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in absentia

(in ab-sensh-ee-ah) adj. or adv. phrase. Latin for "in absence," or more fully, in one's absence. Occasionally a criminal trial is conducted without the defendant being present when he/she walks out or escapes after the trial has begun, since the accused has thus waived the constitutional right to face one's accusers. During the war crimes trials following World War II, it was employed against Nazis who had committed atrocities and then disappeared, the most famous being Martin Bormann, Hitler's closest aide.


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