Capital punishment was abolished in Suriname in 2015.

The last execution took place in 1982. By signing the Treaty of San José in 1987, the death penalty had already been abolished de facto.


Since Suriname was a Dutch colony until 1975, it followed Dutch law. In 1911, Frans Killinger and six accomplishes were sentenced to death for a coup d'état, however the sentence was commuted.[1] The last sentences were the French convict Coutanceau who had strangled a Chinese-Surinamese citizen during his escape attempt, and was hanged in 1922.[2] Rohanna who was executed for murder in 1923,[3][4] and Apatoe [nl] who was hanged in 1927 for murder.[5][6] From independence in 1975 to 1980, capital punishment was on the books, but no crimes committed were considered severe enough to warrant prosecution for it.

From 1980 to 1987, during the period of military dictatorship, the death penalty was used by the military government in the early years of its rule to get rid of political opponents. The last judicial execution in Suriname was that of Wilfred Hawker, a sergeant-major in the Surinamese military who had staged two unsuccessful coup attempts to overthrow the military government.[7][8] He was executed by firing squad on 13 March 1982. The government did carry out a series of extrajudicial executions in December 1982, when 15 imprisoned opponents of the military regime were shot without trial. The events would become known as the December murders.[9]


The death penalty had already been abolished de facto by signing the Treaty of San José in 1987, and in March 2015, the National Assembly approved legislation formally abolishing the death penalty in Suriname. But the legislators raised the highest prison term limits from 30 to 50 years in what is seen as a compromise to amending the Criminal code.[10]


  1. ^ "De nacht van Killinger" [Killinger's night]. Trouw (in Dutch). 26 May 1990. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ "De Doodstraf is Suriname" [The death penalty is Suriname]. Amigoe di Curacao (in Dutch). 23 December 1922. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Rohanna" [Rihanna]. De Surinamer (in Dutch). 14 January 1923. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Moord te Nickerie" [Murder in Nickerie]. De Noord-Ooster (in Dutch). 29 August 1925. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Niet beinvloeden" [Do not influence]. Suriname (in Dutch). 1 November 1927. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Het einde van Apatoe" [The end of Apatoe]. De West (in Dutch). 22 November 1927. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Around the World; Rebel Leader's Execution Announced by Suriname". The New York Times. 14 March 1982. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Hawker zonder vorm van proces terechtgesteld" [Hawker executed without trial] (in Dutch). 15 March 1982. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  9. ^ "SLACHTOFFERS" [VICTIMS]. Decembermoorden (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Suriname abolishes death penalty". Jamaica Gleaner. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2022.