Supermodel tells court she received "dirty looking stones"

08:10, August 06, 2010      

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British supermodel Naomi Campbell is seen on a screen testifying in the trial of former Liberian ruler Charles Taylor in the Hague on August, 5, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Naomi Campbell told a war crimes tribunal Thursday that she received a few "dirty-looking stones" after a 1997 dinner party with former Liberian ruler Charles Taylor but did not know where the gift came from.

The British supermodel told the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam near The Hague that she received a pouch containing the stones after a dinner party hosted by then South African President Nelson Mandela at his presidential mansion in Pretoria.

Taylor was also at the party, she said.

"When I was sleeping I had a knock at my door and I opened my door and two men were there and gave me a pouch and said ,'A gift for you,'" Campbell testified. "I saw a few stones in there. Very small, dirty-looking stones. There was no explanation, no note."

Campbell said she opened the punch the next morning and told her former agent Carole White and actress Mia Farrow about the gift at breakfast.

"One of the two said that is obviously Charles Taylor and I said, 'Yes, I guess it was,'" Campbell said.

The supermodel said she later gave the rough diamonds to the former head of the Nelson Mandela Children's fund.

Taylor, now on trial for 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, was accused of using "blood diamonds" to fund a war in Sierra Leone. Prosecutors alleged that Taylor had given Campbell a large uncut blood diamond as a gift.

Taylor allegedly backed Sierra Leonean rebels. He has pleaded not guilty and denies possessing any diamonds as a result of the war.

Blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, were often acquired from conflict zones through trade that financed wars in Africa, including in Sierra Leone.

Prosecutors summoned Campbell to testify about reports that she received diamonds from Taylor in South Africa in 1997.

Local media said Campbell's testimony would not provide anything new.

"Actually, the court has collected enough evidence," local media reported.

Source: Xinhua

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