then afterwards, we reiterated, we repeated the procedure, in February and all the way to the Villages. So he's aware of the procedure, he's aware of the questions we would like to present before the dependents.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are the families aware that we proposed a trust for the children?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, they are aware of that.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do you think the dependents were telling the truth, in their affidavits?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I have definitely the belief that they told the truth.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Why?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Because we could verify it, we managed to verify, via the channels within the Village, we managed to verify as far as the members, I mean, being the mother or the father, as far as those things are concerned, we managed to verify our sources, and even before we met with them in the February missions, we had sufficient information, independent from them.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Do you think they understand the concept of swearing, signing, under oath?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would the presence of the Captain of the Village help in that respect.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, let me turn to some other points. Did you observe signs of emotional damage while you were conducting this process, in some of the dependents?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, we did. That what hurt the people most is also the fact that they felt that they had been treated in a unfair and dishonest way, and that happened in many occasions. The people made a lot of effort to come from the interior, the dependents, to travel from the interior and, in the beginning, I mentioned that we had to go by plane, and by boat and by car. They traveled from the interior to Paramaribo to request permission from the authorities to go and locate the bodies and bring the bodies and pay the respect and then take all measures to bury them in a proper way. And all this has been denied. So it has to be a dramatic experience for them in all the bare, they could not, they could hardly digest and understand why they should have been treated in that way.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you have an opportunity to observe the victim Richenel Aside's wife since the death of her husband?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What are the results of your observation?
SR. STANLEY GROSSMAN: When we got the word, immediately after the occurrence took place, we organized a search party to try to locate, because we got word that one man might be still alive, so with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross we managed to locate Aside and they brought him to Paramaribo, to the hospital, and immediately after arrival we went to the hospital.
In those days Suriname had the visit of the mission from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, so we had the opportunity to present the case before the members of that Commission, and together with the member of that Commission, we went to the hospital, and I am aware of the fact that, together with the member of that Commission, we also took a statement from Rishinal Aside about the occurrences.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Was that an isolated experience, the suffering by one wife, or was that shared by the wife's victim?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: It was shared. The problem in such a Village and also if the mother or other members of the family come to Paramaribo, it is a shared responsibility, it is a shared type of commitment they have to protect one another as much as possible. So the feeling of the damage done is not a matter of one woman, or a woman, or the mother, or the sister alone. I can assure it is the whole Village. In all the Villages where we have to go, there has to be a "crudu", that is a general session of the Village, people of the Village, those who are to be held responsible to discuss occurrences and make a development in the Village. So we attended meetings of the Villages on behalf of these occurrences and also on the measures to be taken to repair.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you have an opportunity to see and to witness a situation of the children of the deceased?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we do.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you comment on their situation?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: For example, in the case of Aside, we went to his Village, and that is Grantatai, in Saramaka Village, and in that Village, we not only met one of the wives of Aside not only the mother, but we also met with the children of Aside, and we spoke with them. We took pictures of them because in our documentation in Paramaribo we need to have all this type of things, in order to facilitate whatever procedures might be required later. So we spoke with them, and we took picture, we took notes about the problems they have whether they are at school at the moment and what type of provisions are made for them to continue after the departure of the father.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you consider the situation is equal to those children that do have a father?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No, sir, absolutely not.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Why not?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Because, first of all, the father is, in many cases in the interior, not only, is not primarily the man, to make sure that you can go to school, pay your fee, and purchase your booklets, but definitely someone who's responsible to give you the basic training, to survive in the Village. So the relationship between the father and the son, the father and the children, the daughter and the mother, is very essential. So, by losing the father, one can definitely feel, within the Village, a vacuum to be developed in the life of that child.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you consider that a long-lasting suffering?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Definitely.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, let me turn to something else. In the process of getting the information, could you witness moral damage, pain and suffering, suffered by the tribe as a whole?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, in the sense, specially in the case of the children in Grantatai, because there we had, Aside, as a special case, Aside was a very important man in that Village, and that type of importance will be expressed in the way you treat the children, the way you do the child rearing. So, when the father is not there any longer, it's not a matter of missing him, is a matter of losing the basis for growth, for development, for education. Because, the education tradition in that Village, for example, has been blocked. There is non, Aside was responsible for the transportation of children from that environment to schools, and rest assured, we took note of the fact, that there was no transportation left after Aside's departure, between that Village and Santos for education and medical proficient.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, in addition to being a provider then the Saramaka man is the one in charge of transferring the traditions and teaching the ways of the Saramaka people?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: So is the case of Aside an isolated case, or is representative of all the others who were killed?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH. It's basic. That goes for, definitely, the rules of the father in that society.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: What about the impact on the tribe, as a whole, the Saramaka tribe. Could you think that there was a moral damage sustained by the tribe as a whole in terms of his authority?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir. This occurrence at the 31st of December, 1987, went through the whole tribe as a shock wave, it went like a wave from underneath up to the up river in the area of the Grandman. So everybody was shocked. First of all, because human beings had been killed, treated, first of all, because they didn't know, in the beginning it has happened, so they had been treated, they knew about the treatment there, and they were very shocked about it, specially because a Captain was there.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Who was the Captain, could you explain that?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: That's the Captain of Guyaba, the Captain is the man, really in charge of managing life and, you know, counseling in the Village, the Captain of Guyaba, was present then at Atjoni when the occurrences, when the people were tortured, so the Captain himself went to the military leader, the Commander there, to express his, he told the military leader that these people, these men they arrested are not fighters, they do not belong to the jungle commander to the insurgent. So this is a mistake please let them go. And so one of the things that happened here, was the denunciation of the leadership of the tribe, because if a Captain in a Village, if he gives a message, it has to be honored, it has to be accepted, because he's speaking as an authority. It was rejected, it wasn't accepted. And then the damage was tremendous, when afterwards, they learned that these men were not taken to the military prison but were killed on the way to the military prison. One of them remained alive and we could fortunately find him, but these men were killed, they were massacred, they were given a spike to dig their own grave, and then, after that, left alone in the forest. The family came to Paramaribo, requested permission to search and find the people, and if they are dead is all right they said, we could find them and bury them ourselves, even in that case, permission was not granted.
So we are dealing here with a treatment of human beings which was experienced as a tremendous blow to the dignity of the people in that area.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did the Saramakas and the families mention the fact that the Captain in charge of the unit that committed these atrocities, namely Captain Leifland, was never punished by the Government of Suriname?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, everybody knows in the interior that it wasn't even questioned, even during the, when the case has to be investigated, they know in the interior, that the body, the people wanted to have the bodies of their loved ones, it couldn't be delivered, and then upon the request of the medical, of a specialist, they brought bodies to Paramaribo, which turned out not to be the right ones. The whole story has been a confrontation with a way of treating them, which they cannot accept, and they, but they are not able themselves to fight against these type of things, so they are left alone, not to be protected by the Government they do not have any protection because the leaderships are protecting them, not by means of fighting the Government because they are not able to fight the Government, they are not able to fight the military, so they are completely vulnerable in the way of life, and so, they are left alone, and this thing is dragging on since 1987, up to now, and no one, I'm sure, went there, to discuss the problems with them. Now that is damaging for their own dignity and the way they have been looking at themselves.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: In the process of getting information for the Commission you came to discover many things. If somebody would say, the only ones who suffer were the families of those who were killed, Àwould you agree with this?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No. No, sir. The Saramaka tribe, I think everybody on the river if you ask them, if they, for example, know Aside, they will say yes. So, all the young men from the Gujaba, that is the Village on the Nieuw Nickerie Grantatai, who manage to work in Paramaribo, they work to bring in currency, let's say money, in order to facilitate the economy of the Villages to buy whatever they need outside the Villages. So these people, with the capacity to work, to earn and specially if they have the tradition to try to serve the society, to bring whatever needed in the interior, to bring that to the family, to bring them to members of the Village, so they are well known. They are all of them known in the Village and everybody you ask in the interior, will be able to say yes, for example, Aloeboetoe, that man is from that Village, Aside is from that Village. So they will be able to know. So hurting them, that's why it went as a shock wave up river and down.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: While you were investigating, at our request, the losses suffered by the victims and the tribe, did you encounter other groups of the Government was trying to conduct a similar investigation?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Are you sure about this?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I am definitely sure about it, because we have been in contact with the people, and we brought them to Paramaribo, we went to the Villages, and we're very sad to say that the Organization Moiwana 86, was the only one then, to communicate with them on these cases.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Couple of other things that I want to reiterate to be certain. The distribution of compensation. Is the distribution of compensation that was requested by the victims, by the dependents themselves?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: The issue of moral compensation to the tribe, was discussed with the Grandman?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: This was discussed with the Grandman, and also with the Filis, with the leaders of the Village, the Captains of the Villages and other people at the Crudus.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would you say then, that the allocation of some things, something that happened in Washington and the wind of the lawyers said during this type of exercise or would you describe otherwise, the way which we are proposing the distribution of compensation?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: As far as the people are concerned, they are all aware of our presence here at the moment, and they do hope that, since we in Suriname, failed to bring about a kind of remedy, so they do hope, that whether it comes from Washington, or wherever, that we, in the Community of Human Rights can find a solution, that we could give them some feeling of being someone, about whom, anywhere in the world, other people are thinking and trying to find solution for their grievances.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, the family members requested material compensation, is that correct?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: That's correct, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Would they be satisfied only with money?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I don't think so, I don't think so.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did they require symbolic ways, non- pecuniary ways as apologies, apologies by the Government?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yea, I think it will be essential for, within the relationship in Suriname, because that might be the easiest way to just give them a sum of money and just forget about it. I think from the human point of view, it might end up to be a top of humiliation, and we can't, well, as a human right's worker, I don't think we can do that.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: On the other hand, would apologies suffice?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Apologies has to be provided, that's to be given, but we are now talking about the material compensation, the people should know that we recognize, that Suriname recognizes that there has been a mistake here, and that we have to do everything in our power to make sure that this thing doesn't happen again. It is not only a matter of apology, it's not only a matter of material compensation.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, do you think that the families are capable of handling the compensation, or someone else should decide on whether the adults should get other types of things than money?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: I think, as far as the others, apart from the proposal with regards to the children, as far as the adults is concerned, I think they are able, capable of handling all this. I don't see any reason why they are not. They managed to survive, they manage to handle their affairs in the interior, so I don't see a reason to doubt their capacity to handle that part. But as far as the children are concerned, additional matters, as proposed, should be taken.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Mr. Rensch, I want to talk to you on some issues relevant to the payment of costs, in the case. Did you, acting for Moiwana 86, incurred in expenses in pursuing remedies in this case at the request of the lawyers of the families and the families themselves?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did Moiwana pay for a visit to the interior of Suriname, to search for victims and obtain information on the case, from January through March, 1988. There is a type in our brief, and the cost was 1,500.00.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: You are under oath here, and please I ask you too, you participated in this by giving out the amounts, but I want your testimony on this. Did you incur in cost, informing the public about the killings, including costs for a newsletter, for translation of proceedings in the case into Dutch, on December 89 through March '92?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Was the cost 1,600.00, Surinamese Guilders?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you finance, in order to bring the case before the Inter American Commission, a mission into the interior, to inform the dependents and the tribe of the proceedings, and to gather information requested by your lawyers, to be able to present to the Commission?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We did, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Was the cost 3,000.00?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you incur in costs, you yourself, to travel from Suriname to Washington, to testify before the Commission, at the request of your lawyer, who is asking this question?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: And was the cost $2,500.00?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We did, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: To bring the case before the Inter American Court, did you incur in costs to identify dependents, provide proof, charter planes, boats, organize affidavits, paying public notaries, and other activities, from the inception of the commission's proceedings, from March 1992 and associate it the administrative cost?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you incur in cost to attend this hearing?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: As indicated this cost obviously needs to be added to the whole amount that were presented to the Court. Did you incur in costs to attend the December hearing?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, I did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you incur in cost for legal assistance in Suriname, to screen the questionnaires, for bringing dependents to Paramaribo, to register them, and to have the statements notarized, at the request of your lawyer?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We did, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you incur in cost to inform dependents in the interior, bring them to Paramaribo, provide lodging to them, return them to the interior, in order to prepare the affidavits on damage, including again, chartering a small plane?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir, we did.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: The costs are indicated here, and provided by him.
Did Moiwana 86, also incur in administrative costs, in order to get financing to carry the fund it has put forward to help injured parties procedure remedies?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Oh, yes.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Were activities necessary for the case pursued winning and towards keeping costs as low as possible?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Oh, yes.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: For example?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: For example, in the case of filling in the questionaires and we had timetables to meet, and we have to take care, to be very careful with the funding. Charter a plane is not something which we would like to do, I mean, we are talking about twin motors. But charter one is definitely is not easy. So we, it's not easy and it is also very expensive. It is not something which is on our regular budget. So it means that we, in order to be there, with sufficient people, but to have sufficient witnesses, we have to be, we have to go by boat, there's a group went by boat to prepare the people that we would be coming, and in the meantime, a group together with me, went to the Chief, the Grandman, up the river, and that group, together with me, came down, not by plane again, but came down by boat, and covering Village by Village, in order to meet and speak with all the people. So the group going up by boat, has to prepare them, that on our way back, we have to meet them, if they could please, be prepared. That means that we will be traveling up, people has to sleep on their way, provisions measures has to be taken for them, to be able to remain and sleep in the different Villages, and it is very, very expensive, in both cases, to travel from Paramaribo to the interior, by boat and also by plane. So we try to be as efficient as possible, and at the same time to be as cheap as possible. If we had many more people to travel by plane, it would have been renting for one mention, at least two of these twin motors. And that's something we couldn't afford, definitely.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is it not so, that we would have preferred to bring all the wives and all the children and all the grandparents and mothers to testify before the Court?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Oh yes. I would prefer that, because for us as a Human Rights Organization, it has been a very difficult period to provide all information in time, in the proper way. So it means that we did everything we could.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Is it not so that we couldn't do that because that would have cost us a tremendous amount of money?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Oh yes, is really impossible to bring all the people down here.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: O.K. Mr. Rensch, who has been your lawyer since you started this procedure, before the Inter American Commission?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Professor Grossman has been the lawyer upon our request, and since then, we started with him 'till now.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Have you seen me in Suriname, meeting with you?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: We met in Suriname, and discussed the case.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: That's correct. Did I stay there seven days?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Did you pay for this?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Could you testify, in accordance with the best of your knowledge, that I have put at least 130 hours, minimum, in a very conservative estimate, in this case?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, we did, I am sure sir, we did a lot of work in this respect.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, la Delegación de Suriname tiene una objeción, señor Presidente. Tenemos entendido que el señor Stanley Rensch está aquí, para testimoniar, más bien, para ejercer su función de perito, en cuanto a la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados en este caso, tal como la distinguida Delegación de la Comisión, así lo expresó en página 20 de su Memorial. No creemos conveniente que se refiera a cuestiones referidas a los montos de honorarios del distinguido, el ilustre representante de la Comisión, Dr. Claudio Grossman.
EL PRESIDENTE: El doctor Grossman entonces podría concretar las preguntas a la....
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: De acuerdo al punto 7 y a petición del representante del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname, le ruego que se refiera a mi como delegado representante de la Honorable Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. En segundo lugar, el señor Stanley Rensch fue presentado como testigo para todos los aspectos relativos a la indemnización y a la reparación en el caso y a las costas, entonces, en eso estamos satisfaciendo. Lo único, queríamos un testimonio independiente respecto de eso y con eso, esa era la última pregunta con la cual queríamos finalizar nuestro interrogatorio. Muchas gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora, le pediremos al señor representante del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname, Àsi va a hacer el interrogatorio?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Señor Presidente, a efectos de hacer más efectivo de nuestra parte el interrogatorio, quisiéramos dividir la gestión de preguntas en dos secciones: una, inicialmente haré una serie de preguntas. El señor Fred Reid y posteriormente, yo terminaré adicionar algunas preguntas más al señor Stanley Rensch. Pedimos su permiso en ese sentido.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, claro, así es.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: El señor Reid, quisiera pedirle a la Corte, por cuanto su entendimiento del idioma español y el idioma inglés no es muy amplio, que se diera traducción al Holandés, si fuera posible.
EL PRESIDENTE: Perdón usted, señor representante, aquí estábamos en la inteligencia, de que teníamos una traductora para algún testigo que no entendiera el inglés o el español, pero no que el interrogatorio se hiciera en otro idioma que no fuera el español o en inglés, que fue usted insistió que los procedimientos se llevaran al español.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Debemos entender, señor Presidente, entonces que debería referirse el señor Reid o mi persona al señor Rensch en español o inglés?
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, usted lo puede hacer en español puesto que hay traducción simultánea.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente.
Señor Rensch, quisiéramos preguntarle Àcuál es su gestión como conocedor de la cultura, tradiciones y costumbres de la cultura Saramaka? Tenemos entendido que usted está deponiendo su testimonio como perito, no como testigo. Consecuentemente con eso, quisiéramos saber su gestión de peritazgo en esta cultura.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Well, I'm here as a Human Rights advocate, and in that capacity, I've been confronted with the occurrences in Suriname, in that capacity, and that is apart from the fact that I happen to belong to the Saramakan tribe. The reason for my being involved in this problem is because I am a Human Right's advocate.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀPor eso usted es experto en la cultura y tradiciones Saramaka?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Objeción, señor Presidente, nosotros no presentamos al testigo como un experto en la cultura y tradiciones Saramaka, él puede saber algunas cosas, pero eso fue, ya pasamos ese testigo, estamos en el otro testigo y este testigo es sobre el proceso de obtener información y que estudió la Comisión en las víctimas, para presentar nuestro requisito de reparación, costas y costos.
EL PRESIDENTE: Debo hacer la misma pregunta al señor representante porque en realidad, nosotros entendíamos que el experto en la cultura Saramaka fue el doctor Price que ya testificó y que ahora el señor Rensch está como testigo, digamos de la investigación que se hizo con las personas que sufrieron daños, eso es lo que yo entiendo que y a eso se limitó el interrogatorio.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Con todo respeto, del señor Presidente, si mal no me equivoco, página 20 del Memorial, expresamente, la Comisión se refiere a que el señor Rensch depondrá su testimonio en cuanto a la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados. Consecuentemente, para determinar esa magnitud de los daños morales experimentados, consideramos que el señor Rensch tiene que tener un conocimiento amplio de esa cultura, si no, no entendemos cómo puede ayudar a determinar la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados en este caso.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Eso está fuera de contexto. O sea, esa referencia tiene que ver con el proceso de adquisición de información y queremos mostrar a la Honorable Corte y a los representantes del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname, que este no fue un proceso de carácter frívolo. Hay cuestiones que se relacionan, pero no es en función de su conocimiento de la cultura de los bush-negros y de los maroons y los Saramaka, que hemos pedido al señor Rensch que esté aquí. Ahora, esto no quiere decir que algún conocimiento y vinculación haya para hacer posible ese proceso. Yo creo que para avanzar y no ser recalcitrante, quizá podrían formularse las preguntas en términos de ese proceso, incluyendo algunas referencias generales a la cultura de los Saramakas.
EL PRESIDENTE: Digo, yo creo que estamos concientes de que perteneciendo al pueblo Saramaka, pues conoce las costumbres, pero no está aquí como experto de esas costumbres, sino como persona que ha hecho una investigación sobre las víctimas.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Gracias señor Presidente. Queríamos preguntarle, consecuentemente, dejando a un lado la pregunta anterior, al señor Stanley Rensch, si es usted un perito con experiencia en determinación de daños morales y si anteriormente Àha ejercido esa función?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No, sir. Fortunately not, because this is the first time we are confronted with a Human Right's violation of this magnitude in Suriname, so we didn't have this type of experience before, and fortunately not.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Consecuente con lo anterior, señor Rensch, con todo el respeto que usted nos merece, como ya lo dijimos anteriormente, quisiéramos preguntarle, Àcómo han llegado al terminar ustedes con supuesta precisión, los montos monetarios fijos y la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados por los miembros de la tribu Saramaka y las familias, familiares de las víctimas?
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor Presidente, yo quisiera objetar a eso. Esos son temas respecto de los cuales, puede argumentar los representantes del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname, que ha sido probado o no aprobado, pero esa es una cuestión que creemos debe reservarse para resolución final. El no está aquí para señalar, él está aquí para señalar los procedimientos que se utilizaron. Entonces hay una insistencia en términos de considerarlos de otra forma, a la que él.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, consecuente con lo que está diciendo el ilustre representante de la Comisión, replanteamos la pregunta. ÀCómo llegaron a determinar los montos fijos, por los daños morales experimentados, a los cuales usted se refirió en su deposición anterior?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: First of all, the procedure followed, is to speak with the people in the interior. Take note about the circumstances in which the dependents.
EL PRESIDENTE: More stronger please.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: O.K. First of all, we went to the interior in order to identify the circumstances in which the people are living after the occurrences in December 1987. We spoke with them, and the prime reason for that visit, is really to identify the experience they have with regards to that occurrence. To find out what damage is done to their way of life and to find out what impression is made psychologically, on their life, from then on. So, as far as the Organization, my Organization, myself personally is concerned, we went there to definitely identify it, investigate the living conditions of the people, the children, the mother, the father, after the occurrences in December '81.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: El concepto de daño moral, es un concepto jurídico, que tiene una base de hechos, la existencia de dolor y sufrimiento intenso, no meramente hipotético y otra parte que tiene que ver con la aplicación de nociones y conceptos jurídicos. La intervención del señor Rensch, sobre la base de los cuestionarios preparados por la Comisión y el abogado de las víctimas, se refirió a darnos la base de hechos relativo a eso y los cálculos envuelven la aplicación de nociones jurídicas, que no son arbitrarias. Nosotros no queremos aparecer recalcitrantes, pero nos parece que la mejor utilización del tiempo de la Corte y del testigo, es preguntarle las cosas respecto de las cuales él pueda dar testimonio.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Digamos, de acuerdo con esto, Àcuál es el alcance de la pregunta?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: El alcance es determinar montos fijos, a los cuales se refirió el señor Rensch. Tengo entendido que habló con los familiares de las víctimas anteriormente y hablaron de montos fijos, si no me equivoco. ÀCómo llegaron a esos montos fijos?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Our purpose, is really to go into the interior, to look into the living conditions of the people, and then discuss the interpretation of that with the lawyer. So we have been doing the fact-finding as extensive as possible. That's what I can present here. We have been doing the fact-finding as extensive as possible.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Rensch, en otras palabras, Àustedes no hicieron los cálculos de los montos fijos?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: As far as the moral damage it is concerned, we communicated with the lawyer, with our lawyer, to make sure that the amounts calculated, as far as the moral damages is concerned, that we have an agreeable conclusion, on basis on consensus with that, but this is a type of work which could be done, which could only be done by the lawyer, on basis of his expertise.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀSe comprobó que entonces, los familiares de las víctimas estaban de acuerdo con esos montos determinados, en concordancia con el abogado de las víctimas?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: That's correct, because after the communication, first of all, we identified the living conditions of the people, communicated with the lawyer, and then came the feedback, so that we could find out if the people could live with the proposals mentioned in there.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Sr. Presidente, en primer lugar, yo insisto en que cuando se citan deposiciones nuestras, se nos liga con precisión, cuándo, en qué texto, en qué contexto. Yo tengo aquí la traducción en español, no de la página 50, sino 20, donde dice que ofrecemos el testimonio escrito, el testimonio oral del señor Stanley Rensch, miembro de la Organización Moiwana en Suriname, Derechos Humanos, Moiwana 86, en cuanto a la magnitud de los daños morales experimentados. No dice ahí la cuantía, eso es un concepto, tiene que ver con el impacto en las víctimas y hay un proceso y una interrelación, el concepto de daños morales es un concepto que tiene elementos de hecho y elementos jurídicos. Nosotros no hablamos ahí de cuantía, sino de magnitud, en el sentido de que sufrieron, entonces, esa fue, en que lo planteamos ahí. Entonces yo quiero insistir, que no tiene sentido interrogar al señor Rensch, sobre precisamente las cantidades, él ya ha dicho que eso fue un proceso completo de interacción, con elementos factuales y nociones jurídicas y que fue aceptado por las familias.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Mr. President, I do think, permit me, I do think that the Government has the right to ask the question it is asking, to determine how Mr. Rensch arrived at some of these figures, and what he did, and I understand that this is going on, and I think we're wasting a tremendous amount of time at this moment, in not permitting this to proceed.
EL PRESIDENTE: Si, yo pienso que el señor asesor sólo debe intervenir en casos realmente justificados, porque, por eso le pregunté al señor representante del Gobierno, el alcance de su pregunta y entendemos que está preguntando y creo que eso tiene pleno derecho, a saber cómo se alcanzaron los montos, que desde luego el señor Rensch no fijó y por eso él dijo que de acuerdo con esa información, se fijaron después por el abogado. Sí, no están discutiendo los montos, sino cómo se llegó a eso.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Nuestra próxima pregunta, señor Rensch, es referida así. Los miembros de la cultura Saramaka, la tribu en su totalidad, o en su particularidad, Àha participado como partido político en las pasadas elecciones en Suriname?
EL PRESIDENTE: Perdón, perdone, pero esto no creo que tenga ninguna relevancia, porque no tiene que ver con la investigación.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, el motivo de la pregunta y disculpen que anteriormente no haya hecho la explicación del caso. Es lo siguiente. Tenemos entendido que el grupo Saramaka y tal vez el señor Reid me puede ayudar en ese sentido, que conoce más del asunto, ha participado o ha apoyado algún partido político en las elecciones pasadas en Suriname, consecuentemente, los miembros de la tribu, han votado en esa oportunidad y al votar, han tenido que registrarse sus nombres y calidades como personas. Consecuentemente, tiene que haber registros en el interior de la Provincia y si no mal entiendo se llaman Comisariatos en Suriname. Comisariatos en donde existen los nombres de las personas y registros de matrimonios también, de los miembros de la tribu Saramaka. El fin de la pregunta es desvirtuar el sentido de que no existe registros matrimoniales y oficinas de registros matrimonial en el interior de la Provincia, concretamente en la zona donde habita la tribu Saramaka y entonces consecuentemente desvirtuar el sentido de que la poligamia es un hecho y no solo un hecho, sino que no hay posibilidad de registrar, ni segundas esposas, ni hijos habidos fuera del matrimonio.
EL PRESIDENTE: Tengo la impresión de que no entendió el testigo el alcance de la, es decir, el problema del partido político no tiene ninguna relación, sino, lo que usted está preguntando en cuanto al registro, existen registros oficiales además de los registros interiores, o los datos interiores, que hay en las aldeas Saramakas.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: First of all, it is not correct completely that all the marriages are registered, not all, definitely not all marriages in the interior are registered. That is one thing. Secondly, for your information sir, in all respect, we had the registration for the last election, showed that less than about one third of the population in the interior was registered and made a failable, could therefore participate in voting, so it means, that there is a vast majority which did not appear in the register for election. So, even though, I'm not quite sure where this has to take us, for your information, not all marriages are registered, and polygamy is definitely there in the interior, and the registration of the population in the interior, is very incomplete.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Rensch, recapitulo la pregunta, Àexisten, mi pregunta es sobre si existen o no, registros en el interior de la Provincia, donde se puedan registrar los matrimonios efectuados y el nacimiento de hijos de los miembros de la tribu Saramaka?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Not in the majority, there is a Village, for example, in Pokigron, in which there is a sit for the Commissioner where registration can take place, but that is not, that doesn't cover sufficiently the whole area of the Saramaka territory.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Voy a entrar a otra pregunta, señor Presidente y voy a explicarla previamente. La pregunta es, Àcuál es la religión normal, común, ordinaria, de los miembros de la tribu Saramaka? El fin de la pregunta es determinar las bases religiosas de los miembros de la tribu y pasar posteriormente, al concepto de poligamia.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: There are, in the interior, there are Roman Catholic, denominations working, there are protestants, the moravians, and there are also other denominations active in the interior, that are definitely, that are definitely a majority of the inhabitants in the interior, which are not actively participating in any of these religions. So as far as polygamy is concerned, it's a rather general trend, in the interior, it has been there, and it is, it still is, it's still exist in the interior.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Finalmente, señor Rensch. Hemos oído de su participación directa en la investigación en el interior de la Provincia, hemos oído que usted, o la Organización a la cual usted pertenece, ha tenido derogaciones económicas para poder llegar a determinar ciertos daños morales existentes en la tribu Saramaka y los familiares de las víctimas. Consecuentemente con eso, yo, tenemos una pregunta para usted y la pregunta es, Àtiene usted o su representada, señor Rensch, un interés directo, en que la Corte apruebe los montos por su representada presentados ante esta Corte?
Reitero la pregunta. ÀTiene usted un interés directo en que la Corte apruebe los montos, por su representada, presentados en esta Corte?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: It's not a personal interest. The Organization we are working for, has a regular budget, and a budget which has to be there to assist in these type of investigations, to assist in these types, to provide for the people to bring their cases to Court. So as far as these extra budgetary finances is concerned, we would prefer very much if the outcome is such that it could go back to those who provide the funds for this investigation.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: No quiero inducir su pregunta, al menos con el respeto que usted se merece y el respeto que tenemos con usted como persona, pero reitero, Àexiste un interés directo o no, en cuanto la gestión de aprobación de montos en esta Corte, señor Rensch?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: As far as the Organization is concerned, we do have interest in the approval of the amount, because, as we said before, it is an extra budgetary activity, so we do have.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Muchas gracias, señor Rensch.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora, una vez terminado el interrogatorio de las partes, pasaríamos ahora a las preguntas que desearían hacer los Jueces al testigo. Le preguntaría al Juez Cançado Trindade si quiere hacer preguntas.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Sí, señor Presidente. Three very brief and objective questions, on the basis of your testimony. First, as regards the material damage, not the moral damage: you have mentioned that all the forms of the distribution of compensation were considered by the victims and their families. For the material damage, was compensation, other than monetary, also considered, such as non-pecuniary compensation or just compensation in the form of goods, land and so forth?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: No, sir, we did not. The families didn't request that. The dependents did not, sir.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: They didn't. Second, you mentioned that those who suffered were not only the families of the victims. Would it be fair to say, in the light of international human rights practice, since you are also a human rights activist, that the whole community can be regarded as being victimized by the events?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, sir.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: In the sense of being indirect victims of the allegedly maroon Village.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, because, I mean, in fact in many cases has been considered as an attack to the tribe, to the Saramakan tribe, because they suffered along with it, and all of them try to repair as much as possible. So this is considered as a mutual burden to be carried by them all.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Thank you for this clarification. And the third and last question, in relation to your reference to a guarantee that this does not happen again. The question is: in your assessment, in your view, in which form should the expression of such a guarantee take place? Would it be fair to state that it could take place in the form of a public recognition of the duty of prevention?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Sir, I think that the Suriname society should give these people the feeling that they care, and whosoever touches them, in the future, will be punished. If their rights are violated, they will be punished, so that they feel that they deserve to be protected and those violating their rights will be punished. So I think, it's not only a type of public statement, but really to make sure that the people in the interiors see that investigation is made, and those, the alleged perpetrators are punished, whenever, in whatever way the law provides in Suriname.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Does it mean, an acknowledgment of the duty of prevention and of the provision of effective domestic remedies?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes sir.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Thank you. Gracias señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl señor Juez Aguiar-Aranguren?
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Ninguna pregunta, señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl señor Juez Barberis?
JUEZ BARBERIS: Ninguna.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl señor Juez Nieto?
JUEZ NIETO: Una sola pregunta. Usted mencionó unas organizaciones no gubernamentales que financian su trabajo. Mi pregunta es, Àsi los gastos de ésto, en total o en parte, han sido financiados por una de esas organizaciones?, y, si me puede, decir el nombre o los nombres, le agradeceré mucho.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes, your honor. We have been financed, our budget is really financed in general, we request funds from the Dutch Development Corporation, it's Governmental, and they have a humanitarian division. So funding, as far as all human rights work is concerned, is coming from there, so it's Governmental. Secondly, we received funds in the past, from a Dutch non-Governmental organization, SEBEMO, and SEBEMO is Roman Catholic co-financing agency in Holland. Further from U.S. Aid is also Governmental, that is the United States Agency for Development Corporation. In their case, it's a matter of financing material, provision for our organization. As far as the funding of these investigations is concerned, sir, we request as an extra budgetary activity, support, and this, might be detracted from funds in the future. So if we submit our budget for the next year, we have to clarify, and they did not provide this as, let's say, as a regular budget proficient, so we really do expect, that next year, because this fund is been given this year, we do expect that, next year, we have to do with this amount less, we have to pay it, in fact, from our own budget.
JUEZ NIETO: Gracias.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: You're welcome, sir.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl Juez Buergenthal?
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Mr. President, I have one question, I don't know whether you can help me. Do you have any idea how much a villager who goes to work outside, is likely to earn in a day?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Sir, it's very difficult to assess in one specific case. The thing we know, is that in many cases, they have to take more than one job. The tradition is that they earn, they try to earn has much as possible, as a watchman, as a construction worker, and so, they earn, in accordance to Suriname standards, because of the different jobs they take, they earn relative, relative high sum of money, but it's because they have to take many jobs, apart from the regular day jobs, they sometimes function as a watchman, and that's why some of their sums are rather high, compared to the traditional income in the country.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: But if you were doing a rough estimate, what would the sum be, of somebody who has two jobs?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yea, we have had cases from the interior, going beyond 1.012 Guilders a month, in cases of two jobs, because many of the people I know, really do have more than one.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Thank you.
EL PRESIDENTE: La señora Juez Picado.
JUEZ PICADO: Si, una pregunta que me parece es importante. Usted habló de que existen varias religiones, entre ellas la religión católica y aquí se ha tratado en forma muy global, obviamente, porque las preguntas que le están haciendo a usted, sobre el grupo en general. Pero por el conocimiento que usted ha tenido, al haber ido usted a hablar con las víctimas, al hablar de un daño moral, preguntó usted, o tiene usted conciencia, si este específico grupo, o algunos de los miembros de las víctimas, son miembros de alguna religión específica.
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: Yes your honor, we did.
JUEZ PICADO: Podría decirme?
SR. STANLEY RENSCH: For example, in the case of Aside, in the Village of Grantatai, they did not, they do not belong to any religious group. They have the traditional, I should say, to be respectful to them, they have the traditional maroon religion. Non Catholic, non protestants. So they have, of course, their own religion awareness, and that's how they manage their life.
In the case of Guyaba, Guyaba is the largest Village we have in the interior. In the case of Guyaba, the protestant, we have a protestant school there, but the people, they continue really to function in primarily the traditional maroon way of life, and so life, having more than one wife, there for example, is not an exception. So even though this Village has a more modern religious tradition, compared to Grandtatai, still the life, the way of life there, is rather traditional, is rather as it is with the maroon societies.
JUEZ PICADO: Thank you.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, entonces con eso termina esta etapa. Hemos terminado con el testigo.
Vamos a hacer un receso de un cuarto de hora, para después continuar con el testigo que sigue. Bueno, diez minutos.
Continuamos. Ahora llamamos al testigo, Ramón de Freitas.
Ruego al señor testigo manifestar ante la Corte, su nombre, nacionalidad?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Surinamer.
EL PRESIDENTE: Y, documento de identificación. Pasaporte, algún documento de identificación.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: I have a passport, diplomatic passaport.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí, Ày qué número tiene, porque es para identificación?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Pasaporte de servicio número SP-050562.
EL PRESIDENTE: Le damos las gracias al testigo. Ruego al señor Secretario, leer la prevención que hace, que se hace por la Corte, a los declarantes.
SR. MANUEL VENTURA: Los testigos, o peritos en su caso, deberán limitarse a contestar, clara y precisamente, la pregunta que se les formula, ajustándose a los hechos o circunstancias que les consten y evitando dar opiniones personales. Se informa a los declarantes que, de acuerdo con el Artículo 39.2 del Reglamento, los Estados no podrán enjuiciar a las personas que comparezcan ante la Corte por su testimonio, pero la Corte puede solicitar a los Estados que tomen las medidas que su legislación disponga, contra quienes la Corte decida que han violado el Juramento.
EL PRESIDENTE: Ahora tomaríamos el Juramento al testigo.
ÀJura o declara, solemnemente, con todo honor y con toda conciencia, que dirá la verdad, toda la verdad y nada más que la verdad?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Juro.
EL PRESIDENTE: Preguntamos al señor representante del Gobierno de Suriname si él va a hacer el interrogatorio del testigo que presenta el propio Gobierno.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Haré el interrogatorio al señor de Freitas, yo personalmente.
Señor de Freitas, podría usted ilustrarnos, Àcuál es el cargo que desempeña en Suriname y cuáles son las funciones que realiza?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Oficial de Justicia.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Las funciones que desempeña también, señor de Freitas.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Docente de la educación superior en Suriname.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Tal vez no hice la pregunta en la forma adecuada. Las funciones que desempeña como Oficial de Justicia en Suriname.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Oficial en Derecho Penal.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, podría hablarnos de la participación suya en este, el caso en etapa de investigación en Suriname, previo, al análisis por parte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, del caso en su particularidad, por favor? En otras palabras, puede hablarnos, señor de Freitas, sobre su participación en la investigación previa de este caso en Suriname.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Cuando sucedió el caso él estaba en Holanda, por el Ministerio Público, esa oficina ha investigado ese caso, por ese motivo se han detenido ciertas personas sospechosas y los han metido a la cárcel. Luego los han liberado, basados en el hecho de que los cadáveres encontrados, no eran, no pertenecían a los cadáveres de las personas, de los cuales sospechaban que fueron asesinados.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀHubo alguna investigación posterior, señor de Freitas, se continuó la investigación por parte de la oficina para la cual usted labora?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Todavía continúa la investigación porque no han dado con las víctimas. Esos casos duran años.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor de Freitas, Àpodría hablarnos de la situación actual de los derechos humanos en Suriname?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Con respecto a los derechos humanos en Suriname ha habido un avance, uno de los hechos más importantes recientemente ha sido aquí. Que ha habido un cambio en la Constitución, principalmente que el poder el militar, el poder militar ha sido eliminado.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀHa habido algunos otros cambios institucionales en el aparato estatal surinamés?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Han habido otros cambios en la Constitución que están relacionados con la eliminación del poder militar. Se ha establecido una ley consular, en la cual, dice que todos los trámites consulares, visa y pasaporte, son tramitados por el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. La Policía Civil también ha sido ubicada en las fronteras. Y él mismo ha tenido el honor de dar esa orden, con respecto al cambio en la Constitución.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Doctor de Freitas, Àcuál ha sido la impresión del Gobierno de Suriname en relación con este caso?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: El Gobierno de Suriname ha visto esto como una participación en la democracia. Si no, nunca habrían tomado la responsabilidad del caso Aloeboetoe.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor Presidente, Àeste es un testimonio que hizo en relación con sus percepciones de la situación o él está actuando a nombre del Gobierno de Suriname?
EL PRESIDENTE: Nos puede aclarar, si lo han llamado como testigo para relatar cuál es la situación actual de Suriname.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Nosotros no queremos impedir si la Corte estima conveniente, tenemos la posición liberal también escuchar todas las cosas, no queremos obstruir nada, pero hay un problema técnico aquí, quiero saber si esto es lo que se llama "hearsay evidence", o sea, él está diciendo cuál es la posición del Gobierno de Suriname y para saber nosotros, simplemente para prepararnos, queremos saber si él está hablando al nombre del Gobierno de Suriname aquí, entonces tenemos posibilidad de examinarlo sobre esa base, o está dando su impresión personal, sobre la posición del Gobierno de Suriname.
EL PRESIDENTE: Entonces usted quiere aclararles? Bueno, el testigo.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No es mi opinión personal, lo que él opina de los hechos que han pasado en Suriname, no es opinión personal.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor Presidente. Hay un problema con la traducción. Lamento decirle yo hablo holandés, lo que él dijo es una cosa un poco diferente. El dijo que esta declaración la hacía sobre la base de cuestiones que había leído y verificado él en Suriname y que él creía que eso era una cosa científica y que si era una cosa personal, Àqué podía hacer? si él sacaba esas conclusiones. Eso fue exactamente lo que él dijo.
EL PRESIDENTE: No es de que está haciendo una aclaración sobre la traducción. Nosotros, de acuerdo con la traducción, entendimos una cosa distinta, pero claro, no somos expertos en holandés.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Debo confesar que el abogado de las víctimas no es la mejor persona para traducir a otro testigo, pero yo, eso es lo que él dijo, señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, le agradecemos.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, para hacer una traducción literal y más adecuada a los intereses del buen conocimiento, por parte de la Corte, el testimonio del señor de Freitas, quisiéramos sugerir, que haya traducción cortada, o sea que el señor de Freitas hable y la señorita traduzca y podamos tener un espacio de tiempo para poder entender. A mi mismo se me torna un poco difícil entender lo que se está diciendo.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, tal vez lo que podemos hacer es permitirle a la traductora que lo haga por frases y no por párrafos completos, es decir, que haya una interrupción cada frase para entender.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Mr. President, I don't understand, and maybe that's part of the problem. I don't understand, first of all, what Government of Suriname we're talking about, and second, what the relevance is of what the situation in Suriname is today, whether it's a democracy or not. I don't know how all of this relates to this question which we have before us, and maybe the Agent could explain it to us, but I just don't know what I'm listening to, anymore.
JUEZ PICADO: Yo quería hacer también una sugerencia. En vista del problema de la traducción, que no es simultánea y que yo creo que a todos nos perjudica realmente, si se pueden hacer las preguntas muy breves, muy concretas, para poder que se responda también, en la forma más breve y concreta. Esto yo sugeriría a ambas partes, para aliviar el problema, porque si hacemos preguntas muy largas, mientras se traducen, nos perdemos. Gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: Y por otra parte también, le quería pedir al señor representante que nos explicara, dado la intervención de los Jueces, Àcuál es la intención de preguntarle al testigo la situación actual que existe en Suriname?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Con mucho gusto, señor Presidente. Pareciera del fondo de la memoria presentada por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y también de la deposición de los testigos aquí recibidos, que la situación actual de los derechos humanos o la situación de los derechos humanos en Suriname, no sólo sigue en deterioro sino se ha mantenido al igual que existía en 1987. El fin es demostrar a la Honorable Corte que la situación en materia de derechos humanos en Suriname ha cambiado, que existe un interés manifiesto por parte del Presidente Ronald Venetiaan en cambiar la situación existente anteriormente, el antiguo régimen militar. Y no solo eso, sino que existe un interés manifiesto y expreso por reconocer, ante esta Corte, los montos indemnizatorios consecuentes, respecto de los familiares de las víctimas. Ese es el fin por el cuál hemos preguntado al señor de Freitas o hemos hecho referencia a la situación actual de los derechos humanos en Suriname.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, pero yo creo que no es relevante tanto esta situación sino, más bien, la disposición que existe en este campo, porque ahorita no es una audiencia de fondos sino estamos examinando exclusivamente el problema de la responsabilidad, es decir, no la situación de los derechos humanos ni la situación, estamos viendo nada más las reparaciones y yo le suplicaría que sobre ese tema, usted hiciera el interrogatorio.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Con mucho gusto, señor Presidente. Señor de Freitas, hemos hablado en esta audiencia sobre el tratado de 1762. Mi pregunta es en referencia a la validez del mismo actualmente en Suriname.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Es una historia muy larga. En 1760 y en 1762, Holanda ha colonizado, el colonizador Holanda, ha firmado dos tratados con los negros, con los Ocaners y los Saramakas. Estos tratados han sido el principio de un tratado aparte de la tribu negra y Holanda. Aparte, porque en ese momento los negros tenían una jurisdicción aparte en el país. De esa manera ellos mismos podían castigar a su gente y podrían tramitar sus asuntos civiles, pero no podían viajar a Paramaribo porque solamente la Corte holandesa tenía competencia. Por ese motivo había una separación de lo que pasaba en el interior y en el centro del país. En esos tratados se hablaba de países internos, de estados dentro del país, dentro de los cuales, o en consecuencia, pues, los negros mandaban en su propio territorio. Y en ese contexto ha nacido el título Grandman Gobernador. El Grandman era el jefe del pueblo negro, que ha actuado como Gobernador porque tenía, era como el jefe líder del pueblo negro. Estos tratados no se han podido mantener porque los negros eran muy agresivos y para la eliminación de la esclavitud realizaban actividades guerrilleras. En realidad son los descendientes de esos holandeses, que en ese entonces partieron hacia Sud Africa y luego formaron un régimen aparte.
Estos dos tratados fueron en realidad pruebas. El motivo por el cual hago en énfasis en este punto, es porque por ese motivo se creó el derecho de los negros. Ese derecho de los negros se ha mantenido durante 100 años, hasta que el 1 de mayo de 1896 se introdujo el Código Civil en Suriname. Con esta introducción todos los ciudadanos surinameses caían bajo una misma ley.
Con la introducción del Código Civil, Suriname no se ha tomado ninguna ley, o sea, es la existente de los negros. En ese período, el colonizador ha respetado, después de la introducción, las leyes de los negros.
En los años después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial Suriname obtuvo la autonomía, se comprobó que los negros querían mantener las leyes que tenían en el interior del país. Han habido algunas decisiones, ha habido jurisprudencia por la Corte, por lo cual la Corte de Justicia como la fuente más importante de derecho, ha eliminado las leyes de los negros.
El caso siguiente es un ejemplo muy importante de esto. En los años 50, un hombre de nombre Jean Cusuc, de Asidonpopo, un pueblo en el interior del país, ha tenido visiones y en esas visiones él tenía que matar a un hombre. El incendió la casa de este hombre y en consecuencia, asesinando al hombre en esa casa. La junta del pueblo, bajo dirección del Grandman, por medio del grupo a que pertenecía ese hombre, lo han castigado. El castigo consistía en que le daban latigazos, tenían que dar una indemnización a la esposa del asesinado y tenían que limpiar un pedazo de terreno para la familia y tratar de que esa tierra sirviera para plantaciones.
La justicia en Paramaribo posteriormente se dio cuenta de la quema de la casa y del asesinato del señor y envió la policía al pueblo. La comunicación en esos días era muy difícil y duraba días. La policía detuvo al señor y lo envió a la ciudad. Los que representaban al señor, los abogados, han dicho las siguientes cosas. En primer lugar que nadie puede ser juzgado por lo mismo, dos veces e hicieron un llamado al derecho de costumbre. La Corte de Justicia no lo aceptó por los siguientes motivos. Por el principio de unificación que consiste en que todos los surinameses caen bajo una misma ley. Y dos, que la ley de tradición, es ley si la ley lo indica y no indicaba en ningún documento que las leyes de los negros eran las leyes que estaban vigentes.
Esto no quiere decir, decidió la Corte, que las leyes tradicionales de los negros, en su propio ambiente, en su propio pueblo, no hayan de ser respetadas. Con otras palabras, si el hijo de una familia ha hecho algún acto penal tiene que ser juzgado o castigado por el juez. Si la familia lo quiere castigar tomando ciertas medidas, es algo que le incumbe a la familia y el juez no tiene nada que decir en ese caso. Pero el llamado a que nadie puede ser juzgado dos veces por lo mismo no es reconocido. Han habido otras jurisprudencias, lo cual es la jurisprudencia actual en la Corte. En 1975, cuando Suriname obtuvo la independencia con el traspaso de la Orden directiva, se ha dado un final a todo. Con otras palabras, el derecho de herencia y todas las otras leyes, son unánimemente aplicables a todos los surinameses.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, Àqué establece el ordenamiento jurídico de Suriname respecto a la poligamia en general?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: La poligamia no es reconocida en Suriname con la introducción del Código no es permitida la poligamia. Con otras palabras, el juez hará todas las presentaciones, todos los casos presentados con base en poligamia serán denegados por el juez, nunca será permitida.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀExiste en Suriname un procedimiento de reconocimiento de hijos fuera de matrimonio? ÀExiste en Suriname un procedimiento jurídico de reconocimiento de hijos habidos fuera de matrimonio?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Los hijos fuera de matrimonio no son reconocidos, en cuanto a herencia.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, Àpodría decirnos cuál es el castigo y la pena que establece la legislación de Suriname en cuanto al homicidio?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: En el artículo 10 del Código Penal existe todavía el castigo de muerte, pero desde 1927 no se aplica porque el Gobierno bajo influencia del régimen holandés nunca ha apoyado la pena de muerte. Por ese motivo se aplica cadena perpetua o 20 años de castigo.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, Àexiste dentro del ordenamiento jurídico de Suriname, la posibilidad de indemnizar por daños morales ocasionados?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Nuestra Constitución es en ese caso muy estrecha. No conoce daño ideales o morales, no reconoce daños morales. Lo que conoce el juez y lo que se aplica siempre, es el daño real.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, Àexisten registros civiles en el interior de la provincia en donde se torne necesario registrar los matrimonios y nacimientos?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: La administración en Suriname se ha desarrollado más. Eso implica que en todos los pueblos en el interior existe un Registro Civil. Esto se puede concluir de los siguientes puntos: en los comicios a realizarse, de las elecciones generales, se llevan elecciones con base en listas de participantes. Eso implica que todos los negros e indios en el interior estén registrados y participan masivamente en las elecciones. Esto ha resultado hasta en la creación de dos partidos negros, el Partido Progresista y el Partido de Unidad en los negros y han ganado puestos en el Parlamento, por lo tanto, representan a sus pueblos, en combinación, por supuesto, con otros partidos políticos. De esto se puede concluir que en cualquier lugar en el interior existe un registro del pueblo, ya que solamente esas personas pueden emitir su voto, los que están registrados en el Registro Civil. Y eso es, seguramente el 85% de la población total de Suriname.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, quisiera preguntarle Àqué le parece la idea de que el Presidente de Suriname deba hacer un reconocimiento público de las incidencias en torno a este caso?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Lo he leído en el memorial de la Comisión y he de tener mucho cuidado de no emitir mi opinión personal. Lo único que puedo decir es que esta exigencia no es necesaria, porque el Presidente y su partido político, justamente en el interior del país, en donde han sido asesinados compañeros, justamente ahí fue donde ganó el Presidente las elecciones.
Los partidos democráticos que están totalmente en contra del régimen militar, que tienen sus fundamentos en los partidos fundados por ellos, no han sido reconocidos por toda la población. De los 51 asientos los partidos democráticos han ganado 39. De eso podemos ver que el Presidente ha sido aceptado por la población total y es de mi conocimiento y esto lo sé con base en conocimiento científico, que el partido político del Presidente y el otro partido democrático, en todos esos pueblos, entre ellos Pokigron, han ganado totalmente las elecciones. El Presidente hace poco hizo una visita al interior.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor de Freitas, quisiera que concretara la pregunta que le hice anteriormente, por favor.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: ÀPuede repetir la pregunta?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: ÀQue le parece la idea de que el Presidente de Suriname deba de hacer un reconocimiento público de las incidencias en este caso?
EL PRESIDENTE: Perdón que le interrumpa otra vez porque creo que nos estamos apartando del tema. Yo creo que nadie le ha pedido que haga una declaración presidencial.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Debo tener mucha precaución para no emitir mi opinión personal al contestar esta pregunta.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Hemos terminado.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Quiero agregar algo. El Presidente que representa el Estado de Suriname, ha estado presente en la creación de la Organización de los Estados Americanos y ha hecho contribuciones en contra de la lucha en otras naciones en Latinoamérica. De los que son conocidos Argentina, Brasil y otros. Suriname no ha tenido suerte que en 1980, lo mismo le ha pasado a Suriname. Toda la comunidad de Suriname ha sufrido por esto.
EL PRESIDENTE: Perdone que lo interrumpa, pero es una declaración de usted que no responde a una pregunta.
Ahora le pediríamos a la Comisión, rogándole que fuera muy precisa en sus preguntas, si desea hacerlo.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor de Freitas, Àcuándo fue nombrado en su posición actual?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Quiero hacer una pregunta a través del Presidente como representante del Estado de Suriname. ÀQuién es el oponente, si es miembro de la Comisión, asesor de la Comisión o representante de las víctimas, o las tres cosas?
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, me hace una pregunta a mí. Le puedo yo decir que de acuerdo con el Estatuto de la Convención, el Estatuto de la Corte, el Reglamento de la Corte, la Comisión puede prenombrar las personas que quiere que lo auxilien en esta reunión. Y está acreditado el señor Grossman como asesor pero no como abogado de las víctimas. Esto no está permitido. Entonces si él ha hecho algún interrogatorio, es porque el señor Jackman, que preside la delegación de la Comisión Interamericana, ha pedido autorización a la Corte para que haga el interrogatorio, como asesor de la Comisión, no como abogado de las víctimas.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Como representante del Estado de Suriname, quisiera pedirle, señor Presidente, me opongo porque el señor Grossman se ha presentado en el estado de Suriname como abogado de las víctimas.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: Excuse me, excuse me. First of all let me note that you can't translate, that you are a witness here and we ask the questions and you answer when you are asked.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Thank you, your Honor.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Quiero destacar también que el señor no es representante. Si aparece como representante del Estado de Suriname, tiene que estar sentado allá. Si está sentado acá, es porque es testigo.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Estoy como representante del Estado de Suriname; todo lo que digo es en representación del Estado de Suriname. And that is a general procedure.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Perdón, señor Presidente. Yo creo que ante la Corte, quien está representando al Estado de Suriname es el señor agente. Si el señor es co-agente, entonces que se siente allá.
EL PRESIDENTE: No podría figurar como testigo si usted actúa como representante del Estado de Suriname.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Está bien.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEstá usted de acuerdo en ser testigo?, porque si está usted como representante del Estado de Suriname, no se puede aceptar como testigo. El Gobierno lo trajo a usted como testigo y no como representante del Gobierno.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: (Intérprete) El quiere hablar con el agente.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Señor Presidente, si me permite, yo creo que la Representación de Suriname toma el procedimiento establecido por el señor Presidente y yo creo que está más que claro el punto.
EL PRESIDENTE: Por eso, pero queremos saber si el que está como testigo acepta estar como testigo o se considera representante del Estado de Suriname porque entonces cambia la situación.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Yo creo que él dijo, si mal no entendí, que se consideraba como testigo y no como representante de Suriname.
EL PRESIDENTE: Si lo acepta entonces podemos dar la palabra al señor Grossman quien hará el interrogatorio, siempre con el respeto debido.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: ÀCuánto tiempo está usted en la función en que está?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Estoy desde 1967 en el Ministerio Público y en esta función desde 1980.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: ÀUsted ha mantenido su función ininterrumpidamente desde 1980 hasta esta época?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: En 1980 fue un funcionario de continuación. O sea, asumió después de alguien su puesto.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: En la Fiscalía está diciendo.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Hasta la fecha. Desde el 8 de agosto de 1980 hasta la fecha, la misma función.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: ÀEn todos estos años ha tenido la función?
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Perdón, señor Presidente. No entiendo la pregunta del ilustre abogado de la Comisión. No entiendo los fines ni los alcances de la misma. Si el Ilustre señor abogado de la Comisión nos pudiera ilustrar sobre la pregunta, le agradecería muchísimo.
EL PRESIDENTE: Sí. Le pediríamos que dijera cuál es el alcance de la pregunta.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Si, yo entre otras cosas, quiero establecer la credibilidad del testigo. El ha tenido una función importante en el Sistema Judicial de Suriname. Quince personas destacadas de Suriname fueron asesinadas por el Gobierno militar. Mucha gente pasó situaciones de tortura y yo estoy simplemente interesado si él mantuvo su función durante todo este tiempo en el Sistema Judicial de Suriname. Yo creo que eso es relevante para ver, no estoy sacando ni una conclusión, pero estoy viendo si es alguien que fue nombrado recientemente o es alguien que ha estado desde 1980 en su función. Aún no estoy sacando una conclusión. Eso es poner la carreta delante de los bueyes. Yo quiero saber cuál es la fecha para sacar conclusiones posteriormente y ya tengo una respuesta, que desde principios de 1980 ha ejercido continuamente su función.
Señor Presidente, yo no estoy haciendo ni una pregunta más. No tengo más preguntas que hacer al testigo.
EL PRESIDENTE: Entonces esto significa que ha terminado la intervención de la Comisión.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: (HABLA EN HOLANDES)
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Señor Presidente, yo creo que ha habido una confusión desde el comienzo respecto a la situación del testigo. Yo hice una pregunta; tomó como 10 minutos lograr que me diera una respuesta. Después se me hizo una pregunta a mi, de porqué yo hacía la pregunta y yo respondí esa pregunta. No quiero interrogar más al testigo. Si vamos entrar aquí en eso, eso es altamente improcedente. Se ha terminado desde el punto de vista nuestro, el interrogatorio.
EL PRESIDENTE: Si ya terminó el interrogatorio, ya el testigo no puede hacer declaraciones.
Entonces ahora pasaríamos a pedirle a los señores jueces, que si tienen alguna pregunta la puedan hacer.
ÀEl señor Juez Cançado Trindade?
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Gracias señor Presidente. Solamente una muy breve pregunta, muy concreta. He tomado nota de su relato de los cambios constitucionales recientes en Suriname. Sin embargo, en su testimonio, usted ha admitido que la Constitución sigue muy estrecha en relación con los daños morales. Simplemente, a no reconocerlos. Mi pregunta es, Àde qué modo tales cambios constitucionales recientes tienen, o tendrían, o podrían tener una incidencia directa sobre el actual proceso, de responsabilidad y compensación ante esta Corte? A su juicio, con base en los cambios constitucionales recientes, Àse establecieron recursos internos eficaces para este fin? En este caso, Àcuáles serían? y Àserían auto aplicables?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: ÀPuede repetir la pregunta?, por favor.
JUEZ CANÇADO TRINDADE: Con base en los referidos cambios constitucionales recientes, Àse establecieron recursos internos eficaces y auto aplicables en lo que concierne al actual proceso ante esta Corte, de responsabilidad y compensación? Y en caso positivo, Àcuáles serían estos recursos?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Quisiera decir lo siguiente, su Excelencia. En nuestro sistema jurídico está la Constitución y leyes orgánicas y estas leyes orgánicas, detallan la Constitución. La organización jurídica, no prevé los daños morales. El Juez está ligado, o está limitado a la ley y el Gobierno nunca tomará acciones que no sean provistas en las leyes.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl señor Juez Aguiar-Aranguren?
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Señor Presidente, atendiendo a la circunstancia de que el testigo se declaró como conocedor de las leyes de Suriname, quisiera preguntarle, de ser ello posible, Àqué valor, dentro del derecho interno de Suriname, tienen los Tratados y los Acuerdos Internacionales?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: En las leyes de Suriname no hay nada por escrito, pero en la doctrina, una de las fuentes de nuestro sistema jurídico, se reconocen los Tratados como Derechos supra nacionales. Un tratado, una ley supra nacional será, deberá ser ratificado por el Parlamento, pero lamentablemente hasta la fecha, eso no ha sido el caso en Suriname.
Con base en ese hecho, los daños morales que son reconocidos en la Convención de los Estados Americanos, no podrán ser honorados (honrados) como tales, porque las leyes nacionales no lo prevén. En realidad, es una tarea de los Estados americanos. No continúo, porque voy a emitir mi opinión personal.
JUEZ AGUIAR-ARANGUREN: Eso es todo, señor Presidente.
EL PRESIDENTE: Entonces, Àel señor Juez Barberis?
JUEZ BARBERIS: En Suriname, Àhay un Código Civil?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Sí.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Ese Código Civil, Àtiene influencia del Código Civil holandés?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Debo decir lo siguiente: con base en la recepción de las leyes holandesas, basadas en el principio de concordancia, las leyes holandeses fueron traspasadas a las leyes de Suriname.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Muchas gracias.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Eso sucedió en 1869 y ahí solamente se reconocían los daños reales.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Perdón, perdón. Yo le pregunto una cosa y usted solamente me responde eso. Yo le pregunté si el Código Civil de Suriname tiene influencia del Código Civil holandés. ÀNo la tiene?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No tiene debido a cambios en las leyes holandesas, en donde sí se reconocen los daños morales.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Yo no estoy hablando de daños morales. Dígame una cosa, Àcuál es la influencia de ese Código Civil? ÀDe dónde salió? ÀEs un Código totalmente autónomo, o tiene influencia del Derecho francés, o del Derecho alemán?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Son leyes sui géneris, debido a modificaciones en las leyes holandesas.
JUEZ BARBERIS: ÀHay una traducción al Saramaka del Código Civil surinamés?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: El idioma oficial en Suriname es....
JUEZ BARBERIS: Por eso, yo le pregunto; usted me dice sí, o no. ÀHay una traducción al Saramaka del Código Civil surinamés?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Bueno. Y entonces, Àcómo la población Saramaka conoce las leyes de Suriname?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: A través del idioma holandés que aprenden en la escuela.
JUEZ BARBERIS: ÀLa mayoría de la población Saramaka habla holandés?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Hablan holandés, hasta donde tengo conocimiento, sobre todo después de 1986.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Otra cuestión. Usted dijo que las leyes de Suriname rigen en todo el territorio de Suriname, pero Àson verdaderamente efectivas también en el interior del territorio o hay un derecho consuetudinario?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Todos los surinameses caen bajo una misma ley, también en el interior y los Saramakas son surinameses.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Muchas gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: ÀEl Juez Nieto?
JUEZ NIETO: ÀLe entendí bien cuando usted dijo que el Código Civil prohibe la poligamia?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Sí, así es.
JUEZ NIETO: ÀEl Código Civil prohibe la poligamia?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No es reconocido.
JUEZ NIETO: ÀHay poligamia de hecho?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Si contesto esta pregunta, vuelvo a dar mi opinión personal.
JUEZ NIETO: No, es un hecho. Si lo conoce, me puede decir, yo no sé si hay, por ejemplo. Es un hecho. No le estoy pidiendo una opinión personal, le estoy preguntando si hay poligamia de hecho.
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No sé.
JUEZ NIETO: ÀLe entendí cuando dijo que hay obligación de registrarse civilmente, nacimientos, matrimonios, etc.? ÀExiste esa obligación?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: Eso es obligado por la ley.
JUEZ NIETO: ÀEstá todo el mundo registrado? Me pareció oírle que un 85% o algo, Àpero eso significa que no todo el mundo está registrado?
SR. RAMÓN DE FREITAS: No sé, no soy experto en la materia para decir. Pero con base en la ley de ficción, se puede decir, que todo el mundo debería de estar registrado.
JUEZ NIETO: No tengo más preguntas.
EL PRESIDENTE: El Juez Buergenthal.
JUEZ BUERGENTHAL: No.
EL PRESIDENTE: La Juez Picado.
JUEZ PICADO: No.
EL PRESIDENTE: Yo tampoco tengo preguntas.
JUEZ BARBERIS: Yo quiero hacer una consideración. La Corte, después de haber escuchado tres testigos tiene o, al menos yo tengo, dos visiones totalmente distintas. Según las dos personas que depusieron en primer lugar, veo que existe un derecho consuetudinario y una situación muy particular. Según el último testimonio, la ley de Suriname rige con la misma efectividad en todo el territorio surinamés. Yo sugiero que haya aquí un careo entre los testigos, unos y otros, a ver si se puede llegar a deducir una opinión única, porque hasta ahora nosotros tenemos dos opiniones totalmente distintas.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, yo pienso, con el respeto, señor Juez Barberis, que no sería un papel de la Corte hacer los careos. Porque eso sería materia penal y no llegaríamos tampoco a una conclusión porque cada quien tiene su punto de vista sobre el particular. No sé si estoy en lo cierto.
En ese sentido, ÀMr. Jackman?
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Mr. President, have you ruled that there would not be such a procedure? You have ruled?
EL PRESIDENTE: Yes.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
EL PRESIDENTE: En ese sentido y como ya terminó el interrogatorio de las partes, de los jueces, termina esta parte de la audiencia. Nos retiramos 10 minutos para seguir con la parte final de la audiencia que se refiere a los alegatos.
Bueno, si ustedes dicen así, muy bien. Esto es intermedio, no? Bueno sí, ya hablamos sobre esto. Entonces, si es así, consideran que la Corte no está cansada, entonces seguiríamos adelante.
Entonces le pediríamos a la Comisión que hiciera un breve resumen, lo más breve posible, de sus puntos de vista sobre las proposiciones que presenta en cuanto a las indemnizaciones o las reparaciones, en general, que ha presentado para después pedirle al Gobierno que haga valer sus puntos de vista sobre el mismo punto.
Dígame usted. El testigo puede retirarse, perdón.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Señor Presidente, con todo el respeto, viendo lo avanzado de la hora y si no fuera inconveniente, la representación de Suriname quisiera pedirle a la Presidencia trasladar la posibilidad de expresar sus alegatos finales para el día de mañana, a primera hora, si fuera del caso.
EL PRESIDENTE: No es posible conceder ese punto, esta situación porque mañana tenemos las audiencias de otro caso. Entonces ese es el motivo por el cual, a pesar de lo avanzado de la hora y dado el objeto de esta reunión, que por eso les pedíamos, claro con la mayor brevedad posible, que no se trata de repetir los escritos, sino simplemente, que hagan sus alegatos en cuanto a esta situación de las reparaciones. Y por eso pedí a la Comisión que lo hiciera de la manera más sintética posible.
SR. OLIVER JACKMAN: Thank you Mr. President. I will be extremely brief. The position of the Commission is set forth in the Memorandum, the Court has heard witnesses and has seen witnesses, and is in the position, both to judge the value of the testimony which is given, as well as the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses who have given evidence; and this is the Court's responsibility. I think that it is my responsibility, however, to mention very briefly, my conviction which is borne out in the records of this Court and in the judgments of this Court, that this Court is fully qualified to come to its conclusion on an equitable basis.
This, as I understand it, is the meaning of the provision in Article 63 of the Convention, where the term employed, where the Court is required to see that fair compensation be paid to the injured party.
The Court has, indeed, itself, in the Velásquez-Rodríguez case used the words "on an equitable basis". This view has also been taken by the European Court of Human Rights in a number of cases. It may be helpful, perhaps, to refer the Court to Felburger, which, under the relevant comment of the European Court is funded, Page 8 of Volume 124 of the publications of the European Court, where indeed, the Court says that it is required by its own corresponding rule, which is Article 50 of the European Convention, it is required to act on the basis, on an equitable basis, in circumstances where it is not open to the Court to track down every possible source of information about possible damage, or to take into account every possible answer to every possible allegation about a possible source of damage.
This position is also taken by the European Court in Colodsa, which is reported in Volume 89 of the publications of the European Court of Human Rights. And I believe, your Honors are perfectly capable of, are perfectly entitled by law, by precedent and indeed, by common sense, in a situation such as this, where there has been presented, on the one hand, a very detailed brief, supported by detailed expert evidence; and where, on the other hand there has been presented somewhat less than a detailed and supported rebuttal.
With these few words, I am confident that I can leave this matter in the hands of the Court and, with the permission of the President, I would ask Professor Grossman to address a few words on the general considerations which have been brought out in the evidence which you have heard today.
SR. CLAUDIO GROSSMAN: Muchas gracias. Honorable Corte, las categorías de daños se encuentran sólidamente establecidas en el Derecho Internacional. Incluyen los daños materiales y los daños morales. Los daños materiales tienen, en nuestra opinión han sido comprobados. Hay algunas circunstancias especiales en esta situación que tienen que ver con el contexto de una tribu que vive en el interior de una jungla, con un máximo de 15% de hombres que hablan holandés, un porcentaje muy alto de analfabetismo y dificultades de acceso muy grandes.
A nosotros nos parece que desde la interpretación dada por la, en su opinión consultiva por la Corte Internacional de Justicia en el, sobre ciertas reservas planteadas en la Convención sobre genocidios, los instrumentos de derechos humanos se interpretan a favor de las, de los seres humanos y tiene un propósito humanizante. Una interpretación formalista o técnica del derecho, de la responsabilidad haría simplemente imposible satisfacer estándares que serían adecuados y propios en una sociedad industrializada y con gran desarrollo tecnológico.
Es importante convencer a la Corte que nosotros hicimos todo lo humanamente posible, dentro de los recursos disponibles, para hacer una labor convincente. Tuvimos que contratar aviones, incurrir en gastos de transporte grandes, enviar gente al interior de la jungla para satisfacer lo que creemos un estándar razonable de prueba.
No necesitamos recordar a esta Corte, que las circunstancias son relevantes para analizar el nivel de prueba requerido. Esta misma Corte, en el caso de Velázquez-Rodríguez, estableció que las circunstancias de un caso, la gravedad de los hechos imputados, entre otras cosas, podrían tomarse en cuenta, e incluso en el establecimiento de los méritos, se tendrían en cuenta esos factores para ver la precedencia, de inferencias, presunciones y deducciones razonables.
No creemos que haya otra situación que llame más para la articulación de un estándar de prueba realista, que esta situación de una comunidad que vive en una situación bastante inaccesible en el interior de la jungla.
Nos parece también que hemos tenido éxito en probar los daños materiales, los daños morales infligidos a las víctimas y sus dependientes. No es relevante, desde el punto de vista del Derecho Internacional, como ha sido planteado aquí, que los daños morales no sean reconocidos por el Derecho de Suriname. Pueden o no ser reconocidos, pueden o no, ser vigente la legislación de Suriname, dentro del territorio Saramaka, pero diga lo que diga una u otra legislación, el Derecho Internacional articula algún estándar propio en torno a la procedencia de daños morales.
Nos parece, además, que hemos probado la existencia de una comunidad, incluso el ilustrado Gobierno lo ha planteado aquí; que existe algo llamado el pueblo Saramaka. Y nosotros hemos creído que hemos probado que se les ha infligido un daño en la muerte de siete de sus miembros.
Llamamos la atención de la Corte, que hemos tenido que recurrir extensamente a declaraciones juradas. Pero quiero decir que son declaraciones juradas de un pueblo con un gran sentido de dignidad, de hombres y mujeres que sienten dentro su tradición cultural, que la verdad es un valor por sí mismo.
Quiero decir también, que el recurrir a declaraciones juradas es un instrumento utilizado, no sólo en el caso de los Saramakas, sino que tiene precedencia y se utiliza ampliamente en instituciones, en órganos de decisión internacional. En el reciente caso, por ejemplo, es decidido entre Chile y los Estados Unidos, sobre la compensación a ser pagada por el Gobierno chileno, ex gracia, por el asesinato de Orlando Letelier en Washington. El medio de prueba utilizado por el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos para establecer daños morales, para establecer costas y costos, fueron declaraciones juradas o affidavit y el tribunal arbitral reconoció su precedencia y existen, además, suficientes precedentes en el Derecho Internacional.
Quisiera terminar diciendo que en esta misma Corte articuló un elemento de justicia también, en sus decisiones anteriores. A la Corte le corresponde hacer, como dijo en el caso de Velázquez-Rodríguez, una estimación prudente de los daños, a la luz de las pruebas planteadas, en un contexto y reconociendo las características de contexto.
Pedimos y esperamos que ustedes estimen que es prudente lo que hemos pedido, en términos de daños material y moral para los familiares y dependientes. No tiene mucho que ver en, entre paréntesis, si son o no esposas legítimas. Desde el punto de vista del Derecho Internacional lo que vale es la noción de dependencia. Puede ser un tío que no está casado con, obviamente con la persona muerta, pero si hay una relación de dependencia, hay que compensarlo.
Así que muchas veces el debate tenía características académicas, pero consideramos no relevantes, desde el punto de vista jurídico. La relación de dependencia y aquí hay una relación de dependencia económica que mostramos con el testimonio de que traía el dinero, testimonio jurado y se repartía entre las distintas mujeres. No importa que se les reconozca la calidad de mujeres legítimas.
Quiero decir, además, que la misma Convención Americana dice en su Artículo 29 que hay que preferir interpretaciones con un contenido humanitario y esa desde luego, no excluye una relación de dependencia que sería muy artificial.
Voy a terminar diciendo también que esperamos que haya una estimación prudente de las costas y de los costos del juicio. Nosotros lo hemos planteado y todos ellos van a ser donados a instituciones de derechos humanos, sobre la base de declaraciones juradas.
Por último, reiterando lo que planteaba el Honorable delegado de la Comisión, existen numerosas disposiciones de la Convención que autorizan a esta Corte a considerar la equidad. Me refiero al Artículo 4, que utiliza la expresión "arbitraria" y no sólo legal, en la pena de muerte; al Artículo 21 de la Convención sobre compensación por de privación de libertad; al Artículo 29 que da normas de interpretación que permiten referirse a la Declaración Americana; al propio estatuto, que en su Artículo 47, Párrafo tercero, autoriza a esta Corte a rechazar un acuerdo entre las partes, por no ser justo, por ejemplo.
Aquí de lo que se trata es de que se haga justicia y conociendo el caso que hemos planteado y las víctimas, la tribu Saramaka tiene la gran esperanza de que eso se pueda hacer factible hoy día. Muchas gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: Bueno, en ese caso, pediríamos al representante del ilustrado Gobierno de Suriname que haga valer sus puntos de vista sobre este aspecto de las reparaciones.
SR. CARLOS VARGAS: Muchas gracias, señor Presidente. Al igual que el ilustre representante de la Comisión, quisiera ser breve respecto a las conclusiones de la presente audiencia.
Luego de escuchar la prueba testimonial y pericial aportada, el señor Presidente de Suriname desea expresar a esta Corte que, en su opinión, la indemnización en el presente caso contencioso, deberá de abarcar fundamentalmente, medidas de carácter no financiero, que incluyen facilidades de consecución, sin costo alguno, de vivienda propia, propiedad agraria, seguridad social, laboral, médica y educativa.
Por tal razón, Suriname está en la disposición de brindar en un plazo razonable, a los familiares de las víctimas, las facilidades antes descritas, las cuales serían cuantificadas como parte de la justa indemnización patrimonial que se obligaría a pagar.
No compartimos, señor Presidente, los criterios indemnizatorios de la Comisión. Antes bien, los consideramos no consecuentes con la realidad social y económica existente en Suriname. El consentir pagos, los pagos exigidos por la Comisión, equivaldría a hacer pagos por un monto de aproximadamente un 5% del total de las exportaciones de Suriname. Lo cual implica que se castigaría, en cierta medida, a la población civil surinamesa.
Señor Presidente, en diciembre rechazamos, perdón, en diciembre pasado, Suriname llegó a esta Corte con el fin de rectificar el desviado camino previamente seguido por anteriores gobiernos. Así como mostrar a la Corte y a la comunidad internacional, la seriedad de las intenciones que en materia de protección de los derechos humanos, tiene el Gobierno del Presidente Venetiaan.
Reconocimos ante esta Corte nuestros errores y la responsabilidad por la muerte de siete civiles de Suriname. Sin embargo consideramos señor Presidente, que ese examen de conciencia gubernamental, no debería de ser tomado como pretexto para que, bajo el amparo de la exigencia de pago de indemnizaciones millonarias, se empobrezca, aún más, la nación de Suriname.
Hemos oído aquí, señor Presidente, opiniones de expertos. Sin embargo, consideramos que la evidencia testimonial aportada, no puede ser considerada como tal y menos aún, para determinar pagos pecuniarios y morales a los familiares de las víctimas en el presente caso.
Esperamos que esta Honorable Corte, siguiendo los precedentes establecidos en la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos, logre un adecuado fallo. No sólo tomando en cuenta los derechos de los familiares de las víctimas, sino la realidad social y económica existente en Suriname. Muchísimas gracias.
EL PRESIDENTE: Muchas gracias, señor representante del Gobierno de Suriname.
Entonces con estos alegatos, queda terminada esta audiencia y se levanta la sesión pública.
EL SECRETARIO: La Corte se retira.
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