Monday, July 5, 2010
NAOMI CAMPBELL ORDERED TO TESTIFY AGAINST CHARLES TAYLOR
Judges at the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Sierra Leone have ordered British supermodel Naomi Campbell to give evidence later this month in the ongoing trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor about allegedly receiving a blood diamond from him.
A subpoena was issued for Campbell to appear at the end of this month in The Hague, where the ongoing trial of Mr. Taylor is taking place, reports the UN News Service.
Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role of fuelling the extended civil war in Sierra Leone while he served as president of neighbouring Liberia.
Three judges of the SCSL's trial chamber, in announcing the subpoena, said they were responding to a request from prosecutors for Campbell to testify, which may help tie the former warlord to using rough diamonds for personal enrichment and for arms purchases for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone.
The prosecution reportedly wants to ask Campbell about allegations that she was given rough diamonds as a gift from Taylor while both attended a private dinner at the home of the former South African president Nelson Mandela in 1997. Campbell previously declined to voluntarily testify in the trial and has consistently declined to publicly talk about the case, telling prosecutors that she was concerned for her safety, sources say.
Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges against him, which include pillage, slavery for forced marriage purposes, collective punishment and the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The charges relate to his alleged support for two rebel groups in Sierra Leone - the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front.
The Prosecution opened their case against Taylor in June 2007 but Taylor boycotted the proceedings and dismissed his legal team. The trial was adjourned until new counsel could be assigned.
The Prosecution opened witness testimony in January 2008 and formally closed their case in February 2009 after having presented testimony from 91 witnesses. The Defence opened their case in July 2009. Sources say that the Prosecution has asked the court to allow it to reopen its case to present witnesses.