*Supermodel Naomi Campbell says she stands by her testimony at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, even though it’s been directly contradicted by two different witnesses.
Campbell testified last week at the Special Court for Sierra Leone at The Hague, Netherlands, regarding a pouch of diamonds she received in 1997. Prosecutors, who are trying to prove that Taylor used “blood diamonds” to fund a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, allege the diamonds came from Taylor.
“I’ve no motive here. Nothing to gain,” Campbell said in a statement Wednesday. “I am a black woman who has and will always support good causes, especially relating to Africa.”
“These events took place 13 years ago, many years before Taylor’s alleged wrongdoings were known,” she added.
Campbell said she didn’t really know who Taylor was at the time she received the diamonds, since he had been elected shortly before. But on the witness stand, Campbell’s former manager Carole White and actress Mia Farrow both disputed her account.
White told the court that when Campbell met with Jeremy Ratcliffe, a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, to hand over the diamonds, she told him she had received them from Taylor.
Farrow also testified that Campbell was aware of their source. She testified Monday that Campbell told the story at breakfast the next morning.
“She said that in the night she had been awakened,” Farrow testified. “Some men were knocking at the door and they had been sent by Charles Taylor and they were giving her — they had given her a huge diamond. And she said that she intended to give the diamond to Nelson Mandela’s children’s charities.”
Taylor, 62, was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. The war crimes charges against him stem from the widespread murder, rape and mutilation that occurred during the civil war in Sierra Leone, fought largely by teenagers who were forced to kill, given addictive drugs to provoke violent behavior and were often instructed to rape and plunder.
Taylor is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement and sexual slavery and violence. He also faces five counts of war crimes, including acts of terrorism and torture, and one count of other serious violations of international humanitarian law. He has pleaded not guilty.