Naomi Campbell testifies in war crimes tribunal

Thursday August 5, 2010

British supermodel Naomi Campbell has testified at the war crimes trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, telling the tribunal that she was given a few "dirty-looking" stones.

The 40-year-old is being asked about allegations that Mr Taylor gave her blood diamonds after a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997.

Prosecutors at the Hague are accusing the 62-year-old former president of receiving diamonds from Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for weapons during that country's decade-long civil war.

After swearing on the bible, Naomi said she was given the stones after the celebrity meal with Mr Mandela, which was also attended by actress Mia Farrow.

She said she was sleeping when there was a knock on her door. "Two men were there and gave me a pouch and said 'A gift for you'," she recalled.

Naomi said she then went back to sleep and did not look in the pouch until the next morning. "I saw a few stones in there, they were very small dirty-looking stones," she told the court.

She then recalled going down to breakfast and recounting the story to her former agent Carol White and to Mia, both of whom will testify next week. "One of the two said 'That's obviously Charles Taylor', and I said 'I guess that was'."

Long before the trial, Naomi told Oprah Winfey that she did not want to be involved because it could put her family at risk.

Photo: PA

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