Efforts to stamp out the trade in illegal arms in the Netherlands seem to be ineffective, according to a National Threat Report the police did for the College of Attorneys General. Large numbers of heavy firearms remain in circulation and are increasingly used by criminals, the report states, according to nOS.
The Dutch police arrested 60 people last week in a national action against roaming criminal gangs. Detainees include suspected shoplifters, drug traffickers and dealers, burglars and identity thieves, the police announced in a statement.
Dutch arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven was sentenced to 19 years in prison by the court in Den Bosch on Friday. He was found guilty of complicity in war crimes in Liberia and of illegal arms trafficking. The Public Prosecutor demanded 20 years, AD reports.
The court considered it proven that Kouwenhoven supported the regime of former Liberian President Charles Taylor by illegally delivering weapons to it in a civil war between 2001 and 2003. There was an arms embargo in place for Liberia at the time.
Departing Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders called on the European Union to pay better attention to which arms supplies they support. According to him, plenty of money is raised to combat famine in Yemen, but Britain and France for example still provide weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is playing an important role in the civil war raging in Yemen, he said to BNR.
"I think that is a very bad thing", Koenders said to BNR. "We have a European arms export policy. Then you should also look at human rights issues and international humanitarian law, at the stability in a region."
Six of the ten large Dutch insurers still invest in companies that supply arms and weapons systems to Saudi Arabia, according to peace organization Pax in its Fair Insurance Guide. According to the organization, by investing in these companies, the Dutch insurers are violating human rights in Yemen, NOS reports.
The Public Prosecutor demanded prison sentences of up to 9 years against five men suspected in large-scale arms trafficking. According to the Prosecutor, the five men supplied heavy weapons to criminals in recent years, some of which were used in assassinations committed in Amsterdam. They are also suspected of participation in a criminal organization, AT5 reports.
The Amsterdam confiscated 396 firearms in 2015, 82 more than in 2014 and 86 more than in 2013. The police also closed down 29 "key locations", where gangs and criminals met. The number of robberies increased with 6 percent, according to the city's annual crime figures which Mayor Eberhard van der Laan announced in a letter to the city council and at a press conference on Friday.
In 2015 West-Brabant became the new murder capital of the Netherlands. With 17 cases of murder and manslaughter over the year, the region took the crown from Amsterdam where only 15 murders were committed, despite the ongoing gang-related assassinations
The National Platform Firearms (LPV), a collaboration to combat the illegal firearms trade, was quietly disbanded at the end of January. This is according to an investigation done by television program Brandpunt Reporter, which was broadcast last night.
Brabant-oost police prevented a large batch of heavy weaponry from entering the Netherlands in a joint operation with Croatian police. Three were arrested including a 64-year-old Dutchman with six rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, handguns, grenades and ammunition in his van.