Campbell forced to testify at war crimes trial

Supermodel 'given blood diamond' by former Liberian president

Naomi Campbell has been avoiding international prosecutors for almost a year. But the long arm of the law finally caught up with the supermodel after judges ruled she must take to the witness stand in the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

In a ruling published yesterday, judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone ordered a subpoena to be served on Ms Campbell and if necessary to enlist the help of law enforcement agencies to make sure she gets to court.

Ms Campbell will appear along with the actress Mia Farrow and the model's former agent Carole White, who do not appear to have resisted testifying, in a case already seen as a landmark, the first time a former African head of state has been put on trial by an international court.

Prosecutors complained to the judges that they had tried unsuccessfully to contact Ms Campbell several times since June 2009, when they received information that Mr Taylor had given her a blood diamond as a gift during a celebrity-packed 1997 reception in South Africa hosted by then-president Nelson Mandela.

They said Ms Campbell's testimony would support their contention that Mr Taylor lied when he testified that he never possessed rough diamonds.

"The prosecution has shown that there is at least a good chance that the information to be provided by Ms Campbell would be of material assistance to its case," said the ruling.

It cited Ms Campbell's statements that she "does not want to be involved in the case." It did not say when she would be required to appear, but it would not be until the defence finished calling its witnesses, probably next month.

Mr Taylor is accused of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war, which claimed an estimated 500,000 victims of killings, mutilation or other atrocities, with some of the worst crimes committed by child soldiers who were drugged to desensitise them.

His trial is being held in The Hague for fear of renewed violence if hearings were conducted in Sierra Leone. After several false starts, it began in January 2008. Mr Taylor's own testimony took seven months.

Defence lawyers objected to the request to summon Ms Campbell, arguing that the prosecution had concluded its case 18 months ago and that Ms Campbell's story was irrelevant since she could not testify to any connection between the diamond and Mr Taylor's alleged involvement with Sierra Leone rebels. The court ruled earlier this week, however, that the prosecution could summon the three women.

Ms Farrow has given a written statement to the court stating that Ms Campbell told her about the gift. But judges refused to accept the statement when prosecutors tried to introduce it as evidence last January. Under cross-examination, Mr Taylor said the story was "totally incorrect."

On Oprah Winfrey's chat show last month, Ms Campbell said: "I don't want to be involved in this man's case – he has done some terrible things and I don't want to put my family in danger."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy