Supermodel Naomi Campbell was this week holidaying in the south of France, just a couple of days after she was called to testify in a war crime tribunal about allegedly accepting a blood diamond. Ms Campbell has denied many times that former Libyan president Charles Taylor gave her a gift of a blood diamond. But the 40 year-old’s former aide says the dictator gave the supermodel six uncut stones. Mr Taylor is accused of using these uncut diamonds to fund a civil war in Sierra Leone that cost an estimated 50,000 lives, with some of the worst crimes committed by child soldiers who were drugged to numb them against the atrocities. He is said to have given rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) soldiers guns in exchange for the rough, uncut diamonds. He is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ms Campbell, who has before refused to testify, was last week officially ordered to do so by Mr Taylor’s international war crimes tribunal at The Hague. The court hasn’t said when she will have to appear, but it will not be until the defence finishes calling its witnesses, which is not likely to be until next month. It is claimed that the diamond was handed over in the middle of the night during a celebrity-packed event held by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997. The court also agreed to a request by the prosecution that it is allowed to call the actress Mia Farrow and Ms Campbell's former agent, Carole White to testify. The actress, who was also at the Mandela dinner, has said Ms Campbell told her about the diamond the morning after. Ms Campbell said she had been visited by representatives of Mr Taylor during the night, and that they had given her a ‘huge’ uncut diamond, Ms Farrow told ABC News in April. At the weekend however, the model flew to the South of France for a two month long holiday in the Mediterranean, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.
The rebel forces bankrolled by Mr Taylor were notorious for their Small Boys Units, made up of child soldiers as young as eight who were drugged and forced to fight with AK47 assault rifles. They became among the most feared units in what was one of the world's most vicious civil wars. Other children during the war were forced to risk death working in the country’s diamond mines.