Supermodel testifies in war crimes trial - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Supermodel testifies in war crimes trial

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(WOIO) - British supermodel Naomi Campbell testifies at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, says she was given a pouch containing diamonds while in South Africa in 1997.

British supermodel Naomi Campbell, testifying at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, said on Thursday she had been given a pouch containing diamonds while in South Africa in 1997, but she didn't know who they were from.

"I did think they looked like pebbles but she was not with me when I received them. I was in my bed sleeping. I do travel with a cashmere shawl what she (Carole White) knows. The thing about the windows...I don't know about that. I recall it (pouch) being cloth, it's 13 years ago," she told the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, but added she was not sure who the diamonds were from.

Prosecutors summoned Campbell to support their allegations that Taylor received diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone and used them to buy weapons during a 1997 trip to South Africa.

Taylor has denied the allegations as "nonsense."

He is charged with 11 counts of instigating murder, rape, mutilation, sexual slavery and conscription of child soldiers during wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in which more than 250,000 people were killed. He denies all the charges.

Campbell told the court she had been woken up by two men who knocked at her bedroom door and gave her a pouch,

She said she had recounted the incident at breakfast to actress Mia Farrow and modeling agent Carole White.

Defense lawyers for Taylor tried to delay her testimony, arguing the ex-Liberian president's right to a fair trial was being denied because they had not seen her full intended statement.

Late on Wednesday, the court dismissed the defense motion so that Campbell's testimony could go ahead as planned.

Citing concerns for her security, the 40-year-old supermodel won a court order barring journalists from photographing or filming her arrival and departure from the courthouse.

She was, however, filmed while giving testimony and was wearing a cream-colored outfit and a choker necklace with her hair tied in a bun.

Prosecutors had said Taylor -- accused of receiving the diamonds from rebels a month before his trip to South Africa -- gave Campbell a large rough cut diamond after a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela.

Prosecutors plan to call White and Farrow to the stand next Monday.

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