Naomi Campbell at War Crimes Trial: I Was Unaware Who Blood Diamonds Were From
Supermodel Naomi Campbell has told Charles Taylor's war crimes trial she accepted a bag of "dirty-looking stones" after attending a dinner party with the former Liberian President. The British beauty took the witness box at The Hague in the Netherlands on Thursday, August 5 to face claims she accepted blood diamonds, a term for jewels sold to finance conflicts, as a gift from Taylor after a dinner party in South Africa hosted by Nelson Mandela in 1997.
Campbell, who arrived late for the hearing, recalled how she was given the stones in the middle of the night by two unidentified men. She insists she was unaware who the gifts were from and claims she had no idea they were diamonds because they looked "very small" and "dirty".
She told the court, "When I was sleeping, I had a knock at my door and I opened my door and two men were there who gave me a pouch and said, 'A gift for you.' They did not (introduce themselves). The next morning at breakfast I told Ms (Mia) Farrow and Ms (Carole) White (Campbell's former agent) what had happened and one of the two said, 'Well, that's obviously (from) Charles Taylor'."
"I said, 'Yeah I guess it was.' I was extremely tired and I wasn't sure if they were from the staff of the house. When they gave me the pouch, I just put it next to my bed. I opened the pouch the next morning when I woke up. (When I received it) I took it and I just said thank you and shut my door."
"There was no explanation, no note. I saw a few stones in there. They were very small, dirty looking stones. When I talked to Ms White and Ms Farrow, one of them said they're obviously diamonds. (They were) dirty looking pebbles. I'm used to seeing diamonds shiny and in a box. That's the kind of diamonds I'm used to seeing."
Prosecutors have accused Taylor of using blood diamonds to fund Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. He has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery and the use of child soldiers and terrorism during the conflict.
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