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GeneralLiberia news

ECOWAS Court is a toothless bulldog

-Chief Allen excepts to ruling against Taylor

By Lewis S. Teh

The chairman emeritus of the ex-ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) Chief Cyril Allen describes the Abuja-based ECOWAS Court of Justice as a toothless bulldog that has absolutely no history of implementing its so-called conventional decisions.

Late last week, the Court in Abuja, Nigeria ruled against jailed former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor. Mr. Taylor had taken the Government of Liberia before the regional court, complaining that he was being denied his benefits as a former President.

But commenting on the ruling here Tuesday, June 13, when he appeared on a local radio station, Chief Cyril Allen, Taylor’s confidant, described the ECOAWS Court of Justice as a “kangaroo court” established by puppet regimes in Africa to serve their colonial masters.

He notes that the complexity in the case is straightforward, arguing that there weren’t any legal rulings in a Liberian court that made former President Taylor dishonorably discharged.

He says the Legislature of Liberia didn’t even impeach Taylor, arguing that the former president, instead, turned power over to his successor (the late Vice President Moses Blah) and installed him in office as President, to complete his term so, he was not dishonorably discharged as claimed by the Court.

According to him, Mr. Taylor, as a former President of Liberia is entitled to his benefits like any other ex-President except somebody wants to rule differently in their thinking.

“This is the same puppet regime; the ECOWAS Court is a toothless bulldog that has no means of implementing decision”, Chief Allen reacts.

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He says the Court’s ruling is an intellectual exercise that its leadership goes through, using said process as a means of collecting money from the ECOWAS Fund to keep themselves up and pretend like they are working.

He further argues the Court has had absolutely no case that has produced results, instead, it just makes legal decisions that lack bearing and are not binding on anyone.

Chief Allen, who currently chairs the Governing Council of President George Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, terms the leadership of the ECOWAS Court as a group of puppets that have grouped themselves into international gangsters that only talks about regime change, remove presidents and destabilize countries and put people into abject poverty.

He maintains that rulings at the Court have been a routine that is carried out and nobody can say anything about it, so they are just making conventional decisions that are not implementable since it was established.

“The fact of the matter has not been addressed; we all know the fact of the matter is former President Taylor wasn’t impeached; he wasn’t dishonorably discharged from his duties as president, but instead, he resigned and turned power over to his successor and installed him as President so, there’s nowhere in a Liberian court former President Taylor was judged”, Chief Allen maintains.

Report from the ECOWAS Court of Justice says Mr. Taylor filed a suit against the Government of Liberia, asking the Court to order the Republic of Liberia to pay his pension and other benefits for 20 years after his 11th August 2003 resignation from office.

The Court details that in his 10-page application, the former Liberian president, currently serving a 50-year sentence in Britain for aiding and abetting now defunct RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, asked for a declaration that the refusal of the Respondent to pay him his pension and other retirement benefits from August 11, 2003, till date, is illegal and a violation of his human right, including the right to own property guaranteed by Article 14 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights and Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

He also reportedly asked the Court for an order mandating the Respondent, the Republic of Liberia to pay his pension and other retirement benefits from August 11, 2003, to date, plus 6% interest per month, and thereafter made the payment of his pension benefits current.

Besides,  he asked for order mandating the country to provide for staff, security and legally prescribed transportation for his wife and children, in Applicant’s presence, for the remainder of their lives as well as pay him the sum of $5,000 ( five thousand dollars) being the solicitor’s fees and other incidental costs.

But in its defence, the Republic of Liberia argued that the former President did not qualify for the entitlements provided for in the Act of 6th July 1978 cited by the Applicant as the basis for the suit as he did not retire honorably, which would mean voluntarily quitting office, having reached a certain age but was under a criminal indictment by the Special Court of Sierra Leone.

“The Act qualifies in clear and unequivocal terms the mode and manner of a President’s retirement and his status after retirement in order for him or her to benefit under the provision of the Act,” the State said in its response.

The government further contended that in view of the prevailing political and military situation in the country and in order to save his life, the former president negotiated and accepted an arrangement under which he resigned and was exiled to Nigeria where he was arrested while trying to flee and ultimately sent for trial at the Special Court of Sierra Leone that was transferred to The Hage. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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