Thursday, August 5, 2010

Naomi Campbell and Charles Taylor

British supermodel Naomi Campbell, testifying at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, said on Thursday she had been given a pouch containing small, rough diamonds while in South Africa but did not know who they were from. Complaining that having to appear in court was a "terrible inconvenience," Campbell said two unidentified men came to her bedroom after she attended a charity dinner with Taylor and then South African President Nelson Mandela in 1997. "I was sleeping and had a knock at the door that woke me up. Two men were there and they gave me a pouch and said: 'A gift for you'," she told the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. "I went back to bed. I looked into the pouch the next morning," the model said. "I saw a few stones, they were very small, dirty looking stones." "I'm used to seeing diamonds in a box ... If someone had not said they were diamonds, I would not have known they were diamonds," she said. Prosecutors summoned Campbell to support their allegations that Taylor received so-called "blood diamonds" from rebels in Sierra Leone and used them to buy weapons during his 1997 trip to South Africa. Taylor has denied the allegations as "nonsense." He is charged with 11 counts 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. He denies all the charges. - Reuters