Dutchman jailed over Liberian arms deals
7 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — A Dutch businessman was jailed for eight years by a court in The Hague on Wednesday for arms trading in Liberia from 2000-2003.
7 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — A Dutch businessman was jailed for eight years by a court in The Hague on Wednesday for arms trading in Liberia from 2000-2003.
The court acquitted Guus Kouwenhoven, 64, of involvement in war crimes in the war-torn African country.
The prosecution had sought a 20-year sentence, arguing that by feeding militias with weapons used to slaughter and maim civilians, he shared in the guilt for war crimes. But the court decided to sentence him to the maximum term of eight years for illegal arms dealing.
The judges ruled Kouwenhoven was well aware the United Nations had imposed an arms embargo on Liberia. He won concessions for his timber business by providing guns to warlord Charles Taylor.
Kouwenhoven "contributed significantly to violations of international peace and to the destabilisation and danger in the region around Liberia," the ruling said. However, the evidence was insufficient to show factual involvement and knowledge by Kouwenhoven in the commission of war crimes.
Last year, Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat was found guilty of complicity in war crimes and sentenced to 15 years for supplying chemicals to Saddam Hussein's regime. The chemicals were used to make chemicals weapons that were deployed against Saddam's enemies.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news