As the trial of Charles Taylor moved into a week-long judicial recess today, news broke that the much anticipated appearance by British Supermodel Naomi Campbell may no longer take place at the end of July.
According to prosecution counsel, Nicholas Koumjian, Ms. Campbell planned to ask the judges to reschedule her appearance and would soon put her request in writing. The judges, however, could not rule on her request until after the judicial break.
Mr. Koumjian assured the court that Ms. Campbell’s preferred date of testimony is close to the one indicated in her subpoena (July 29) – and will likely take place before the current witness — former Sierra Leonean rebel leader, Issa Sesay — leaves the witness stand.
Testimony by actress Mia Farrow and Ms Campbell’s former agent, Carole White, will likely follow that of the British supermodel. The three high profile women are set to testify about allegations that in 1997, while on a visit to South Africa — and after a star studded dinner hosted by former South African president Nelson Mandela — Mr. Taylor sent men to deliver rough diamonds to Ms. Campbell. Prosecutors suggest that the rough diamonds were given to Mr. Taylor by Sierra Leonean rebels in the hope that the former Liberian president would exchange them during his travels for arms and ammunition, which helped to fuel the rebels’ crimes during the conflict. Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations.
In Mr. Sesay’s testimony as a witness for Mr. Taylor, the former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leader has denied that the RUF gave diamonds to Mr. Taylor, and dismissed as false allegations that Mr. Taylor bought weapons and ammunition for RUF rebels.
Mr. Taylor’s trial resumes on Monday, July 26, with Mr. Sesay again taking the witness stand.