News / Africa

Mia Farrow's War Crimes Testimony Contradicts Naomi Campbell

Actress Mia Farrow, left, is seen holding the bible being sworn on a screen in the pressroom of the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Netherlands, 09 Aug 2010
Actress Mia Farrow, left, is seen holding the bible being sworn on a screen in the pressroom of the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Netherlands, 09 Aug 2010

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American Actress Mia Farrow testified Monday at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. She told the court at The Hague that supermodel Naomi Campbell claimed in1997 to have been given a large diamond by Mr. Taylor after a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela. However, Farrow's testimony contradicts Campbell's own evidence given last week.

The court questioned actress Mia Farrow about the events surrounding a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela in 1997.

Naomi Campbell in the pressroom of the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Netherlands.
Naomi Campbell in the pressroom of the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Netherlands.

The morning after the party, she said, fellow guest Naomi Campbell told her that Charles Taylor had sent her a diamond in the night.

"She (Naomi Campbell) said that in the night she had been awakened, some men were knocking at the door, and they had been sent by Charles Taylor, and they had given her a huge diamond," Mia Farrow said.

Campbell's former agent Carole White also testified Monday. She told the court that Mr. Taylor had promised Campbell the diamonds over dinner.

Both White and Farrow contradicted what Naomi Campbell told the court last week.

She said she had been given what she called "a few dirty pebbles" in the middle of the night. And she stopped short of saying she had known they were from Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Taylor is on trial for his alleged role in Sierra Leone's decade long civil war.

The Prosecution says that Mr. Taylor – then president of Liberia – controlled rebel forces in Sierra Leone who raped, murdered, and mutilated thousands of civilians.

Diamonds are central to the case

Prosecutors say Mr. Taylor traded diamonds mined in Sierra Leone for weapons, which he smuggled into the country.

They say the gift given to Campbell links him to these so-called "blood diamonds".

Although the three witnesses have varying accounts of the events 13 years ago, police in South Africa say the stones given to Campbell that night are, in fact, diamonds.

Campbell had given the stones to then head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund Jeremy Ratcliffe, who recently handed them over to police.

"Yes, they are real diamonds," Police Spokesperson Musa Zondisaid. "We cannot tell whether they are 'blood diamonds' or not. That will be part of the investigation because you still need people to say 'yes I know these diamonds, these are diamonds which were given to me.'"

The appearance at The Hague of international celebrities has turned the world's attention to Mr. Taylor's trial. Human rights activists say it has helped to shine a spotlight on the violent consequences of the trade in illicit diamonds.

A spotlight they hope will remain even after the celebrities have left.

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