NY Times article on Liberia

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definitions & notes only words
  1. war crime
    a crime committed in wartime; violation of rules of war
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  2. embezzle
    appropriate fraudulently to one's own use
    While he was in a Massachusetts jail awaiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 of Liberian government funds, he said, he was let out with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  3. head of state
    the chief public representative of a country who may also be the head of government
    He is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
  4. defense lawyer
    the lawyer representing the defendant
    Mustapha Mansary, a villager, was twice asked by the defense lawyer if he could read and write English, until he held up his two bandaged stumps.
  5. warlord
    supreme military leader exercising civil power in a region especially one accountable to nobody when the central government is weak
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  6. life sentence
    a prison term lasting as long as the prisoner lives
    Jean Kambanda, the first person sentenced for the crime of genocide, received a life sentence for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but he was a former prime minister, not the head of state.
  7. Central Intelligence Agency
    an independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest; headed by the Director of Central Intelligence under the supervision of the President and National Security Council
    While he was in a Massachusetts jail awaiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 of Liberian government funds, he said, he was let out with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  8. indict
    accuse formally of a crime
    Prosecutors said Mr. Taylor’s part in the devastation was motivated not by ideology, but by a quest for power and money — “pure avarice,” in the words of David M. Crane, the American prosecutor who indicted him in 2003.
  9. prosecutor
    an official conducting criminal cases on behalf of the state
    Prosecutors said Mr. Taylor’s part in the devastation was motivated not by ideology, but by a quest for power and money — “pure avarice,” in the words of David M. Crane, the American prosecutor who indicted him in 2003.
  10. Nelson Mandela
    South African statesman who was released from prison to become the nation's first democratically elected president in 1994 (born in 1918)
    In 2010, the focus turned briefly to the question of whether Mr. Taylor — who has denied ever carrying or trading diamonds — gave some gems to the supermodel Naomi Campbell 13 years earlier in South Africa after a dinner with Mr. Taylor, Nelson Mandela and others on the eve of a celebrity charity event.
  11. intelligence agency
    a unit responsible for gathering and interpreting information about an enemy
    While he was in a Massachusetts jail awaiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 of Liberian government funds, he said, he was let out with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  12. criminal court
    a court having jurisdiction over criminal cases
    The former president of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, has been charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, but his trial has not yet begun.
  13. rule of law
    a state of order in which events conform to the law
    Still, the trial has brought “a sense of relief,” said Ibrahim Tommy, who leads the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law, a rights group in Freetown.
  14. criminal law
    the body of law dealing with crimes and their punishment
    There is no death penalty in international criminal law and any jail term would be served in a British prison.
  15. extradition
    surrender of an accused by one state or country to another
    While he was in a Massachusetts jail awaiting extradition on charges of embezzling $900,000 of Liberian government funds, he said, he was let out with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  16. hearsay
    gossip passed around by word of mouth
    Defense lawyers dismissed much of the evidence as hearsay.
  17. Mandela
    South African statesman who was released from prison to become the nation's first democratically elected president in 1994 (born in 1918)
    In 2010, the focus turned briefly to the question of whether Mr. Taylor — who has denied ever carrying or trading diamonds — gave some gems to the supermodel Naomi Campbell 13 years earlier in South Africa after a dinner with Mr. Taylor, Nelson Mandela and others on the eve of a celebrity charity event.
  18. tribunal
    an assembly to conduct judicial business
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  19. crime
    an act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  20. death penalty
    putting a condemned person to death
    There is no death penalty in international criminal law and any jail term would be served in a British prison.
  21. trial
    the act of testing something
    He is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
  22. Nuremberg
    a city in southeastern Germany
    He is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
  23. ammunition
    projectiles to be fired from a gun
    The conflict in Sierra Leone became notorious for its gruesome tactics, including the calculated mutilation of thousands of civilians, the widespread use of drugged child soldiers and the mining of diamonds to pay for guns and ammunition.
  24. Samoa
    a constitutional monarchy on the western part of the islands of Samoa in the South Pacific
    After 13 months of deliberation, a panel of three judges from Ireland, Samoa and Uganda found Mr. Taylor guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, slavery and the use of child soldiers.
  25. literacy
    the ability to read and write
    The country has returned to democracy, but many educated Sierra Leoneans remain abroad, literacy is low and some industries, like mining iron ore, are just starting to return.
  26. mandate
    a document giving an official instruction or command
    But only crimes in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002 are within the court’s mandate, and Mr. Taylor is the special court’s last defendant.
  27. lawyer
    a professional person authorized for legal practice
    Yet investigators never unraveled the web hiding this presumed fortune and Mr. Taylor pleaded penury, leaving the court to foot the bill for a defense that cost $100,000 per month in lawyers, staff and rent.
  28. defendant
    someone against whom an action is brought in a court of law
    But only crimes in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002 are within the court’s mandate, and Mr. Taylor is the special court’s last defendant.
  29. jail
    a correctional institution used to detain persons who are in the lawful custody of the government (either accused persons awaiting trial or convicted persons serving a sentence)
    There is no death penalty in international criminal law and any jail term would be served in a British prison.
  30. Hitler
    German Nazi dictator during World War II (1889-1945)
    Not since Karl Doenitz, the German admiral who briefly succeeded Hitler upon his death, was tried and sentenced by the International Military Tribunal has a head of state been convicted by an international court.
  31. International
    any of several international socialist organizations
    Not since Karl Doenitz, the German admiral who briefly succeeded Hitler upon his death, was tried and sentenced by the International Military Tribunal has a head of state been convicted by an international court.
  32. president
    the chief executive of a republic
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  33. prosecution
    legal proceedings against a defendant for criminal behavior
    But the judges said the prosecution failed to prove that Mr. Taylor directly commanded the rebels responsible for the atrocities.
  34. World War II
    a war between the Allies and the Axis from 1939 to 1945
    He is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
  35. criminal
    someone who has committed a punishable act
    There is no death penalty in international criminal law and any jail term would be served in a British prison.
  36. unemployment
    the state of not having a job
    Unemployment, particularly among the young men who emerged from the war with few skills, is crushing.
  37. civil war
    a war between factions in the same country
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  38. world war
    a war in which the major nations of the world are involved
    He is the first head of state to be convicted by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
  39. Court
    Australian woman tennis player who won many major championships (born in 1947)
    The tribunal, called the Special Court for Sierra Leone, has already sentenced eight other leading members from different forces and rebel groups.
  40. capital
    a large alphabetic character used in writing or printing
    Electricity is scant, even in the capital.
  41. democracy
    the orientation of those who favor government by the people
    The country has returned to democracy, but many educated Sierra Leoneans remain abroad, literacy is low and some industries, like mining iron ore, are just starting to return.
  42. weapon
    any instrument used in fighting or hunting
    His lawyer raised all the subjects that had made him and his associates notorious: trading diamonds for weapons, widespread rape, cutting off the hands and feet of villagers.
  43. prime minister
    the person who is head of state (in several countries)
    Jean Kambanda, the first person sentenced for the crime of genocide, received a life sentence for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but he was a former prime minister, not the head of state.
  44. ambassador
    a diplomat of the highest rank
    One, dated March 2009, quoted the American ambassador to Liberia as saying that “the best we can do for Liberia is to see that Charles Taylor is put away for a long time.”
  45. conflict
    an open clash between two opposing groups
    The conflict in Sierra Leone became notorious for its gruesome tactics, including the calculated mutilation of thousands of civilians, the widespread use of drugged child soldiers and the mining of diamonds to pay for guns and ammunition.
  46. admiral
    the supreme commander of a fleet
    Not since Karl Doenitz, the German admiral who briefly succeeded Hitler upon his death, was tried and sentenced by the International Military Tribunal has a head of state been convicted by an international court.
  47. education
    activities that impart knowledge or skill
    A broad swath of the nation’s young missed their educations.
  48. murder
    unlawful premeditated killing of a human being
    After 13 months of deliberation, a panel of three judges from Ireland, Samoa and Uganda found Mr. Taylor guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, slavery and the use of child soldiers.
  49. legal
    established by or founded upon law or official rules
    But prosecutors struggled with a legal puzzle of how to link such atrocities to Mr. Taylor.
  50. prison
    a correctional institution where persons are confined while on trial or for punishment
    There is no death penalty in international criminal law and any jail term would be served in a British prison.
  51. nation
    a politically organized body of people under a government
    A broad swath of the nation’s young missed their educations.
  52. security
    the state of being free from danger or injury
    People close to Mr. Taylor, his head of security, bodyguards and other associates, some of whom were relocated abroad as protected witnesses, testified about arms and ammunition shipments for the rebels and to seeing raw diamonds arriving as payment.
  53. civil
    of or occurring between or among citizens of the state
    Former Liberian President Convicted of War Crimes
    By MARLISE SIMONS

    THE HAGUE — Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia and once a powerful warlord, was convicted by an international tribunal on Thursday of arming, supporting and guiding a brutal rebel movement that committed mass atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.
  54. industry
    the action of making of goods and services for sale
    The country has returned to democracy, but many educated Sierra Leoneans remain abroad, literacy is low and some industries, like mining iron ore, are just starting to return.
  55. minister
    a person authorized to conduct religious worship
    Jean Kambanda, the first person sentenced for the crime of genocide, received a life sentence for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but he was a former prime minister, not the head of state.
  56. government
    the system or form by which a community is ruled
    Bank records were displayed in court, showing how tax payments and other government income moved into Mr. Taylor’s accounts, ostensibly to pay for the war effort, or for himself.
  57. military
    the armed forces of a nation
    Not since Karl Doenitz, the German admiral who briefly succeeded Hitler upon his death, was tried and sentenced by the International Military Tribunal has a head of state been convicted by an international court.

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