Naomi Campbell to be at "blood diamond" trial

Fri Jul 9, 2010 4:40pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - British supermodel Naomi Campbell agreed on Friday to give evidence at a trial in The Hague over a "blood diamond" which prosecutors say former Liberian president Charles Taylor gave her.

Prosecutors at the Special Court for Sierra Leone have said that Campbell could provide material evidence to rebut Taylor's claims that he never possessed rough diamonds. She has been ordered to appear in court on the morning of July 29. They accuse Taylor of taking diamonds to South Africa to buy weapons, which he denies. In January, they said that during a visit to South Africa in 1997 Taylor gave Campbell a large rough cut diamond after a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela. "Naomi Campbell has confirmed she will attend the Charles Taylor trial at The Hague as per the court's request," her spokeswoman said.

"She is a witness who has been asked to help clarify events in 1997. Miss Campbell has made it clear that she is willing to help the due process of law.

"For avoidance of doubt she is not being accused of any wrong doing and is not on trial."

On trial in The Hague, Taylor denies all 11 charges of instigating murder, rape, mutilation, sexual slavery and conscription of child soldiers during wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in which more than 250,000 people were killed.

Besides Campbell, prosecutors have also been granted the right to call testimony from modeling agent Carole White and U.S. actress Mia Farrow. Both women are prepared to give testimony voluntarily, prosecutors have said.

They say White heard Taylor say he was going to give Campbell some diamonds and was there when Campbell received them, while Farrow attended the reception where Campbell met Taylor and was told by Campbell about the gift the next morning.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

 
<p>Model Naomi Campbell attends the presentation of the Louis Vuitton luxury travelling case for the World Cup trophy in Paris June 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen</p>