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Naomi Campbell Dragged Into War Crimes Trial Over 'Blood' Gem

January 16, 2010 (2:37 am) GMT
Supermodel Naomi Campbell got tangled in war crimes trial of Liberia's former president who allegedly handed the 'blood diamond' to her.
Naomi Campbell

British supermodel has been caught up in the war crimes trial of Liberia's former president - the disgraced ex-leader has been accused of gifting the catwalk beauty with a "blood diamond". Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor is currently on trial at The Hague, in the Netherlands, over allegations he backed rebel fighters responsible for widespread atrocities during the war in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Prosecutors have also alleged Taylor took diamonds mined in the area to South Africa to "sell... or exchange for weapons". They have accused Taylor of handing one of these 'blood diamonds' - a term for jewels sold to finance conflicts - to Campbell in 1997 when she attended a dinner party in South Africa, hosted by then-president Nelson Mandela.

Prosecutor Brenda Hollis put the allegations to the court when cross-examining Taylor: "From among those diamonds that you took to South Africa, after this dinner that you attended you sent your men to Ms. Campbell's room to provide her with a large diamond. That diamond that you sent to Naomi Campbell was one of the diamonds that you had been given by the junta (board of military leaders) in Sierra Leone."

Taylor denied he had given Campbell the gem, branding the claims "nonsense". Hollywood actress , who also attended the star-studded dinner, has been listed as a witness in his ongoing trial after prosecutors alleged Campbell told her about the diamond.

A spokesperson for Naomi Campbell insists the supermodel has cooperated with the prosecution: "Naomi has been assisting the special prosecutor where possible, but beyond that has nothing to add." Taylor, 61, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the brutal 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone.

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