*Lawyers for former Liberian President Charles Taylor are seeking to postpone testimony this week by supermodel Naomi Campbell in his war crimes trial, according to a motion released Monday.
Campbell has been subpoenaed to appear in court Thursday after months of dodging prosecution attempts to interview her about whether she received a rough diamond from Taylor in 1997 following a dinner party in South Africa. Prosecutors say her testimony will support their contention that Taylor lied when he testified that he never possessed so-called blood diamonds, those mined in a war zone where the proceeds finance an insurgency.
But, in his motion dated July 30 to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, defense attorney Courtenay Griffiths said the prosecution has disclosed too little information for him to prepare his cross examination, violating Taylor’s right to a free trial.
Griffiths claimed the prosecution was either withholding information it is obliged to disclose in advance, or that it is calling Campbell to testify “entirely based on conjecture.”
Campbell has publicly denied the story, However, prosecutors say the information came from actress Mia Farrow and Campbell’s former agent Carole White, who also are due to appear on the witness stand. According to prosecutors, they say Taylor’s men came to Campbell’s room after a party hosted by then-President Nelson Mandela “with a gift of a rough diamond or diamonds.”
Taylor is accused of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone’s 1991-2002 civil war, which claimed an estimated 500,000 victims of killings, systematic mutilation or other atrocities, with some of the worst crimes committed by child soldiers who were drugged to desensitize them. Taylor’s trial in The Hague began in January 2008.