Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/05/campbell_diamonds/

Naomi Campbell admits handling 'blood diamonds'

Tells Charles Taylor's war crimes trial of 'dirty stones'

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 5th August 2010 08:43 GMT

Naomi Campbell has admitted that she was given diamonds in the form of "dirty stones" by henchmen of former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Campbell was subpoenaed to appear before the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague, where Taylor stands accused of 11 counts of war crimes in Sierra Leone, "including charges of murder, rape and sexual slavery", the Telegraph reports.

He's also accused of "arming rebels in return for diamonds illegally mined by kidnapped civilians, many of them children", and prosecutors considered claims that Campbell had received a huge "blood diamond" from Taylor as vital evidence.

In court, Campbell said she'd actually been gifted a selection of smaller gems following a 1997 charity bash at Nelson Mandela's house.

Two men knocked on the door of Campbell's room late at night, explaining “there is a gift for you”. They handed her a pouch which she opened the next morning and found it contained “a few small very dirty looking stones”.

She told the court: “I guess they were diamonds."

At breakfast the next morning, Campbell told fellow guest Mia Farrow of the surprise, and it was the latter's testimony which eventually prompted Campbell's court appearance.

Back in April, Campbell insisted she "never received a diamond", and in May told Oprah Winfrey "she did not want to be involved in Taylor's case and feared for her safety if she were".

Campbell was driven to the war crimes tribunal in a blacked-out van to deprive the waiting press of a view of her "cream jacket and matching skirt", the Telegraph notes.

Regarding the ultimate fate of the diamonds, she said she "gave the stones to an organiser of a South African children’s charity". ®