[JURIST] The Liberian government has submitted a draft bill to the country's legislature which, if approved, would authorize the government to seek foreign assistance in "tracking, freezing, and confiscating the funds, properties, and assets" of former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Taylor, who claims he is indigent and has been allocated a $100,000 monthly defense budget [JURIST report] by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website], is believed to control approximately $100 million in annual earnings [JURIST report] from diamond and timber resources because neither the Nigerian or Liberian government has frozen Taylor's assets pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1532 [PDF text; backgrounder].
Taylor is facing charges [indictment, PDF] for murder, rape, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone [JURIST news archive] and could be forced to repay the court for defense costs if investigators can concretely link Taylor to assets. Taylor's trial, which was expected to last 18 months and was relocated to The Hague from Sierra Leone [JURIST report] for security reasons in 2006, is presently suspended until August 2006 [JURIST report] to give Taylor's legal team more time to prepare his defense. BBC News has more.