Liberian War-Crimes Convict Taylor Wants Pension Paid

Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president convicted of war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, wants the West African nation to pay pension benefits he said he’s owed for service to the country.

According to a letter read on the floor of the Senate yesterday by the body’s secretary, Taylor requested nine years of entitlements dating from August 2003, when he left office as part of a deal to end a bloody civil war in his country. Legislators will discuss the demand next week.

“I am without notice as to why finance ministers of the republic have failed and/or refused to comply with the law of the land as regards my annuities,” Taylor wrote in the letter.

He became the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court for war crimes since the Nuremberg trials after World War II. He was charged with 11 counts, including terrorizing civilians, murder, rape and kidnapping children to use as soldiers, according to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which was set up by the West African nation and the United Nations in 2002.

In May he was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Sierra Leone’s civil war left 50,000 people dead and displaced 2 million before the government and rebels agreed to a cease-fire in 2000. The Revolutionary United Front guerrillas, backed by Taylor, gained notoriety for amputating the limbs of their victims.

In Liberia, Taylor supported rebels who led the country to a civil war that ended when he resigned and went into exile in Nigeria. Before leaving office, he signed into law the policy that gives former presidents a pension equal to half the salary of the sitting leader, as well as personal staff and facilities.

Taylor requested that his pension money be made available to his wife, Victoria, three of his daughters and other family members living in his Monrovia home.

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