17 January 2013

Liberia: Lawmakers Debate Taylor's Demand for Benefits

Photo: Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera television news records the moment Charles Taylor was sentenced.

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate is expected to hold a debate today, Thursday, January 17, 2013 on a formal communication addressed to it by former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor. The plenary is the highest decision making body of the Liberian Senate. On Tuesday, 15 January 2013, the Senate, in its first session of its second sitting, placed on its agenda, the former Liberian leader's communication.

Mr. Taylor, in his communication, which was read on the floor of the Plenary of the Senate, is demanding from the current Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Legislature what he calls all benefits as 21st President of Liberia. Mr. Taylor wants the GoL to annually release unto him as a former head of state of Liberia, US$25,000, since according to him, he honorably turned over office on 11 August 2003.

The former Liberian leader, who used legal reliance as the basis of his demand, quoted in his communication, Session 1.4 of the New Executive Law, Session 2.4 of the New Legislative Law and Session 13.4 of the New Judiciary Law respectively. He instructed his wife, Mrs. Victoria Taylor to make herself available to the Liberian government relative to further discussions regarding his presidential benefits.

"As a former President of Liberia, I resigned honorably, and I must get my just benefit as a former of Liberia," Mr. Taylor among other things added in his communication, a copy of which, is in possession of this as mandated by the laws of our country. Following the reading of the communication, the plenary of the Liberian Senate voted unanimously to debate Mr. Taylor's communication today.

Meanwhile, Mr. Taylor's demand for benefits has already generated huge public debate in Monrovia and across the country with some people supporting his demand, while other are opposing. Mr. Taylor stepped down as president of Liberia in a ceremony in Monrovia on Monday 11 August 2003, stating that "God willing, I will be back."

The former Liberian leader's resignation was in response to pressure from the United States, and advancing rebels troops then targeting the ousting of the former president. He sought refuge in Nigeria, from where he was later arrested and flown to The Hague to face the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on 11-count charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On 26 April 2012, the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting In The Hague convicted the Liberian president Taylor of aiding and abetting rebels who committed war crimes during Sierra Leone's bloody civil war in the 1990s, and subsequently sentenced him for 50 years, a ruling Taylor's lawyers have since filed an appeal against.

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