Ampliación del informe pericial de 3 de mayo de 1993.


To: Judge Hector Fix-Zamudio, President

Inter-American Court

of Human Rights

Fax (506) 34-05-84

From: Merina Eduards

Fax (597) 410 950

Tel (597) 476 640 (work)

Date: May 3, 1993

No. of pages: 12 (including this one)


Reply to Fax of 16 March 1993:

Question I. What are the consequences related to the right of inheritance according to Saramakan customs of divorce?

When a man dies, his wife has no rights of inheritance. His possessions will be inherited by his matrilineal family. The wife will only retain what her husband gave her in his lifetime.

Question II. According to your information none of the divorced women appear to have remarried. Confirm that.

Indeed, my fax dated March 12, 1993 was not complete. I indicated who was divorced prior to the death of the victims, but I did not mention that three women had remarried: Somba Vorstwijk, Aniemoeje Adipi and Me-mei Foto. Herewith the additional information:

I.H. Banai:

- Somba Vorstwijk remarried to Ba Eli/Guyaba

- Aniemoeje Adipi remarried to Adoofu Popoe/Guyaba

Deede-manoe Aloeboetoe:

- Me-mei Foto no husband at present

Note: After divorcing Deede-manoe Aloeboetoe, Me-mei Foto remarried three times and divorced three times again. The names of her three ex-husbands are:

- Afajeli Asoedanoe - Guyaba

- Abende Popoe - Guyaba

- Pijai Kodemoesoe - Guyaba

For the sake of convenience, I will present below a complete overview of the information I have:


- Mangumau Adjako no information

- Elsje Lugard remarried to Kondemasa/Guyaba

- Adona Tiopo remarried to Kaamaa / NW.Aurora


- Somba Vorstwijk remarried to Ba Eli/Guyaba

- Aniemoeje Adipi remarried to Addofu Popoe/Guyaba

- Adelia Koedem remarried to Atema/Guyaba


- Dina Abauna remarried to Baaje/Guyaba

- Ajemu Sampi remarried to Koemoeliba/Pambooko

- Glenda remarried to no information


- Me-mei Foto no husband at present

- Norman Aloeboetoe remarried to Paipai/Heikuun

- Asoinda Tiopo remarried to Koona/Guyaba


- Asoedanoe Wenke not remarried

- Aingifesi Aloeb. remarried to Panuu/Guyaba

Question III. How many hours you have spent in the preparation of the report already sent.

First Report November 23, 1992 17 hours

Second Report March 12, 1993 37 hours

Third Report May 3, 1993 35 hours

Total, as of May 3, 1993 89 hours

Reply to Fax of 20 March 1993

Question I. Does the word ¬passi¬means zone or should it always be Tjongalangapassi? Clarify this issue.

The word ¬passi¬means road. In this case, Tjongalangapassi refers to the zone along the road. To reach the Saramakan villages - such as Guyaba - situated along the river, one had to first travel 180 kilometers by road (see my fax dated March 12, 1993). The first 30 km of the road is paved, the second section of 75 km is a unpaved laterite (¬bauxite¬) road leading to the transmigration village of Brownsweg, situated on the north-west corner of the lake.

The third section of 75 km, also laterite, takes the traveler along the foothills of the ¬Brownsberg¬mountain range lining the west side of the lake, At the beginning, the road goes west, then curves to the south, following the west side foothills of the Brownsberg mountain range, while the final section curves towards the east again, until the road ends at the river. Here travelers transfer to canoes and continue their journey up-river. This entire third section is called ¬Tjongalangapassi¬- it is names after the construction company which built the road in 1982.

The Saramakans established camps and gardens along the road, usually between one and three acres, and practice shifting cultivation. A person living along the road will be referred to as Mr. X of ¬Tjongalangapassi¬of km. 145.

Question II. A. Is there a legal parallel market?

B. Would the government be able to pay the compensations in US $?

C. And if so, whether the beneficiaries are entitled to change the US $ into Sf in the black market without problems?

D. Are the private banks or financial institutions authorized to pay the beneficiaries in US $ or is Sf at the legal parallel market rate?

A. Several exchange rates are currently in effect in Suriname. Here are the ones I am familiar with:

- the official rate legal : US 1 : Sf 1,80

- ¬Arron¬rate legal : US 1 : Sf 5,00

- bauxite sector rate legal : US 1 : Sf 8,00

- auction rate legal : US 1 : Sf24,80

- black market rate not legal : US 1 : Sf50,00*

* In my fax of March 12, 1993 the rate of the parallel market was Sf 37-40. Early April the rate climbed to 64, and then dropped again to around 45. Now it is up again to about 50.

The auction rate could be considered the ¬legal parallel rate¬. It is now legal to posses foreign currency in Suriname, and persons can open a foreign currency account at a Suriname bank.

The black market rate is not official, therefore, it is not ¬ilegal¬. However, it is important to note that more than half of the imports take place on the basis of foreign currency supplied by private sources operating on the black market. The government knows this perfectly well, and even grants import licenses financed by private foreign currency sources. The government does not actively inhibit the unofficial black market trade in foreign currency.

B. Would the government be able to pay the compensations in US dollars?

From a legal point of view, the government can pay the compensation in US Dollars to a holder of a foreign currency account at a foreign currency bank in Suriname.

The problem starts when the recipient decides to withdraw money from the account. Two of the three foreign currency banks, the Suriname and the ABN-AMRO bank, said that a foreign currency account holder may withdraw foreign currency. The Hakrin Bank, however, says that they will only allow withdrawals in Suriname currency, at the auction rate.

From a practical point of view, it is unrealistic to expect that the Suriname government would be able, or would be inclined, to pay the beneficiaries in foreign currency, simply because it lacks such funds. And even if the government would agree to such a procedure, which is extremely unlikely, it is to be expected that considerable delays would occur before the deposits are made in the accounts of the beneficiaries. Even salaries being paid in Surinamese currency to civil servants are delayed occasionally due to shortages in local currency.

The following table presents an overview of the deficits of the government from 1982 until 1990 in million Sf.:

1982 + 271.8

1983 - 313.2

1984 - 311.5

1985 - 371.8

1986 - 461.5

1987 - 485.2

1988 - 510.5

1989 - 403.1

1990 - 263.6

Source: Central Bank of Suriname

C. And if so, whether the beneficiaries are entitled to change the US $ into Sf in the black market without problems?

This question has already been answered above. As noted, the beneficiaries would be able to withdraw foreign currency at two banks, and, of course, nothing stops them from taking their foreign currency to the money changes under the market, to be changed into Suriname florins. I noted above, however, that this transaction is not legal.

D. Are the private banks or financial institutions authorized to pay the beneficiaries in US dollars, or in Sf at the legal parallel market rate?

As noted above, there are two private banks in Suriname where it is possible to have a current account in dollars. The heads of the foreign currency divisions at the Suriname Bank and the ABN-AMRO Bank told me that a holder of a foreign currency account can make a withdrawal in foreign currency. Withdrawals in local currency will take place at the auction rate.

It is important to note, however, that in the long term under the current monetary conditions, the beneficiaries wishing to operate legally will always be at a disadvantage. When the last auction took place, which produced a rate of 25 for the US dollar, the street rate hovered between 30 and 40. During March the rate started to climb, and of course, the prices in the stores increased drastically. The street rate is 50 today.

Assume that a beneficiary wants to withdraw funds from their dollar account, and does not want to use the illegal black market to change money, they will have to settle for the auction rate of 25.50. Therefore, the purchasing power of the compensation given to the beneficiaries, exchanged at the legal auction rate, will always lag behind in relation to the prices in the stores. Needless to say, the beneficiaries will always want to change their money on the black market at the street rate, even though this is not legal.

I have been told that the ¬Foreign Currency Commission¬of the Ministry of Finance has granted certain firms permission to open foreign currency accounts abroad, but only in exceptional circumstances, and under the condition that they report the holdings and transactions in these accounts.

Question III. A. Would it be feasible to entrust a private financial institution or bank with the management of a trust fund for the children of the victims?

B. If so, please provide the names of some institutions or banks which have offices in Paramaribo.

There are two private financial institutions which can manage trust funds. The names are ¬Suritrust¬, a subsidiary of the Surinaamsche Bank, and the ¬Nationale Trust Maatschappij¬, a subsidiary of the Hakrinbank. Here are the addresses.


Gravenstraat 26-28

Paramaribo, Suriname (Tel. 597 71100)

Nationale Trust and Financieringsmij

Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 11-13

Paramaribo, Suriname (Tel. 597 77722)

I discussed this problem with Ilse Labadie, of Suritrust, and she said that they manage trust funds. She does recognize, of course, that it is very complex affair to make a trust fund inflation proof under the current economic circumstances in Suriname.

I also talked to Mr. Haarsma of the ABM-AMRO Bank, a branch office in Suriname of a bank in the Netherlands. Mr. Haarsma said that it is legal to have a foreign currency account, and the client can also make withdrawals in foreign currency. Please note that this a branch office of a foreign bank, so they might have more latitude than banks registered in Suriname.

Mr. H. Haarsma


Kerkplein 1

Paramaribo, Suriname

Tel.: (597) 71555

Even though things might seem optimistic, I recommend that this matter be investigated by an accountant who has extensive experience in dealing with third world economies, third world governments, parallel markets and hyper-inflation.

Question IV. Figures of:


- GNP per capita

- Official minimum salary in Suriname

- Balance of trade (exports and imports)

- Other relevant economic figures to update the information on the economic situation of Suriname.

Table I. GNP (* 1 mln Sf)

Year GNP at factor cost GNP at market prices

1980 1.311,55 1.559,25

1981 1.531,48 1.801,08

1982 1.598,09 1.843,19

1983 1.520,91 1.747,31

1984 1.516,71 1.730,81

1985 1.562,57 1.745,57

1986 1.651,01 1.797,43

1987 1.826,57 1.965,90

1988 2.123,90 2.305,98

1989 2.471,02 2.695,46

1990 2.759,01 3.044,26

Source: General Bureau of Statistics

Tale II. GNP per capita (* 1 mln Sf.)

Year GNP per capita

1980 4.373,82

1981 5.069,88

1982 5.077,41

1983 4.712,26

1984 4.574.45

1985 4.528,80

1986 4.604,72

1987 4.994,09

1988 5.810,36

1989 6.724,78

1990 7.561,48

Official minimum salary in Suriname:

The minimum salary for public sector was Sf 734 (gross). After the recent strikes, the government granted a raise of 40%, the minimum salary is now Sf 750 (gross).

I can't find figures for the private sector. I went to the General Bureau of Statistics and they promised to gather the information for me.

Table III. Balance of trade (Exports and Imports)

Year Export Import

1980 918,2 900,3

1981 845,7 1.013,7

1982 765,1 921,2

1983 654,7 806,0

1984 650,8 639,4

1985 562,7 553,2

1986 535,2 443,2

1987 464,4 378,4

1988 640,1 430,2

1989 980,3 592,5

1990 831,6 668,3

1991 617,5 610,4

Other relevant economic figures:

Table IV. Inflation and purchasing power

Year Inflation Purchasing power

1980 13 100

1981 9 92

1982 7 86

1983 4 82

1984 3 79

1985 11 71

1986 19 60

1987 54 39

1988 7 37

1989 1 36

1990 22 30

1991 26 24

1992 43,7 17

Source: General Bureau of Statistics

Table V. Poverty line (in Sf per month) per household of X number of adults (A) and Y number of children (c) per 1-7-'88

/C 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 379 607 824 1037 1247 1456 1663

2 600 828 1045 1258 1468 1677 1884

3 785 1013 1230 1443 1653 1862 2069

4 950 1178 1395 1608 1818 2069 2234

Table VI. Poverty line (in Sf per month) per household of X number of adults (A) and Y number of children (C) per 1-7-'90

/C 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 500 801 1087 1368 1645 1920 2102

2 792 1092 1378 1659 1937 2212 2485

3 1036 1336 1622 1903 2181 2456 2729

4 1253 1554 1840 2121 2398 2673 2946

Table VII. Poverty line (in Sf per month) per household of X number of adults (A) and Y number of children (C) per 1/1/93

/C 0 1 2 3 4

1 970 1500 2000 2490 3000

2 1540 2060 2560 3050 3540

3 2010 2540 3030 3520 4010

4 2430 2960 3460 3950 4430

5 2820 3340 3840 4330 4820

Table VIII. Population of Suriname 1972-1990

Year Sum of population

1972 381.647

1973 383.931

1974 381.432

1975 364.499

1976 354.395

1977 362.094

1978 367.325

1979 364.992

1980 356.515

1981 355.270

1982 363.036

1983 370.819

1984 378.383

1985 385.456

1986 390.363

1987 393.617

1988 396.894

1989 401.135

1990 403.511

Question V. At what age does a person become of age in Suriname?

At the age of 21 (twenty-one) a person has become of age in Suriname. Note: at the age of 18 (eighteen) a person is prosecutable.

Question VI. At what age do generally Saramaka men and women get married?

Marital age in Saramakan society varies with the customs of each village. If ones home village is a traditional Saramakan village - known as heathen villages - the age of getting married for a girl is 13 (thirteen) and for a boy 18 (eighteen) - or at least 17 - years. In the heathen villages most of the children do not attend school.

If ones home village is Christian, children are obliged to go to school. If there is no possibility to continue studying after primary school. Most girls will marry at the age of 16 (sixteen), while a boy is likely to get married at the age of 18 (eighteen). If the possibility exists for a girl or boy to continue their studies after elementary school, the girl will tend to get married after completing her secondary education. The same holds for the boys. There are few Saramakans who married after completing their university education.

Question VII. What would be the economic status or situation of a Surinamese who acquires US $ 50.000 and of one acquires US $ 20.000, and what do these figures mean for a person in Paramaribo, and also in the interior of your country?

The economic status of a Surinamese who acquires this amount of money, whether he is in Paramaribo or in the interior, will be that of a millionaire, because, if possible, they will exchange it at the black market rate.

A person from the interior who receives US $ 20.000 is likely to spent the money to by the following items:

a house (town style model) for himself

a house (town style model) for his wife

a house (town style model) for his mother

buy a plot of land in town or a hose

a outboard motor

a chain saw

a shot gun for himself, his sons, sons of his sisters

stereo equipment

a truck to transport people and goods to the interior

clothes (pangi's) for his wife, mother, sisters and aunts

salt, petroleum, soap

A person in the interior who can afford all these items today will be considered well-off. some of the money will be put in a savings account, and this person is likely to take additional wives.

A person in Paramaribo would spend the money on buying a piece of land, a house, and probably invest it in a business enterprise.

A person who receives $50.000, is likely to do the same, only a larger piece of land will be bought, a more expensive house, or more items.

Question VIII. Information regarding the honorarium the Court owes Ms. Eduards.

Already answered in the questions reply to fax of 16 march 1993.

Merina Eduards

Paramaribo, May 3 1993


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