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Cambell testifies she received ‘dirty rocks’
Prosecutors say that is evidence he received diamonds from Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for weapons during that country’s 1992-2002 civil war.
The British model, who had fought to avoid testifying, arrived at the courthouse in The Hague on Thursday surrounded by police escorts. She did not speak to reporters outside.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Naomi Campbell appeared at a Dutch courthouse Thursday to give evidence at the war crimes trial of former Liberian ruler Charles Taylor after the supermodel lost her battle to avoid testifying.
Campbell will be questioned about claims made by actress Mia Farrow that Taylor gave the British model an uncut diamond after a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997. Prosecutors say if that’s true, it’s evidence that he received diamonds from Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for weapons during that country’s 1992-2002 civil war.
Campbell arrived at the courthouse in The Hague on Thursday surrounded by police escorts. She did not speak to reporters outside.
The judges said it was not reasonable to expect prosecutors to obtain a statement beforehand from Campbell, who is essentially a hostile witness.
Prosecutors say that from his seat of power in Liberia, Taylor armed, trained and commanded Sierra Leone rebels who murdered and mutilated thousands of civilians across the border. Taylor has said he is innocent of the 11 war crimes charges he faces, including murder, rape, sexual enslavement and recruiting child soldiers.
He has also denied involvement in the diamond trade in general, and specifically said he did not bring any diamonds to the celebrity-studded dinner he and Campbell attended in South Africa in September 1997.
The story of the diamond gift surfaced via Farrow, who told prosecutors in a statement that Campbell told her the morning after the dinner that Taylor’s men had come to her room during the night and presented her with a rough, or uncut, diamond. Farrow is due to testify in person on Aug. 9.
However it is far from clear what Campbell will say in court on Thursday.
She declined to cooperate with prosecutors until judges last month ordered her to appear or face a maximum sentence of seven years for contempt.
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