Extracts from Naomi Campbell's testimony
- 5 August 2010
- From the section Africa
British supermodel Naomi Campbell has told a war crimes tribunal in The Hague of the night in 1997 when it is alleged former Liberian leader Charles Taylor sent her a gift of "blood diamonds".
Ms Campbell and Mr Taylor had both attended a celebrity dinner in South Africa hosted by then President Nelson Mandela. Here are some extracts from the hearing.
ON RECEIVING THE DIAMONDS
"When I was sleeping I had a knock on my door. I opened my door and two men were there and gave me a pouch and said, 'A gift for you'."
She said she put the pouch next to her bed and went back to sleep. In the morning she opened the bag and saw a few stones. "They were very small, dirty looking stones."
"At breakfast I told Miss Farrow [actress Mia Farrow] and Miss White [Carole White, her ex-modelling agent] what had happened and one of the two said, well that's obviously Charles Taylor, and I said, yes I guess it was."
ASKED IF SHE HAD ALSO BELIEVED CHARLES TAYLOR HAD SENT THE DIAMONDS
"I assumed it was. I don't know anything about Charles Taylor. Never heard of him before, never heard of the country Liberia before. I never heard of the term 'blood diamonds' before. So I just assumed that it was."
ASKED WHY SHE HADN'T ASKED WHO SENT THE GIFT
"I get gifts given to me all the time, at all hours of the night. Sometimes without notes. It is quite normal for me to receive gifts."
ON WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DIAMONDS
"I went downstairs to breakfast and took all my luggage with me. I wanted to find my friend [Jeremy Ratcliffe, then head of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund], someone that I trust and who does great things in South Africa for charity, to give them [the stones] to him to do something with them. I didn't want to keep them.
"In 2009, when the United Nations called my lawyer to ask about these diamonds, it was the second time I had spoken to him about them and to my surprise he still has them."
ASKED IF SHE COULD RECALL HOW MANY 'STONES' THERE WERE
"I really can't recall after 13 years, Maybe two or three?"
ASKED IF SHE HAD CONSIDERED THANKING CHARLES TAYLOR FOR THE GIFT
"I did not consider contacting him. I did not know how. I had no way of contacting him and had no intention of contacting him."
COULD THE DIAMONDS HAVE COME FROM SOMEONE ELSE?
"When we discussed it at breakfast, I think it was Mia Farrow who said there was no-one else at the table that would give such a gift. So the assumption was made."
ASKED WHY SHE HADN'T WANTED TO APPEAR IN COURT
"This is a big inconvenience for me.
"I really don't want anything to do with this, and I care about the protection of my family.
"This is someone [Charles Taylor] that I read on the internet has killed thousands of people, supposedly, and I don't want my family in any danger in any way."