Monday, 7 June 2010

Naomi Campbell at the Specail Court for Sierra Leone?

The Prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone has applied to reopen her case, which closed more than a year ago, in order to call model Naomi Campbell and actress Mia Farrow as witnesses. It is alleged that while in South Africa in 1997, where the three were guests of Nelson Mandela, Charles Taylor gave Naomi Campbell an uncut diamond. Campbell has denied this in the past, and recently punched a journalist who asked her about the matter. See the video (won't she be fun to cross-examine!). Mia Farrow claims she that Campbell told her about this at breakfast.
The Prosecutor says this will constitute 'direct evidence of the accused's possession of rough diamonds from a witness unrelated to the Liberian or Sierra Leone conflicts'.

Taylor's defence counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, is challenging the motion. 'For the prosecution to present such inferential evidence at this advanced stage, as part of an obvious publicity stunt, would bring the administration of justice into serious disrepute,' he said in his reply to the motion.
What I find quite astonishing is that the Prosecutor closed the case more than a year ago without adequate evidence that Charles Taylor was in possession of raw diamonds. After all, this is a big part of the lore about the Liberian conflict. Is the Prosecutor really so dependent upon last-minute evidence from a volatile super-model, who in the past has denied this, but whose credibility could then be attacked by a movie star.
And what did Campbell do with this famous diamond? She says she gave it away to a charity in South Africa. Really? But apparently the alleged charity denies it. The Prosecutor has an explanation: Campbell k new it would be illegal to take an uncut diamond out of the country, so she gave it away, but then the charity is afraid to admit having received it because of the legal consequences. And all of this not to prove an issue that is central to the case against Taylor, but a seriously tangential matter.
Maybe they should also subpoena Nelson Mandela ot see what he knows about the matter.

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