Naomi Campbell Gives Blood Diamond Testimony In Charles Taylor War Crimes Trial
On Thursday, supermodel Naomi Campbell testified in a Hague Court in Sierra Leone that after a charity dinner at the South Africa home of former President Nelson Mandela 13 years ago, she was mysteriously given diamonds, used to fund war crimes in Sierra Leone, by two men working for former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor.
Naomi is said to have received a “blood diamond” from Taylor, who faces charges including criminal responsibility for murder, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers. Taylor was elected president of Liberia in 1997 but was forced to step down six years later and went into exile in Nigeria.
“They were very small, dirty looking stones,” Naomi, 40, told the court during Thursday’s testimony.
Campbell then gave the stones to a friend, Jeremy Ratcliffe, who at the time was the director of Mandela’s children’s charity. The volatile catwalker said that she understood the diamonds were still with Ratcliffe and added that as far as she was concerened “blood diamonds” did not exist in 1997.
“I didn’t know anything about Charles Taylor,” she said. “I had never heard of him before, never heard of Liberia before, never heard of the term ‘blood diamonds’ before, so I just assumed it was.”
Campbell’s evidence could prove crucial, because it relates to whether Taylor owned rough or uncut diamonds, which is something he has always denied.
Naomi had long refused to have anything to do with the legal proceedings against Taylor and had to be subpoenaed to testify. When asked why she did not want to appear in court, the supermodel replied: “This is someone, I read up on the internet, that has killed thousands of people, supposedly, and I don’t want my family in danger in any way.”
Prosecutor Brenda Hollis asked the model: “Isn’t it correct that your account today isn’t entirely truthful?”
Campbell replied: “No, that’s not correct.”