11 Aug 2010

Supermodel defends her testimony at war crimes trial

6:41 pm on 11 August 2010

Supermodel Naomi Campbell says she had nothing to gain by lying at the war crimes trial of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Miss Campbell's assertion comes after her former agent, Carol White, cast doubt on her testimony during her evidence in The Hague.

The BBC reports that in a statement issued five days after giving evidence, the supermodel said: "I've no motive here".

It accepted she had chosen her words "poorly" in describing her appearance as a witness as a "big inconvenience."

It is alleged Ms Campbell received "blood diamonds" from Mr Taylor after a dinner in South Africa in 1997.

Charles Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, all of which he denies, over his alleged role in the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, where he is accused of backing rebels responsible for widespread atrocities.

The statement released by Ms Campbell's PR agency, Outside Organisation, comes as several British newspapers suggested doubts have been cast over her testimony.

In her evidence, London-born Ms Campbell, 40, said she was woken by two strangers in the middle of the night, and given a pouch containing a few "dirty-looking stones".

She put it by her bed and did not examine it until she woke the next morning, she said, and explained she was not accustomed to receiving diamonds in a cloth pouch, only in a box.

But the court has heard conflicting evidence since from fellow guests - her former agent Carole White and the actress Mia Farrow - about the gift and its origin.

Ms Campbell's statement reiterated that events took place 13 years ago and recollections could be hazy.

Prosecutors are trying to link the former Liberian leader to the diamonds that Ms Campbell received. He has denied having anything to do with the trade in so-called blood diamonds.