By: Billy Dean Valentine
Pace International Law Review, Editor in Chief
Naomi Campbell’s former business agent told a war crimes court in early August that the fashion model flirted with former Liberian President Charles Taylor at a 1997 dinner and he arranged to send her a gift of uncut diamonds. The testimony from Campbell’s former agent, Carole White, contradicts the British model’s statements at the Sierra Leone Special Tribunal, in which she said she received a pouch of “dirty-looking diamonds” from unknown men. White’s statement also came the same day American actress Mia Farrow testified that Campbell told her she had been sent a “huge diamond” by Taylor. The prosecution called Farrow and White to testify about a gift of uncut diamonds that Taylor allegedly gave the model after a September 1997 party they all attended hosted by then-South African President Nelson Mandela.
Campbell, who had fought appearing before the war crimes court for months, testified reluctantly under subpoena that she was given several small stones by unknown men after the dinner in Pretoria. The British model said she hadn’t known they were diamonds nor who had sent them, and suggested that Farrow or White had commented at breakfast the next morning that they were probably diamonds from Taylor.
Farrow testified that Campbell had told other guests over breakfast in 1997 she had received a “huge diamond” from Taylor. She said Campbell said she planned to give it to charity — the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. But under lengthy cross examination, Farrow, 65, conceded she had never seen the diamond or diamonds herself. The defense lawyer said Farrow’s testimony is not credible, given that it contradicts the known number of the diamonds and involves events from a single breakfast 13 years ago. “Either Mia Farrow is lying, for her own reasons, or alternatively she is totally mistaken,” Griffiths said.
Taylor denies all 11 charges he faces at the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone, including murder, rape, sexual enslavement and recruiting child soldiers. Prosecutors allege Taylor armed and commanded Sierra Leone rebels who murdered and mutilated tens of thousands of civilians.