Wouter Basson

26.04.2016 ( Last modified: 14.06.2016 )
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Wouter Basson was born on the 6th of July in 1950 in South Africa. Cardiologist by profession, he served as head of biological and chemical program in the South African Secret Service, also known as “Project Coast” from 1981 to 1995.

Wouter Basson had worked for the medical team of the South African army. He was in particular responsible for gathering information on chemical and biological experiments in foreign countries. In 1981, he was appointed head of “Project Coast” while he worked as a doctor for the South African President Pieter Botha. The South African army then presented the project as a program that is primarily defensive.

Wouter Basson allegedly participated in the recruitment of over 200 scientists. He was also charged by the Civil Cooperation Bureau (“Civil Cooperation Bureau”) to develop chemical weapons to neutralize anti-apartheid activists. The objective of this project was to hinder the growth of the black population through chemical means. The research of Wouter Basson carried including the sterilization of black women and the growth of bacteria. In his capacity as a program manager for chemical and bacteriological South African Secret Service, Wouter Basson contributed to the development of a number of attacks and assassinations of anti-apartheid activists. The army provided such chemicals. Using this material, Wouter Basson developed objects and foods based on poison such as cigarettes containing anthrax, milk and whiskey containing toxic substances, and screwdrivers and umbrellas that were poisoned.

Wouter Basson retained his post under President Frederik de Klerk in 1990. He had been forced to cease production of chemical agents and focused on the production of non-agents banned by the government such as Ecstasy and Mandrax sold in the anti-media activities apartheid. The Wouter Basson’s activities became subject of internal administrative investigations in 1993. “Project Coast” has subsequently been dismantled and chemical stocks have disappeared from the South African army.

Wouter Basson had traveled to Libya several times between 1993 and 1995 and is suspected to have sold chemical and biological weapons. Despite his duties in the South African secret services under apartheid, Wouter Basson was still engaged in the Mandela government to contribute to the project “Transnet”. He worked on secret missions within the framework of this project and transport infrastructure.

Wouter Basson eventually rejoined the South African army as a surgeon. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began to investigate the biological activities and chemical security units from 1996.Wouter Basson allegedly tried to leave South Africa in 1997. However, the CIA was pressuring the South African government and Basson was arrested in possession of large quantities of ecstasy and confidential documents in Pretoria by the narcotics division of the police in South Africa

Wouter Basson appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation on the 31th of July in 1998 but refused to seek amnesty. The trial of Wouter Basson began on the 4th of October in 1999 with sixty charges against him.


legal procedure

Wouter Basson appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation on the 31th of July in 1998 but refused to seek amnesty. The trial of Wouter Basson began on the 4th of October in 1999 with sixty charges against him.

He was charged for drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud, murder and conspiracy of 229 murders. The prosecution presented 153 witnesses. Basson had participated in the murder of five men who were thrown from an airplane after receiving a dose of liquid for relaxing the muscles.

On the11th of October in 1999, six charges were quashed by Judge Willie Hartzenberg, including those involving the responsibility of Basson for the death of 200 people in Namibia because the South African government had no jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed abroad and that Basson enjoyed protection under the amnesty law of Namibia after 1989. A 18-month trial, 46 charges still weighed Wouter Basson. The defense began presenting its case in July 2001 and pleaded for 40 days. The argument focused on the legality of the action of Wouter Basson and its relations with foreign services.

On the 22th of April in 2002, Wouter Basson was discharged. The South African government has appealed to the Supreme Court and the Pretoria High Court of Appeal in June 2003.Wouter Basson continues to lecture and established his medical practice in Cap.

In September 2005, at the end of a third appeal by the state of South Africa before the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court rejected the arguments of the Court of Appeal and concluded that Wouter Basson could again be tried for crimes against humanity under the international law. No legal procedure, however, has been initiated so far.


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