Special Awards In Pictures

-Taylor’s Gunrunner Guus Arrested In S/Africa For Liberian War Crimes
It seems there is no escape for detained former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s notorious gunrunner and war criminal who has been arrested in South Africa after being tracked down to his Cape Town mansion.

According to international newswires, the “blood timber” trader, Guus Kouwenhoven, 75, fled justice in the Netherlands and arrived in Cape Town last December, ostensibly for medical treatment.
This was during a lengthy appeals process in the Dutch courts which finally came to a head in April this year when Kouwenhoven was sentenced in absentia to 19 years in jail for selling weapons to ex-Liberian president and warlord Taylor.
Kouwenhoven refused to return to the Netherlands to serve his sentence, citing medical reasons, and an Interpol red notice was issued. Since December he has lived in Camps Bay but was arrested yesterday at his new home in Fresnaye.
Kouwenhoven appeared briefly in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court last Friday, where the State opposed bail. The magistrate ordered that he be held in the Sea Point Police cells until Tuesday - when a bail application could be heard.
Kouwenhoven’s lawyers have indicated that in the interim they would approach the High Court for an urgent review of the decision in order to secure his release today.
Following Kouwenhoven’s provisional arrest, the Dutch authorities have 30 days to issue an extradition request which the State expects to be vigorously opposed.
Kouwenhoven’s legal team includes Anton Katz SC - who was one of the advocates who successfully defeated Equatorial Guinea’s request to extradite Sir Mark Thatcher to face charges relating to a botched coup.
Kouwenhoven was known in Liberia as “Mister Gus”. He ran two timber companies in the early 2000s and used them as a cover to smuggle arms, according to the Dutch court. At the time, Liberia was in the grip of a civil war between then-president Taylor’s government and several rebel factions. The country’s string of conflicts since the 1990s left an estimated 250 000 people dead. Thousands more were mutilated and raped and all sides in the conflict used child soldiers.
Taylor stepped down in 2003. He was arrested in 2006 and in 2012 sentenced to 50 years in prison for aiding and abetting war crimes in neighbouring Sierra Leone by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Kouwenhoven’s arrest was hailed yesterday by International NGO Global Witness which first documented his involvement in illegal logging and arms trafficking in its 2001 report “Taylor Made”.
The NGO works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption.
Citing the detention after months of surveillance as “a hugely significant step” Global Witness director Patrick Alley said: “The arrest of Guus Kouwenhoven marks a banner day for the people of Liberia and those around the world who suffer at the hands of companies that trade in conflict timber and minerals.
“The message to those that trade guns for resources and profit from international crimes is that the rules of the game are changing. You will be found and you will go to jail.”
According to details supplied by Global Witness, Kouwenhoven was head of the Oriental Timber Corporation (OTC) during Liberia’s bloody civil war, which lasted from 1989 to 2003.
The war was funded largely through the sale of diamonds and timber plundered from Liberia’s rainforests. OTC was the dominant logging company in Liberia during this time.
The Dutch courts found Kouwenhoven guilty of delivering weapons to Taylor’s regime in return for special treatment for his timber company.

Who we are

We dedicate time, energy, resources in the people who go out for the news.  We invest  in the  talents  and potentials of  the   professionals.  Basically, we focus on   capacity  building of our  people so that they can be prepared for the challenges ahead. We are the light for all. We  focus on the needs of our readers and bring to them new  level of  innovation that inspires them.

What we do

New Republic  tells the accurate stories as they come.  Investigate, capture moments and tell it as it comes. We bring to readers what  is news, what is informative and what is touching to add value to their business and  time. Importantly,  we do the job as our clients and readers would like to see. Moreover,  value  is added to whatever that we do to enhance productivity and longevity.

How we do it

We dedicate time, energy, resources in the people who go out for the news.  We invest  in the  talents  and potentials of  the   professionals. We look at the issues that make the news and bring  it to  our readers. The way of working is very unique and professional. Looking beyond the news is always our aim. Knowing what is behind the news is  crucial in all that we do.

When we do it

We do it just it  as it comes.  We get it out in a more  balanced and professional way as expected by the professionals  straight to  our readers. We do it at a time when  others do   not have it in mind. While others are searching, thinking, that is the time we release it to  our  readers. So, it comes at a privileged time where they will make  an  opinion on relevant issues.