Naomi Campbell testifies against former Liberian president

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Campbell claims being in court was "a big inconvenience."
Image: Jesse Gross.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified for prosecutors on Thursday in a war crimes case against former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Taylor allegedly gave an uncut blood diamond to Campbell in 1997 when they met for dinner in South Africa, according to Professor David Crane of Syracuse University.

Crane told Voice of America, "The testimony itself is important because the prosecution wants to show that Charles Taylor has the mindset or what we call the mens rea to use the blood diamonds that were mined by Sierra Leoneans chained to pits in the Kailahun and Kenema area. And, he was using them for various reasons: to buy guns, to use cash to deposit, and also to buy influence."

Taylor denies he possessed any uncut diamonds.

Campbell said in her testimony, "When I was sleeping I had a knock on my door. I opened my door and two men were there and gave me a pouch and said, 'A gift for you.'" She said the men gave her "very small, dirty looking stones."

She continued, "At breakfast I told Miss [Mia] Farrow and Miss [Carole] White what had happened and one of the two said, well that's obviously Charles Taylor, and I said, yes I guess it was."

Campbell was not sure Taylor sent her the blood diamonds and she claimed she assumed it was the accused and continued stating it was unlikely anyone else gave her the gift.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, The Netherlands ruled that no one may sketch, take photographs, or make videos of Campbell, due to her high profile. Photographers were barred from taking photos of Campbell entering or leaving the courthouse, but her testimony was recorded as usual.