War Crimes Trial Resumes for Former Leader of Liberia

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The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, resumed Monday as prosecutors opened their case, with testimony from an expert on “blood diamonds” and video of a miner from Sierra Leone whose hands had been hacked off.

Mr. Taylor, 59, the first former African head of state to appear before an international tribunal, has pleaded not guilty to the 11 charges against him, which include murder, rape, enslavement and conscripting child soldiers.

He is accused of terrorizing the people of neighboring Sierra Leone by orchestrating atrocities by militias known for slicing off their victims’ limbs during the country’s 10-year civil war, which ended in 2003. His purpose, prosecutors contend, was to gain possession of some of Sierra Leone’s diamonds. Diamonds traded from such areas of conflict are known as blood diamonds.

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