Dictamen médico legal del Dr. Federico Allodi, presentado por la Comisión el 7 de julio de 1992.


CASE 10.150

TO: The Inter American Court of Human Rights

DATE: 7/7/92


The Commission's legal team and the lawyer for the families of the victims in this case present to the honorable Court the attached report authored by Dr. Federico Allodi. Dr. Allodi is a medical doctor and a psychiatrist. This report sets forth an assessment of the psychological pain and suffering that would result from the actions of the Government on which this case is based. Our brief on the issue of compensation in this case, presented on March 31, 1992, noted that this report would be forthcoming. Due to several logistical problems we have only just received this report, and respectfully submit it to the Court.


cc: Agent of the Government of Suriname

July 6, 1992

Prof. Claudio Grossman

Washington College of Laws

The American University

4400 Massachusetts Ave., North West

Washington, D.C. 20016-8084

FAX: 011 506 231 609


RE: Psychological Damage, Pain and Suffering of the Suriname victims. A report to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Organizations of the American State, Washington, D.C., July, 3, 1992


I, Federico Allodi, Licenciate in Medicine and Surgery (MD), from the University of Madrid, Spain, 1957, Licensed to practice in the Province of Ontario, Canada since 1964, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists of the United Kingdom, a Psychiatrist and Associate Professor in the University of Toronto, Director of the Program of Transcultural Psychiatry at the Toronto Hospital, consultant to the World Health Organization, a founder of the Canadian Medical Group of Amnesty International in Toronto and a former member of the Medical Advisory Board of Amnesty International in London, England, an expert witness to the Inter American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1990 on the case of Velasquez Rodriguez vs. the State of Honduras, affirm and attest the following:

1. I read the brief filed by the Inter American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C. before the Inter American Court of Human Rights on the issue of damages to their family members and dependents as a result of the killings of Aloeboetoe et al. This brief includes annexes 3 to 13 with questionnaires answered by the families of the victims on February 19, 1992.

2. I have read also a general background information on the Saramaka, a Cimaroon people of Suriname, as written by Sally Price in co-Wives and Calabashas, Ann Arbour, University of Michigan Press, 1984, in which the Saramakas are described as premodern, matrilineal and communal group with a kinship system (bee) as the legal family entity.

3. I have noted in particular that the victims were seven young men, ages ranging from 14 to 44 years of age (5 of them in their 20's and early 30's), killed on the 31st of December, 1987 (1 died subsequently), at the massacre of Atjoni in Suriname. It is reported that the victims were unarmed and killed by the Suriname military.

4. That the families were not allowed (in all cases but one) to recover the bodies and give them proper burial, a sign of respect to the dignity of the dead persons and as a ritual of coping with the death of the loved ones and healing the wound caused by such violent loss.

5. That the method to estimate and assess moral or psychological damages was valid and reliable in itself, using standard questionnaires administered in their own language by a bilingual person. Relevant questions were asked as to lifestyle before and after the massacre, the trauma and indignities suffered by themselves at the hands of the military and others, and the symptoms thereafter experienced, specifically insomnia, nightmares, paranoid delusions, alcohol and drug addiction and other illnesses or forms of deviant behavior. They were asked whether subsequent deprivation was suffered by the surviving wife(s) and children. another relevant question asked was whether the lack of judiciary investigation following the death of a member of their family and community was ¬experienced as an expression of lesser value attached to the lives of the maroons by the central government¬ and its institutions. It is clear that the assessment of damages has taken into account the intrinsic nature and value attached to the trauma and the crime by the victims' relatives and community in terms of their own culture.

6. That in the individual cases of the families of the seven victims they expressed their great suffering because of their relatives' sudden and violent death, and in one case, specifically the wife of Aside, she was reported mentally ill after receiving the news of her husband's death, and a grandmother of another victim (Indie Hendrick Banai) was disabled for work consequently to the death of the victim.

7. That, in conclusion, it is my considered opinion that as a result of the massacre of Atjoni on the 31st of December, 1987, pervasive and lasting psychological damage has been caused to the individual family members and dependents of each one of the victims, and that, in the majority of cases, particularly the elderly, the very young and the women, this damage is likely to be depriving, disabling and long-lasting.

8. It is also my considered opinion that, as is the case in extended kinship systems and communal societies, considerable damage is likely to have been caused on the community itself to be manifested in a loss of group morale, hope, values and trust in their own institutions, as would be the case if an attack upon a modern Western society had been suffered in its own legal, religious or social institutions.

9. Finally, it is my considered opinion that justice and adequate material and symbolic compensation for the material and moral damages suffered by the families of victims, their dependents and their communities can be a mechanism to restore part of the lost peace of mind and equilibrium suffered at individual, family and community levels and that the failure to do so will make the damage more prolonged and severe.

Respectfully submitted.


F. Allodi, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)

Director, Transcultural Psychiatry Program

The Toronto Hospital, Toronto Western Division

Associate Professor in Psychiatry

University of Toronto


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