THE LEGAL SYSTEM

First Section  GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 131
1. In Suriname justice shall be administered in the name of the Republic.

2. No act shall be punishable other than by virtue of a previously determined legal rule.

3. Every interference in investigation or prosecution and in cases pending in court shall be forbidden.

Article 132
Civil and commercial law, civil and military penal law and procedure shall be regulated by law in general codes, without prejudice to the power of the Legislature to regulate certain subjects in separate laws.

Second Section  THE JUDICIARY

Article 133
1. The Judicial Power is formed by the President and the Vice-President of the Court of Justice, the members and the deputy members of the Court of Justice, the Attorney-General with the Court of Justice, and the other members of the Public Prosecutors Office, and of other judicial functionaries indicated by law.

2. The law may provide that persons not belonging to the Judicial Power shall also take part in the activities of the Judicial Power.

3. The President, the Vice-President, the members and the deputy members of the Court of Justice constitute the Judicial Power that is charged with the administration of justice.

Article 134
1. The cognizance and adjudication of all lawsuits is exclusively entrusted to the Judicial Power, save when the law appoints another judge.

2. The pronouncement of punishment and of measures provided by law is also entrusted to the Judicial Power that is charged with the administration of justice, subject to exceptions made by law, which, when concerning imprisonment, may only relate to military penal and disciplinary law.

Article 135
1. The decision of lawsuits not arising from civil law relations may be referred by law to administrative judges. The law shall regulate the procedure of deciding and the consequences of such decision.

2. In the cases indicated in the previous paragraph the administrative appeal can also be made available. That appeal shall only exclude the competence of the Judicial Power insofar as this stems from the law.

Article 136
1. All judgements shall state the grounds upon which they are decided, and in penal cases they shall also indicate the articles of the legal regulations upon which the condemnation is based.

2. The court sessions shall be public, subject to exceptions made by the law.

3. For punishable acts designated by law for which no imprisonment is provided as sanctioned, the provision in the first paragraph may be departed from.

4. The pronouncement of sentence shall take place in public.

Article 137
Insofar as the judge considers the application of a legal rule in the particular case brought before him to be contrary to one or more constitutional rights mentioned in Chapter V, the application in that case shall be declared unwarranted by him.

Third Section  COMPOSITION OF THE JUDICIAL POWER

Article 138
The law shall determine the organization, the composition and the jurisdiction of the Judicial Power.

Article 139
The supreme instance of the Judicial Power entrusted with the administration of justice is called the Court of Justice of Suriname. The Court shall supervise the regular course and settlement of all lawsuits.

Article 140
Those who hold political office shall be liable to trial before the High Court, even after their retirement, for indictable acts committed in discharging their official duties. Proceedings are initiated against them by the Attorney-General after they have been indicted by the National Assembly in a manner to be determined by law. It may be determined by law that members of the High Boards of State and other officials shall be liable to trial for punishable acts committed in the exercise of their functions.

Article 141
1. To be appointed as a member of the Judicial Power entrusted with the administration of justice or as Attorney-General with the Court of Justice, one shall be at least thirty years of age and possess Suriname nationality and have domicile and main and real residence in Suriname.

2. The members of the Judicial Power entrusted with the administration of justice and the Attorney-General with the Court of Justice shall be appointed by the Government, after consultation of the Court of Justice. The appointment of the President, Vice-President, the members of the Court of Justice and the Attorney-General shall be for life.

3. The law determines the other conditions for appointment and also the financial provision for their benefit and that of their surviving relatives.

Article 142
1. The member of the Judicial Power entrusted with the administration of justice and the Attorney-General with the Court of Justice are discharged by the Government: on their request; when reaching the age of retirement.

2. The persons mentioned in the first paragraph may be discharged on the proposal of the Court of Justice:
  1. when they have been placed under legal restraint;
  2. in case of proven continuous mental disorder;
  3. if they have been sentenced to an irevocable detention for having committed a punishable act;
  4. if they have been declared bankrupt;
  5. when they have obtained a moratium or are under court custory for their civil debts;
  6. on the grounds of serious misconduct or immorality or in case of proven coninuous negligence in the fulfillment of their office.
Article 143
If the President is of the opinion that one of the reasons for discharge as mentioned in article 142, paragraph (2) are present, he can suspend the person in question and he can also provide for a temporary replacement in that office. The law regulates the consequences of the suspension and discharge from the office.

Fourth Section  THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Article 144
1. There shall be a Constitutional Court which is an independent body composed of a President, Vice-President and three members, who - as well as the three deputy members - shall be appointed for a period of five years at the recommendation of the National Assembly.

2. The tasks of the Constitutional Court shall be:
  1. to verify the purport of Acts or parts thereof against the Constitution, and against applicable agreements concluded with other states and with international organization;
  2. to assess the consistency of decisions of government institutions with one or more of the constituional rights mentioned in Chapter V.
3. In case the Constitutional Court decides that a contradiction exists with one or more provisions of hte Constitution or an agreement as referred to in paragraph 2 sub a, the Act or parts thereof, or those decisions of the government institutions shall not be considered binding.

4. Further rules and regulations concerning the composition, the organization and procedures of the Court, as well as the legal consequences of the decisions of the Constitutional Court, shall be determined by law.

Fifth Section  THE PUBLIC PROSECUTION

Article 145
The Public Prosecutor’s Office is to the exclusion of all other organs responsible for the investigation and is charged with the prosecution of all punishable acts. The law can derogate from this principle for the criminal procedure with regard to the military.

Article 146
1. The Public Prosecution with the Court of Justice shall be exercised by or for the Attorney-General.

2. The Attorney-General represents the Republic of Suriname before courts of law. He is the head of the public Prosecutor’s Office and is at the same time charged with the court police. He has the powers to give to the officers who are entrusted with police tasks, instructions towards preventing, detecting and researching punishable acts, which he deems necessary in the interests of sound justice.

Article 147
The Attorney-General supervises the correct execution of the tasks of the Police. He has the power to make any proposal that he considers practical in that regard.

Article 148
The Government determines the general prosecution policy. The Government may in specific instances give the Attorney-General orders with regard to prosecution, in the interest of state security.