Naomi Campbell Testifies in Bloody Diamond Exchange
Diamonds are truly not a girl’s best friend, as supermodel Naomi Campbell testified in the war crimes case of former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor at The Hague on Thursday.
The model appeared in court as a witness to disclose a trade agreement where Taylor was responsible for bloody rampages in Sierra Leone. Prosecutors are hoping to build a case against the former president to convict him of using diamonds to cause a bloody excursion by rebels during the country’s civil war and igniting a series of wars in Angola and Liberia.
Campbell mentioned that at a charity dinner with Nelson Mandela in 1997 in South Africa, she was given a pouch containing rough diamonds and described it as “very small, dirty-looking stones” after she met Taylor and others guests.
She later went to her room at the presidential guest house where two men presented her with a pouch. One of them said, “a gift for you,” Campbell said. “The men did not introduce themselves or say who the gift was from,” she said. She later described that after she opened the pouch, they looked like “pebbles,” and associated the word diamonds with glittering gemstones.
She did not keep the stones but handed them to a friend who worked for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. The whereabouts of the stones are unclear.
Ms. Campbell said on Thursday that blood diamonds were never discussed at the dinner in 1997. Taylor had denied his involvement in the diamond transaction.