Kouwenhoven provisionally released 19 Mar 2007
On 19 March, the Court of Appeal in The Hague decided to provisionally release Guus Kouwenhoven. The Court also requested that the examining magistrate investigate whether Charles Taylor would be available as a witness.

On 19 March 2007, the Court of Appeal in The Hague issued an interim judgement in which it decided to suspend Kouwenhoven's custody on remand and provisionally grant him release. His release would be effective immediately.

The examining magistrate in the case was also requested to investigate whether in the near future, it would be possible to hear Charles Taylor as a witness in the Kouwenhoven case. In view of the fact that Charles Taylor is a defendant at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), a case that takes place in The Hague, the Court of Appeals expresses its doubts on whether Taylor would be prepared and/or allowed to provide evidence to the examining magistrate. The Chief Prosecutor of the SCSL had earlier turned down a request of the Court of Appeals for certain transcripts of testimonies of witnesses before the SCSL. Consequently, in its decision, the Court of Appeals denies a request of the Defence to add these transcripts to the case file.

On 7 June 2006, the District Court of The Hague sentenced Guus Kouwenhoven, a Dutch businessman, to eight years' imprisonment for violating a Dutch weapons embargo prohibiting arms trade with Liberia. He was acquitted of committing violations of the laws and customs of war in Liberia and Guinea, or of being complicit to committing such violations. The Court also found that he was not responsible for violations of the laws and customs of war committed by his subordinates in Liberia. Both the Prosecution and the Defence have appealed the judgement.

As the most important ground for allowing Kouwenhoven's suspension of custody, the Court of Appeals refers to the expected (considerable) delays of the case. Delays are expected as a result of the further search by the Dutch police for possible witnesses (in Liberia), as announced by the Public Prosecutor. The Court has subjected the release to general and specific conditions to be accepted by Kouwenhoven.

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Court documents

Interim Judgement (Dutch)
Trial Judgement