- Title: LIBERIA/FILE: Liberians react to Charles Taylor Blood Diamonds court case
- Date: 9th August 2010
- Summary: MONROVIA, LIBERIA (FILE - JUNE 4, 2007) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) CHARLES TAYLOR HOLDING GUN AMID CHEERS FROM SUPPORTERS DURING CIVIL WAR MONROVIA, LIBERIA (FILE - JULY 24, 1997) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) TAYLOR MAKING VICTORY SIGN AFTER INDEPENDENT ELECTION COMMISSION ANNOUNCES FINAL RESULTS IN ELECTION MONROVIA, LIBERIA (FILE) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) TAYLOR ARRIVING FOR PEACE TALKS FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE (FILE) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) CHARLES TAYLOR HANDCUFFED AND WEARING BLACK BULLET PROOF JACKET WALKS INTO CENTRE THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (FILE - JUNE 20, 2006) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) CONVOY CARRYING TAYLOR ENTERING PRISON, PRISON GATES CLOSING TUBMANBURG, 60 KM NORTH EAST OF MONROVIA, LIBERIA (FILE - FEBRUARY 16, 2002) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) MILITIA MEN LOYAL TO LIBERIAN PRESIDENT CHARLES TAYLOR SHOWING OFF MACHINE GUNS MILITIA MEN WITH GUNS MONROVIA, LIBERIA (FILE - JULY 30, 2003) (REUTERS) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) VARIOUS GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS FIGHTING ON OLD BRIDGE IN DOWNTOWN MONROVIA
- Embargoed: 24th August 2010 13:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1UTRNQDQUSZ7J30PDCLAW4YSD
- Story Text: Actress Mia Farrow and Naomi Campbell's former agent are expected to testify about blood diamonds at the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor at The Hague on Monday (August 9).
British supermodel Naomi Campbell's testimony at the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor will be put to the test on Monday (August 9) when actress Mia Farrow and Carole White take the stand.
White and Farrow will appear at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague to testify over a late-night gift Campbell received in 1997 after both of them had attended a charity dinner hosted by South Africa's then-President Nelson Mandela and is expected to contradict her over a gift of diamonds.
Taylor, on trial for war crimes in The Hague, was also at the dinner. White previously told the prosecution that Campbell and Taylor were "mildly flirtatious" with each other and that she heard Taylor tell Campbell he was going to send her some diamonds.
"Ms Campbell seemed excited about the diamonds and she kept talking about them," White said in testimony read out to the court.
White recalled that Campbell was later given "a scrubby piece of paper" containing about six small greyish pebbles, but that Campbell "was disappointed because she thought she was going to get a big shiny diamond and these just looked like pebbles."
For her part, Farrow has also told the prosecution that Campbell came to breakfast with an "unforgettable" story that two or three men had given her "a large diamond" which they said was from Taylor.
Liberians on the streets of Monrovia were keen to see Taylor get a fair hearing.
An individual is not guilty until he goes through the process. He's going through the process, and if it is established that he was, um, involved in the act, I think punitive measures need, needs to be taken. If it is clear that he did not, then I think he must be given consideration to go," said one Monrovian.
"She was not really specific, she did not really say that Charles Taylor gave us the, gave her the diamonds. She said that it was a gathering and she received the gifts. So she was just assuming that Charles Taylor gave her the gift, that's what she said," said another of Campbell's testimony.
Prosecutors are trying to link the diamonds to Taylor, 62, to prove allegations that he received diamonds from rebels in Sierra Leone, which they say he then used to buy weapons during the 1997 trip to South Africa. Taylor denies the allegations.
"Blood diamonds" are diamonds mined in conflict zones and sold to fund warring parties.
Campbell has called White's comments a lie and said last week she did not know who the diamonds came from, saying she had been woken in the night by two men knocking at her bedroom door who gave her a pouch with a few small "dirty looking pebbles".
The fashion model said she told White and Farrow about the gift the next day at breakfast and that she gave them to Jeremy Ratcliffe, the then-head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
Ratcliffe said he took them because he feared Campbell might be breaking the law by taking them out of South Africa and kept them for the next 13 years. He handed them over to South African police on Thursday, shortly after Campbell's testimony.
Police said on Sunday a test had proven the stones to be diamonds and that authorities have started an investigation into the stones to determine their origin. It is an offence in South Africa to possess uncut diamonds.
Industry experts have said it is virtually impossible to put a value on the diamonds without knowing their size and quality.
In court last week, Taylor's defence lawyer Courtenay Griffiths tried to discredit White's statement by linking it to a legal row she has with Campbell. "This is a woman who has a powerful motive to lie about you," Griffiths said to the model.
An assistant for White at Premier Model Management in London declined to comment on the matter.
Taylor 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.
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