Guus Van Kouwenhoven is a Dutch businessman, born in 1943. Van Kouwenhoven was close to the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.
Throughout the civil war which raged on for seven years in Liberia and caused the death of 250’000 people, the parties to the conflict financed their war activities through overly exploiting and exporting the natural resources of the country. In particular, Charles Taylor used the funds generated by the excessive exploitation of timber and diamonds to illegally acquire large quantities of arms.
In his position as Director of Operations of the Oriental Timber Company (OTC) and of the Royal Timber Company (RTC) in Liberia, Van Kouwenhoven managed the biggest timber operations in Liberia. Having very close relations with Charles Taylor, Van Kouwenhoven facilitated the import of arms for the latter thereby infringing resolutions of the UN Security Council.
The United Nations Organisation consequently issued an order in 2001 banning Guus Van Kouwenhoven from travelling, qualifying him as “an arms trafficker in breach of Resolution 1343 of the Security Council” in addition to being “ someone who supported the efforts of ex-President Taylor in destabilising Sierra Leone to gain illegal access to its diamonds”.
According to the prosecution “the militias hired by the former timber companies belonging to this Dutchman, are accused of participating in the massacre of civilians not even sparing the life of babies. Guus Van Kouwenhoven is accused of having supplied the arms to the militias to enable them to carry out these crimes”.