Liberia’s ‘War Criminal’ Fugitive Gus Kouwenhoven Arrested In South Africa

Augustinus Petrus Kouwenhoven

(News 24) Cape Town – A Dutch fugitive, convicted of selling weapons to former Liberian president Charles Taylor, was arrested after being tracked down to a home in the Cape Town suburb of Fresnaye on Friday.

Members of the Cape Town cluster of police swooped on the premises and arrested Augustinus Petrus Kouwenhoven, who is in his mid-70s, during an early morning raid.

He appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday afternoon.

He arrived surrounded by a large contingent of police. He walked slowly as the police guided him to the court room.

Head of the Cape Town police cluster Major-General Jeremy Vearey was at court for his arrival.

Kouwenhoven wore a striped blue and white shirt and jeans.

His attorney Gary Eisenberg said he was informed on Friday that his client would have to appear in court.

War crimes

In April this year, The Guardian reported that Kouwenhoven was convicted by the Dutch appeal court of being an accessory to war crimes and for selling weapons to Taylor during civil wars. Judgment was handed down in absentia against him at The Hague on April 21, 2017.

It is understood that he was sentenced to 19 years in jail in The Hague.

However, during this process, he apparently absconded.

At some point, he settled in Cape Town.

Interpol got wind of him being in Cape Town and the South African Police Service tracked him down.

A Reuters report from April 2006 said Kouwenhoven was charged with war crimes and gun smuggling.

It said he was a former executive of the Oriental Timber Company and the Royal Timber Corporation in Liberia.

The report said it was alleged that militias from his companies were believed to have been involved in the murdering of civilians, including babies.

It said Kouwenhoven was involved in the delivering of weapons

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About Cholo Brooks 15363 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.