Guus Kouwenhoven

‘Dutch fugitive’ Guus Kouwenhoven 
Found guilty by Dutch Supreme Court and sentenced (2017); fled to South Africa; the Dutch requested his extradition; South African decison multiple times postponed; extradition request definitely denied (Febr 2020); visitor’s visa cancelled, declared an ‘undesirable person’ (Nov 2020); denial of extradition request overruled (Dec 2020). On September 22, 2021 the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa dismissed Kouwenhoven’s appeal. As one newspaper reported: ‘The South African Government is now free to extradite Mr. Kouwenhoven to the Netherlands.’ (African Star, September 22, 2021, see below).

Hence, the question emerges: Will South African autorities finally put Kouwenhoven on a plane to Amsterdam, will the convicted war criminal flee from justice or will Kouwenhoven’s expensive lawyers be once more successfull in delaying justice? The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa notes in its Judgement (page 3, note 2): ‘He (Kouwenhoven – note of the webmaster FVDK) has lodged an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which it appears is still pending.’

It’s odd that a man who has been found guilty of the illegal importation of arms which were used to kill innocent civilians in Africa, tries to save his skin with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights! 

The extradition saga
At the end of 2019, hope re-emerged that Kouwenhoven would soon be extradited, after an address by senior prosecutor Christopher Burke (South Africa) before the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

However, to the disappointment of many, on February 21, 2020 Cape Town Magistrate Ingrid Arntsen ruled in favour of Guus Kouwenhoven.She said it was with “great regret” she had decided that Dutch arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven could not be extradited to the Netherlands because ‘the Extradition Act made it clear that people could be extradited only in relation to offences alleged to have been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the state requesting extradition.’ 

On March 16, 2020 the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) was seeking an order to set aside a visa granted to the convicted Dutch war criminal. The rights group will argue that Kouwenhoven did not disclose his conviction for war crimes when applying for a visa.

Update as of December 30, 2020 
In an unexpected development South Africa cancelled the visitor’s visa of Guus Kouwenhoven and declared him an “undesirable person” whereas the State successfully appealed the denial of the extradition request by the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court. 

Following a hearing of the case on 27 October 2020, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA, South Africa) on 5 November 2020 declared Kouwenhoven undesirable in terms of sections 30(1)(f) and (g) of the Immigration Act, and notified him of the decision to cancel his visitor’s visa. Kouwenhoven can now appeal the decision by the DHA. If he fails to make representations, within ten days, the cancellation of his visa will become effective. 

The South African State – in the person of the Western Cape’s Director of Public Prosecutions, via Advocate Christopher Burke – successfully appealed the February 2020 Cape Town Magistrates’ Court ruling (denying the extradition request). On December 23, 2020 the Western Cape High Court ruled in favor of the State appeal. This means that Kouwenhoven may still face extradition. 

For more details and the full background of the Kouwenhoven saga visit the link ‘Dutch fugitive’ Guus Kouwenhoven