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article imageNaomi Campbell testifies in 'blood diamonds' war crimes trial

By Christopher Szabo     Aug 5, 2010 in Crime
Den Haag - British supermodel Naomi Campbell has testified in the trial of former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, who is on trial in The Hague on 11 charges of war crimes, including the use of child soldiers and sexual assault as a form of attack.
The 62-year-old Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors say Taylor gave Campbell so-called “blood diamonds” after a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela, during a visit to South Africa in 1997. Taylor was also present at the dinner, Defenceweb reports.
“Blood diamonds,” also called “conflict diamonds,” refer to diamonds mined in conflict zones and used to fund wars.
The Star added Campbell was reluctant to testify and had tried to avoid doing so earlier. She said two men had given her a pouch on the evening of the dinner, but she had not looked inside the pouch. The next morning, she took a look and saw what she described as, "dirty-looking stones," possibly a reference to uncut diamonds.
The report stressed she did not say they were diamonds or that she was given them by Taylor himself.
Campbell was asked to testify following claims by Hollywood actress Mia Farrow that Taylor had given her a “blood diamond” after the dinner.
It appears Campbell is unhappy about testifying out of fear for her family. The BBC quoted some of her testimony in a report:
"This is a big inconvenience for me. I really don't want anything to do with this, and I care about the protection of my family.
"This is someone [Charles Taylor] that I read on the internet has killed thousands of people, supposedly, and I don't want my family in any danger in any way."
Prosecutors claim Taylor helped plunge Sierra Leone into civil war from 1992-2002 using the “blood diamonds” to finance armies of drugged child soldiers from his neighbouring country of Liberia.
The conflict inspired the Hollywood movie Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou.
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