Liberia ex-warlord Taylor sues for pensions, benefits

Liberia War criminal: Taylor, left, at the outcome of his appeal in 2013.  By Koen van Weel (POOL/AFP)
OCT 26, 2021 LISTEN
War criminal: Taylor, left, at the outcome of his appeal in 2013. By Koen van Weel (POOL/AFP)

Former Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, jailed for five decades for war crimes, has filed a lawsuit against his country's government over its "refusal" to pay his pension and retirement benefits, according to a court statement.

Taylor sparked a 13-year civil war in Liberia when he led a rebellion in 1989 to oust President Samuel Doe, which spiralled into one of Africa's bloodiest conflicts.

He is currently serving a 50-year sentence in a British prison after being convicted in 2012 by a special court in The Hague of fuelling civil conflict in Sierra Leone.

The court of the West Africa bloc ECOWAS said Taylor had filed a lawsuit alleging his right to property had been violated by Liberia's refusal to pay his pension and retirement benefits since 2003.

"The former President said the action of the government constitutes a violation of his human rights, particularly the right to freedom from discrimination, equal protection of the law, right to dignity, fair hearing and property," it said.

The court said no date has been fixed for the hearing for Taylor, who was Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003.

"He wasn't convicted for crimes committed in Liberia so that doesn't affect his rights here," said Adama Dempster, the secretary general of the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia.

"I think he should be given what the law says he should have," he told AFP.

Taylor was the first ex-head of state to be jailed by an international court since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in Germany after World War II.

He was convicted on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity over acts committed by Sierra Leone rebels he aided during the war.

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