Conviction Of Dutch Timber Trader For Complicity In War Crimes Should Make Industry Sit Up And Think

Dutch timber baron and arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven was recently sentenced to 19 years imprisonment for illegal arms trading and complicity in war crimes in Liberia and Guinea. This is a rare example of a foreign crook, masquerading as a businessman as they too often do, actually being held accountable for the damage they have wreaked on the African continent.

Ironically, it’s Africa’s misfortune that it is vastly rich in natural wealth. It has an abundance of oil, iron ore, diamonds, gold, copper tantalum, tin, rubber and timber – strategic resources that the world needs. It also possesses those that the world simply wants, like ivory, rhino horn and, until not that long ago, the bloodiest resource of all: slaves.

This means that for centuries Africa has attracted the wrong sort of foreign interest – colonialism, multinational companies and carpetbaggers alike, ranging from Belgium’s King Leopold and his explorer friend Henry Morton Stanley, to the modern day buccaneers; losers, opportunists and often criminals who could play the big men in Africa, like Mark Thatcher. Guus Kouwenhoven was one of these.

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Source: Global Witness Report

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About Cholo Brooks 14418 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.