Special Court To Subpoena Supermodel Naomi Campbell

British Supermodel Naomi Campbell should be served a subpoena to testify in the Charles Taylor trial about an alleged diamond gift she received from Mr. Taylor in South Africa in 1997, Special Court for Sierra Leone judges have ruled in The Hague today.

Prosecutors asked for the supermodel to be subpoenaed after she had refused to talk about allegations that the former Liberian president had sent men to deliver rough cut diamonds to her after a dinner hosted by former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Prosecutors argued that Sierra Leonean rebels had given Mr. Taylor diamonds before his South African trip to exchange for weapons during his travels – those weapons, they say, would then be used to fuel Sierra Leone’s bloody civil conflict during the 1990s.

Prosecutors had argued that Ms. Campbell’s testimony is a “matter that goes to the heart of” allegations that Mr. Taylor was part of a joint criminal effort with Sierra Leonean rebels during the country’s conflict.  They also say the allegations contradict “the accused’s testimony that he has never been in possession of rough diamonds” and it would be important to hear Ms. Campbell’s testimony.  According to prosecutors, several attempts to contact Ms. Campbell have failed and so the only avenue left for them to get her side of the story is for the court to issue her a subpoena.

Mr. Taylor’s lawyers opposed the subpoena, arguing that prosecutors had not shown any “legitimate forensic purpose” for the supermodel’s evidence.  His defense team also argued that “there is not a “good chance” that her anticipated evidence would be “of material assistance” to the Prosecution’s case,” and that her appearance was not a “necessity” as her evidence could be obtained elsewhere — namely, through her friend Mia Farrow and her former agent Carole White, both of whom have expressed willingness to testify before the court on the same issue. They also said her testimony would not be so valuable to the court, as no judge could reasonably make the link between “this alleged diamond and the accused’s support for rebels in Sierra Leone as alleged in the indictment.”

Defense lawyers also argued that it was “highly likely” that a subpoena may not be enforced, given that the Special Court lacks the power to compel cooperation. (The Special Court does not have its own police force to enforce orders of the court – it must rely on the help of other states.  No state, except for Sierra Leone, is legally bound to cooperate with the court’s decision).

Today, the judges decided that “Ms. Campbell’s anticipated testimony  relates to clearly identified issues that are relevant to the trial, namely, the Accused’s possession of rough diamonds and his support to the AFRC/RUF junta during the summer-fall of 1997,” and they are “satisfied that the Prosecution has shown that there is at least a good chance that the information to be provided by Ms. Campbell would be of material  assistance to its case in relation to clearly identified issues relevant to the trial.”

The judges ruled that the subpoena for Ms. Campbell should be issued, and ordered that the Registrar ensure it is served on Ms. Campbell and to the “responsible authorities” of the state in which Ms.Campbell lives (the United Kingdom).


    1. no big deal with her testimony she only received an offer from Mr. Taylor it had never said to be an exchange for any product.

    2. We will wait and see how this works out!

      Naomi, I guess it is time to cat walk to the court and do what you do best – steal the show.

      1. Davenport,
        You are quite right ! This is going to be a media frenzy and I guess the judges could not pass up the opportunity for all this publicity. I am looking forward to her testimony.

  1. Charles Taylor should have never even saw a courtroom for his heinous crimes. they should’ve put 50 bullets through his abdomen and left his body on a dirt road in Liberia. he’s guilty, case closed, execute him already!

    1. Joe,

      You are an even greater psychopath than what you claim Taylor is. Who are you to come up with an idiotic statement as that. Do you think that is how things work. Where is the evidence for Taylor to be shot? I see you are one of those who believe in jungle justice right? What a pity.

    2. Joe,
      I understand where you are coming from but calm down. If CT is found guilty, he should be given the opportunity to apologize to the peoples of Liberia and Sierra Leone for masterminding the bloodbath in the sub-region. Rather than putting him to death as you wish, he could retire in a restricted cubicle. There, he will do some critical reflection that might lead to an apology. There he will realize the game is up. There he will realize the full extent of international law. There he will have time to realize this court proceeding was not about parading questionable witnesses to make suspicious claims. There he will realize this court proceedings was about justice – justice for the thousands who never had time to defend themselves in a court of law but were killed because of their tribal or political identity. There he will have time to clearly hear the voices of those dead souls and even the voices of those who bear mental, emotional, and physical scars of his war saying justice is done.

    3. Joe,
      Your days of being in Liberia where the rule of Law didn’t exist have come to an end. Get use to the civilized world, Innocent until proven guilty. Empty drum makes the most sound, so if the cloth fits, wear it. Say something of little substance about the issues, not block-headed statement as yours!!!!!!

      1. My dear GreBo — I agree with you — let’s keep focussed on the issues. But let’s also take the focus off each other too, no?

  2. Alpha,
    I don’t think the comments above by Joe meets the guidelines set up by this blog site.

        1. Hi Aki, I do not think you should have directed anyone to any comments. It is glaring enough for a blind man to see. On this issue of Naomi Campbell or the other faded star, I wonder what the whole uproar is all about as the ‘ summary guru’ keeps telling us about this story for three days. I’m sure the judges are not as excited as he is. A word of advice, report goings ons like a neutral and not a biased victim. I guess someone less attached should have been appointed by the ‘Open Society’ and not ‘friends’ of Shelby.

  3. Wow! Hollis is the stuff!! ! Mad respect madame mad respect!!! This fiesty lawyer and her team needs to applauded for their continious and hard work!!!!
    Many said that the request wouldn’t be granted but Ms. Hollis and her team have been relentless….This is a good read to starte my 4th of july weekend….

  4. Despite the subpoena, the sixty four thousands dollars question than becomes will Ms Campbell willingly come forward to testify for the prosecution at this time, something that she (Ms Campbell) has refused to do in the past.

    The judges’ decision may complicate the situation or make the desire result difficult to achieve if Ms Campbell refuses to voluntarily come forward and testify.

    This is not the UN court that member nations are part to the Geneva agreement. The rules and regulations of this court are different from that of the UN court. Is it admissible for an African Court presiding in The Hague to subpoena an English Citizen? Ms. Campbell is not a Sierra Leone national, she does not resides in Sierra Leone nor own property in Sierra Leone. If Ms Campbell decides to contest the subpoena in the English court on its legitimacy, it could take years for the court of England to rule if Ms Campbell should testify or not. However, it will be a waste of her time to contest the subpoena. All Ms Campbell has to do is to take the witness stand and continue to stick to her story. President Taylor did not give her diamond, total and final exoneration for President Taylor.

    Ms Campbell is no stranger to the court system. She has had many running with the law in England and the US. I am positive Ms Campbell will ascertain a lawyer to advise her accordingly.

    1. The request of ms. Ms Campbell appearance to the hague to testify about the offer issued to her by Mr. Taylor if true, I think this should not a big deal with the trial of world crimes committed by Mr. Charles Taylor. I believe this is not relevant to the case we are looking at now that was just an offer to her by Mr. Taylor if the statement is true. This is to the judges, prosecutors and the decisions making board of the trial of Mr. Taylor in the hague what is the key factor of the supermodel testimony plays in the case of Mr Taylor’s trial? or was the offer to Ms. Campbell was in exchange of and products to Mr. Taylor in order to support the RUF? Prosecutors please move on seeking witnesses that will testify about Charles Taylor support to the RUF is truth. Please leave Ms. Campbell to do what she thinks is right for her. We only want to see that justice be done.

    2. Big B,

      Even though, the this court is not a “UN Court” per se, it has been recognized by the British government as a legitimate legal body. The mere situation that Britain has agreed to house Taylor (if found guilty) gives legal rights to the court and its proceedings. Ms. Campbell will take the stand and she will reveal it all (if she is credible that remains to be seen). I am sure there are some wheeling and dealing going on to ensure that she is not held legally responsible for accepting the “rocks”. According to legal experts on CNN today, she will not be held liable for taking the offer. She maybe didn’t know or even suspected the diamonds could have been conflict stones. Remember, much attention was not put on conflict “ice” from Sierra Leone until after the movie, “Blood Diamond” and subsequent songs by K. West. and other artists and advocacy groups.

      On July 29th, Ms. Campbell and her buddies will appear, willingly or otherwise. She will explain the conversation exchanges that night if any between she and CT, and the events leading to and after the acceptance.

      What puzzles me about this rough stones situation, why did CT (allegedly) give diamonds to her. What was he trying to achieve? Since, he was a “woman lappa” (womanizer), he was hoping to lure her to get “some”? Whatever, the situation was, it is messy, and his move was miscalculated. By the end of July, we would know whether Ms. Campbell actually received those stones and where are they; if she does not have them who did she give them too. The prosecution may have to trace them and have forensics done (there are ways to determine the geographical origin of stones). So they can determine where those stones originate. I guess the saying is true, “when you haul rope, rope will haul bush”!

      I foresee another problem for Taylor, he testified that he has never been in possession of “rough diamonds”. This could link him directly to these stones and severely discredit most if not all of his testimony.

      1. @ Charles
        What is “this” that you refer to in your last statement??? Forensics, Naomi C. testimony…what?

      2. Charles;
        I don’t know the basis of your argument, but I would actually want to see what scientific means these prosecution can evr, ever employ in this case to convict CT of a produced diamond from Naomi Cambel. I chalenge any forensic. The bringing of this lady phisically in this case would definitely further damage the prosecution case. WHATCH AND SEE….

  5. Here is the Court initial ruling on Mia Farrow socalled statement:


    PRESIDING JUDGE: Firstly, I apologise for the late start
    of ten minutes. It was entirely my fault.
    We’ve considered the Defence objection to the use of the
    document and to the arguments put forward by the Prosecution in
    resisting that objection. We note that the document purports to
    deal with a central issue in the Prosecution case. The document
    itself was not produced in the Prosecution case but has been
    produced during the cross-examination of the accused.
    The document allegedly is a statement by a person as to
    what she was told by a second person who was relating what she
    was told by a third person or persons. The accused, of course,
    has had no chance to challenge any of the allegations in this
    document or to cross-examine the alleged makers of the various
    statements that embodied the document now before the Court.
    We find that the document is highly prejudicial and we hold
    that the two criteria that are required to be met for the use of
    the document have not been met. In other words, there’s nothing
    put before us that would allow us to say that its use in
    cross-examination is in the interest of justice or that it does
    not violate the fair trial rights of the accused. We therefore
    uphold the Defence objection and will not allow the document to
    be used in cross-examination.
    Yes, go ahead, Ms Hollis.
    MS HOLLIS: Is there something further, Mr President?
    MS HOLLIS: Was there something further?
    PRESIDING JUDGE: No, not at all.
    MS HOLLIS: Thank you, Mr President:

    1. Momo Dahn, you do not need to reproduce this at all because we already know this! Rather, let’s focus on the new witnesses. What you probably need here is “damage control” by which, I mean, come out with new excusses like: in fact the diamond might have being a liberian diamond, or the men who delivered the diamond were really not sent by taylor, rather, Mendella might’ve set taylor up! Or Mr. Johnson’s,”no big deal with her testimony she only received an offer from Mr. Taylor it had never said to be an exchange for any product” Boy, I cannot immagin any of you holding positions of trust in Africa! You guys sound so dishonest that the World should not come to your aid should, in case, you decide your jungle warfare! your generation needs to face out!

      1. Thanks Mr. Dahn for your comment, as I was saying I m not one of those voices for Mr. Taylor I m stil hurt by his blow which the pain will still in me till death. What I m saying is that, The diamond had already been offered we all know that. My key point here is that, let them judge Charles Taylor for crimes and atrocities he commit against the sierra Leoneans and liberians as well, as we all know Mr. Taylor stole from the country and not only looking at Mr. Taylor but all the past and present so-call government and their followers are still doing what they have to do fine but, this will not sound like a joyful music hearing that they are asking people to come and testify about diamond while someone whose father,mother, brother, sister, and who so ever family were kill, amputated and even went beyond by killing people physically, mentally and emotionally be sitting up there while these people listening to witnesses testifying about diamond issue it is not fair.

  6. Subpoena, yes, subpoena this lady and let’s see what next! Naomi should have known better not to get close to “blood diamonds” except if purchased from legal means. Naomi should count herself lucky she did not visit taylor afterwards if at all this story ended at taylor’s men making this special delivery from Ali Baba! Boy, I am enjoying the Independence Day already. Where is all the noise from the other side? What do you have to say? Say something because some of you think that the more you shout, the better things become for Ali Baba!

    1. Fallah,
      For how long will you live by mare rumor? Has Naomi ever told you that she received diamond of any kind from Mr. Taylor? You should have facts before you make such statement like what you are saying here about Ms. Campbell.

      Harris K Johnson

      1. Thanks Harris K. Johnson for taking my middle Kissi name,fallah. However, I know who you are regardless. are you attempting another deception? Come on Buddy. Don’t let this taylor trial run you crazy! Continue to be yourself!

    2. Fallah,
      Are you actually convinced that even if ms. Cambell did received diamond from Taylor, shes going to leave her good job to come and entangle herself in this case that got no head nor tail by agree to such allegation???? LETS WATCH AND SEE WHO’S SMART….. Remember, if she agrees , it prolongs hers scene of the case. Think about that….

  7. I think the decision is fair and also wise. The trial chamber has to have all relevant evidence in the case before it in order to come to a well informed verdict in the case so that none of the parties will validly claim that they have recieved an unfair trial.

    Lets just watch as the situation unfolds.

  8. Alpha or Tracey–Could one of you explain how this subpoena will be enforced? Are UK police under obligation to enforce this subpoena? What will happen if Campbell does not come forward?



    1. Shelby Grossman,
      The special court does not have powers to enforce the subpoena but they can respectfully ask the government of the country where she resides to help enforce it. However if Naomi Campbell decides to go to court to challenge the powers of the court to subpoena her and the power of the government of her host country to enforce the subpoena, then the courts in her host country has to decide on the issue. As long as the case does not go on for too long (if she deecides to go to court) in the event that she looses the case, the judges of the special court can order that she still be brought to court to give her testimony even if the defence has concluded its case.

    2. Hi Shelby,

      That is an excellent question. The short answer is: the UK does not have any binding obligation to enforce the subpoena — the Special Court is very dependent on the good will of states outside of Sierra Leone (which is legally bound to cooperate with the court) to enforce its decisions and orders. While it is not yet clear what the UK will do in this particular situation, the UK has historically been very cooperative with the SCSL. Just in the Taylor case, the UK drafted the Security Council resolution 1688 in 2006 which allowed the transfer of the trial to The Hague, and also agreed to imprison Mr. Taylor if he is convicted at the end of the case. The UK is represented on the Special Court’s management committee and has been one of the court’s major donors.

      I’m trying to gather more information about the practical process if Naomi Campbell refuses to comply with the subpoena. As soon as I do, I will publish a fuller post to answer your question, Shelby.


  9. I have followed the treads on this subject–Ms. Naomi Campbell. I think it is important that Naomi appears, but the question remains, “does the court has the enforcement power”? I guess that remains to be seen. Anyhow, I think I understand Ms. Campbell earlier refusal to testify—reputation! She is only trying to protect her image and not Taylor’s. Frankly, Ms. Campbell is a controversial figure and has been for many years. It’s possible that she lied about the whole diamond thing, why; attention maybe. One can only image the strategy of the defense. The important issues to be discussed under cross examination will be the alleged exchange of diamonds, if the story is “for real”, the defense will want to know, how could you connect these guys to Charles Taylor. Yeah, they may have said it, but the defense will press, do you think that they could have lied on Charles Taylor—logical answer is, “possible”. The prosecution will have to show, the connection of the diamonds supposedly given to Taylor by RUF that was transported to S.A to purchase arms.

    In either case, the prosecution and the defense have their work cut out of them. Ms. Campbell might be discredited as a witness (thus further hurting her already bruised reputation). And when she admits that she received rough diamonds (blood diamonds), she exposes herself to new rounds of criticize and maybe legal proceedings.

    I think Naomi appearance is important. She is probably the most important witness in this trial. She is the only one who has acknowledged personally receiving rough diamonds from Taylor’s men (allegedly) and of course announced it to friends. I predict she will appear, why? Let’s see, Sierra Leone is a former British Colony, Britain is in support of the SCSL in fact, England has already agreed to host CT if he is found guilty. I think the weight of the British legal system will compel her appearance.

    July 29th, huh? For now, Happy 4th and Happy 26 in advance!

    1. Charles,
      When or where did Ms. Campbell said she received diamond from Mr Taylor or his men??? Mia Farrow was the one who said Ms. Campbell told her.

      1. Noko4,
        Maybe you need to re-read my thread, I said, “She is the only one who has acknowledged personally receiving rough diamonds from Taylor’s men (allegedly) and of course announced it to friends” (Para 3, lines 2 and 3)

        Hope I answered your question!

        1. Charles,
          Again, let’s understand I beg….she has said NOTHING!! Someone said she did, so until she speaks in public we wait.

  10. Why is the court fighting with Ms. Campbell if her former agent and another friend are willing to testify? I would think her former agent would be an especially attractive witness given her likely daily interactions with Ms. Campbell. I guess the court is focussing on Ms. Campbell in order to get around concerns relating to hearsay. Given the UK’s support of SCSL, it will be interesting to see what happens.
    Secondly, in regard to Joe’s remark relating to how Taylor should be executed, we must acknowledge that the justice which Mr. Taylor is presently enjoying is nothing like that which he and his henchmen served to unarmed civilians during the conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Like Davenport, however, I too would like to see Taylor live out a life sentence so that the ghosts of all the people which he and his henchmen murdered can haunt him every day. Even though Mr. Taylor presently continues to deny any involvement in the conflicts in west Acrica, this may change as he gets older and his conscience gets heavier. Unlike Davemport, however, I don’t just want an apology, I would like Mr. Taylor to one day tell us how he did what he did. I envision him writing an autobiography towards the end of his life where he finally tells the world how he manipulated the people and culture of West Africa for personal gain.

    1. Paivy,
      If you really think Taylor was guilty of all you say he is. Would the Liberian people have voted for him with ove 74 % of their vote ?

      1. @ Aki
        I am not on one side or the other, but to illuminate your understanding of what Liberians will do. liberians voted for pres. Sirleaf despite her role in Liberia’s conflict. It also seems they may vote for her again despite the TRC of Liberia recommending a 30 year ban on her involvment from politics. go figure?

    2. Paivy,
      How did the argent become a FORMER?? What if that’s bad blood be the former argent and Ms Campbell???

      Let’s assume Mia Farrow and his former argent comes into court and say YES she told and Ms. Campbell comes and NO I didn’t receive any diamond from anyone while in South Africa…..where do we go??

    1. @ noko5

      LOL.. do not forget about the finger prints of all those who had contact with the diamond.

  11. Many thanks for this explanation. One more question. You say, “the Special Court is very dependent on the good will of states outside of Sierra Leone (which is legally bound to cooperate with the court) to enforce its decisions and orders.” So this means that under international law, all countries are legally bound to cooperate with the Court? And in this case, help enforce the subpoena?



  12. I have continued to monitor this case , and following the comments from readers. Quite interesting!!

    This case is leaving the scene of due process and justice until the jungles of justice. The prosecution is desperate and is hanging on to dry leaves. Will the judges allow for Mr. Taylor to retake the stand following these new superstars testimonies?

    Alpha and Tracey, can you provide any help here??

    1. Welcome back King Gray, the Old Bassa Chief. I , personally doubt that taylor will return to the stand. However, If taylor forgot to mention other things that he would now reconsider mentioning, like for example:”It true I had dinner with ZigZag Marsah, but it was cornbeef stew”, for the record,why not? King Gray, this is not a trial you would compare to any in Liberia where the lawyering is mostly based upon inductive reasoning, and coming out with reasonable doubts to satisfy whims! Nothing that I see, can free taylor from what he did to our people. We will probably try him if the Court of Sierra Leone can’t as long we have him in custody as he is now! Hope I am clear enough, Chief Gray.

    2. Aki,
      That will happen depending if Ms. Campbell comes into court and tell tales not in the likeing of the defense….What I sense, Ms. Campbell will tell the court in writing notorized and that will be read in court.

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