A former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor has filed a suit before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice alleging the violation of his right to property by the ‘refusal’ of the Liberian government to pay his pension and retirement benefits since his ‘resignation’ on 11th August 2003.In the suit, 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 as guaranteed under Article 2,3, 4, 7 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
The applicant contended as the 22nd president of Liberia, he is entitled to pension and other benefits as specified in the country’s Act to amend an Act providing for the retirement pension of the President and Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, which was promulgated by the country’s Parliament in 2003.
The Act, according to the suit, relates to the retirement pension of the President and Vice President of Liberia, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberia Senate and members of the Liberian Legislature, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
According to him, Sections 1 and 2 of the Act which was published on 26th November 2003, a ‘former President who honorably retired to private life and who is not in any way gainfully employed by government shall receive from Government a pension equal to fifty percent of the salary of the incumbent President.”
A statement by the ECOWAS Court in Abuja stated that in the initiating application, the former president is also expected to be provided with a personal staff and facilities for the remainder of his/her life in an amount that shall not be less than $25, 000 per annum.
The Act also provides that the surviving spouse of a former president shall be entitled to receive annuity equal to fifty percent of the pension received by the former president.
In addition, the surviving spouse of the former president shall be entitled to a personal staff and facilities for the remainder of her life.
The amount allowed for this shall not be less than $12,500.
This allowance shall commence as of the date of the death of the former president.
On the death of the surviving spouse or if there is no surviving spouse, the pension provided for a surviving spouse shall be paid in equal portions to each of his/her minor children of the deceased president.
The applicant, who served as president between 7th August 1997 and 11th August 2003, relied in the suit on the provisions of Articles 14, 2, 3, 7 and 19 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, and Articles 17, 2, 8, 23 and 10 of the Universal Declaration on Human and Peoples Rights, Articles 2, 7 of the International Covenant on Economic and Social Cultural Rights, Chapter 3 Articles 11, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26 of the Liberian Constitution of 1986.
According to the statement, Liberia has been served the process and no date has been fixed for the hearing.