Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, has been indicted on 11 counts for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflict in Sierra Leone – under the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone. Last week the prosecution called up its star, yet very reluctant witness, supermodel Naomi Campbell. It is estimated that the 11 year conflict caused over 75,000 deaths, over 2 million refugees and a litany of atrocities that included the appalling widespread amputations of hands, arms and legs of innocent civilians. Central to the prosecution case is proving that “blood diamonds” financed the Charles Taylor regime.
It is one of recent history’s most upsetting stories of conflict and human atrocity. The search for truth and justice is paramount yet the modelling diva from South London told the judge at the trial “this is a big inconvience for me.”
Her full “inconvenience” testimony reads: “This [the summons to testify] 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.”
Campbell, 40, referred to the diamonds, that were given to her while an overnight guest at Nelson Mandela’s house, as “dirty looking pebbles.” South African police spokesman, Musa Zondi, has said “they have been validated as diamonds.”
The chief judge thanked Ms. Campbell for taking time out from her busy schedule and once again the search for truth and justice was relegated to a poor second place behind celebrity and personality.
Conflict diamonds led to the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the issue being originally picked up by the international NGO, Global Witness who in 1998 produced the report “A Rough Trade.” For more details please visit: www.globalwitness.org/pages/en/conflict_diamonds.html