Videos After The Jump
The worlds of celebrity and bloody conflict collided today at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell testified in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
The court is examining whether some “dirty looking stones”
she received at a party in 1997, which she said were brought to her room in the middle of the night by two men she did not know, were in fact blood diamonds
, and if they were indeed given to her by Taylor, who had been at the party as well. The party was at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s home.
The assembled guests were involved in a charity project.
Judge Colon asked Campbell, “What did you think the stones were?”
To which Campbell replied, “They looked like dirty little pebbles. I am used to seeing diamonds shining in a box. That’s the diamonds I am used to seeing.”
Campbell said she only opened the small pouch containing the diamonds the following morning. When she showed them to Mia Farrow
and her former agent Carol White
, Campbell said that one of the two of them said that the diamonds must have come from Taylor. Campbell said as she was at a charity event, she would turn them over to Jeremy Ratcliffe
, the head of Mandela’s children’s charity. According to Campbell, Ratcliffe still has them. According to the charity, it never received them.
Blood diamonds were made famous by the Hollywood film
of the same name. They are diamonds mined in conflict zones and used to finance insurgency or warlord activity.
Charles Taylor is on trial for allegedly funding years of atrocities in Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds....that civil war was famous for its use of child soldiers, rape, mutilation and other atrocities. Part of the proceedings revolve around the Prosecution trying to prove that Taylor possessed these blood diamonds.
Campbell claims she did not want to be involved in the trial.
The Prosecution Attorney asked her, "Are you nervous?"
To which she replied,
"I didn't really want to be here. I was made to be here, so obviously I'm just hoping to get this over with and get on with my life. This is a big inconvenience for me."
Campbell also added that she, having only learned about the charges against Taylor after having been called to court to testify, said she feared for her safety and the safety of her family by being involved in a trial against him.
Meanwhile, statements from Mia Farrow and Carol White read out in the hearing today contradicted Campbell’s story to varying degrees. Farrow is testifying at the court on Monday.
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