Africa

Naomi Campbell to testify at Charles Taylor trial

Naomi Campbell at Cannes in May
Image caption Naomi Campbell is scheduled to appear on 29 July

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has confirmed she will give evidence at the war crimes trial of the former Liberia President Charles Taylor.

Mr Taylor is on trial at the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague accused of using diamonds to fuel a conflict in Sierra Leone that killed tens of thousands.

Prosecutors had summoned Ms Campbell to testify over reports that she received diamonds from Mr Taylor in 1997.

Ms Campbell is scheduled to appear on 29 July.

Mandela reception

Ms Campbell's public relations company, Outside Organisation, announced late on Friday that she would attend.

A spokeswoman said: "She is a witness who has been asked to help clarify events in 1997. Miss Campbell has made it clear that she is willing to help the due process of law.

"For avoidance of doubt, she is not being accused of any wrongdoing and is not on trial."

Prosecutors want to know whether Ms Campbell received diamonds from Mr Taylor at a reception hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997.

A spokesman for the special court for Sierra Leone previously said Ms Campbell had denied receiving the gems and refused to talk to prosecutors.

In an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Ms Campbell neither confirmed nor denied that she received gems, instead saying: "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."

US actress Mia Farrow, who Ms Campbell allegedly told about the gift, may also testify.

Mr Taylor has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges at the UN-backed tribunal.

It has spent more than two years hearing the case.

Mr Taylor, 62, is suspected of selling diamonds and buying weapons for Sierra Leone's RUF rebels, who were notorious for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during the 1991-2001 civil war.

Tens of thousands of people died in the interlinked conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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