Supermodel witness at war crimes trial

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The Independent Online

Naomi Campbell and the actress Mia Farrow will be summoned to testify at the war crimes trial of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor, addressing allegations that Mr Taylor gave the supermodel an uncut diamond at a South African reception in 1997.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone, in The Hague, granted a request by prosecutors to summon the pair but it is not yet clear when their subpoenas will be issued. The prosecution hopes the women's testimony will support its claims that Mr Taylor dealt in "blood diamonds" when he supported rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 civil war, which Mr Taylor denies. His lawyers had argued that the request to subpoena the celebrities was "an obvious publicity stunt", and that it was too late to introduce new evidence, nearly 18 months after the prosecution closed its case.

But the judges accepted the prosecution's argument that the evidence came to light only last June, and was pertinent enough to warrant their summons. Prosecutors said Campbell has told them through a lawyer that she does not want to get involved in the case, and that subsequently they had made "many unsuccessful attempts" to contact her.

In a written statement to the court, Farrow said Campbell told her that two or three men woke her up and "presented her with a large diamond which they said was from Charles Taylor".