Guus Kouwenhoven is a Dutch businessman, born in 1942.
The Second Civil War in Liberia (1999-2003) caused about 250’000 deaths. The parties to the conflict financed their war activities through exploitation and export of 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 capacity as Director of Operations of the Oriental Timber Company (OTC) and of the Royal Timber Company (RTC) in Liberia, Kouwenhoven managed the biggest timber operations in Liberia. Being close to Charles Taylor, Kouwenhoven facilitated the import of arms for the latter thereby infringing resolutions of the UN Security Council.
The United Nations consequently imposed a travel ban on Guus Kouwenhoven in 2001, qualifying him as “an arms trafficker breaching the Resolution 1343 of the Security Council” in addition to being “ someone who supported the efforts of ex-President Taylor in destabilizing Sierra Leone to gain illegal access to its diamonds”.
The imported arms were allegedly handed over to militia and utilized for number of massacres committed during the civil war. In addition, Guus Kouwenhoven also accused of having supplied the militias with vehicles and installations to transport and store these arms.