Supermodel Naomi Campbell Subpoenaed, Prosecutors To Reopen Case

British supermodel Naomi Campbell is to be served a subpoena and compelled to testify on July 29 in the trial of Charles Taylor about an alleged diamond gift she received from the former Liberian president in South Africa in 1997, Special Court for Sierra Leone judges ruled this week. The subpoena was issued after judges agreed that prosecutors could re-open their case with a select cast of high profile witnesses.

Ms. Campbell, along with her former agent, Carole White, and Hollywood actress Mia Farrow, are slated to be called as witnesses as prosecutors get another chance to try to show that Mr. Taylor can be held responsible for crimes committed by Sierra Leonean rebel forces during that country’s bloody 11-year conflict.  

Among prosecution allegations is the claim that Mr. Taylor gave the rebels weapons and ammunition — which they then used to commit crimes and fuel a brutal conflict in the West African nation – in exchange for diamonds.  Prosecutors say that Mr. Taylor had a joint plan with the rebels because of which he could enrich himself with Sierra Leone’s diamond wealth, while also being in a position of command over the rebels from his neighboring country – and thus in a  position to prevent or punish their crimes as they wreaked havoc across the nation.   Mr. Taylor has denied all allegations against him.

After prosecutors closed their case in February 2009, allegations surfaced that Mr. Taylor had sent men to deliver rough cut diamonds to Ms. Campbell in her hotel room after they both had attended a dinner hosted by former South African president Nelson Mandela in 1997.  Ms. Farrow had recounted the story to prosecutors in November 2009.  Ms. Campbell, however, had refused to speak to prosecutors about the allegations.  

This week, Special Court judges agreed that the prosecutors could re-open their case to explore this incident.  Prosecutors say that the allegations, if true, could piece important events together: they say that Sierra Leonean rebels had come to see Mr. Taylor in Liberia the month before he left for his South African trip with diamonds that they wanted him to exchange for weapons during his travels.  A month after Mr. Taylor returned, a shipment of weapons arrived for the rebel forces.  If the allegations about Ms. Taylor are true, it could place Mr. Taylor in possession of the diamonds at a key time.  Mr. Taylor has denied the allegations, and also denied possessing any diamonds, beyond personal jewelry, during his presidency.

On Thursday, the judges issued the subpoena, addressed to the supermodel, stating that she must appear to testify on July 29, or “show good cause” why she could not comply with the subpoena.

The judges also requested the “Registrar of the Special Court to serve the subpoena on the legal representative of Ms. Naomi Campbell, Mr. Gideon Benaim…and to take any further necessary measures to have this subpoena served and executed, seeking the assistance of authorised representatives of the Government of the United Kingdom where appropriate, and to ensure that…Naomi Campbell, appear[s] at the time and place indicated above.”

The subpoena was issued a day after judges decided the prosecution could re-open its case for a day.  Prosecutors in their application had stated that they want to bring in Ms. Campbell, Ms. White and Ms. Farrow to testify for one day about the incident relating to the alleged diamond gift in South Africa.  In their motion to the judges, prosecutors argued that the evidence the three women can provide “was unknown to the prosecution when it formally closed its case on 27 February 2009″ and relates to “a ‘central issue’ to the prosecution’s case: The Accused’s possession of rough diamonds.”

Mr. Taylor’s lawyers had opposed the request, telling judges that “no reasonable Court could find that the anticipated evidence is relevant to the charges against Mr. Taylor.” Defense lawyers also argued that the prosecutors should have made greater efforts to seek evidence before their case was over about Mr. Taylor’s trips outside Liberia and his alleged possession of rough diamonds. “Thus the prosecution Motion must be denied,” defense lawyers said.

On Wednesday, the judges ruled in favor of the prosecution, allowing them to re-open their case and bring new evidence against the former Liberian president. According to the judges, the requirements for a party to reopen its case in such a situation are twofold:

1. “The party  must meet the threshold test of establishing that the evidence could not, with reasonable diligence, have been obtained  and presented during its case  in chief,” and if this test is met:

2. “The Trial Chamber must be of the view that the probative value of the evidence is not substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial.”

The judges held that prosecutors only received information about the alleged diamond gift in June 2009 — “well after [the prosecution] had closed its case” and had since been unable to contact Ms. Campbell.

“Accordingly, the Trial Chamber is satisfied not only that the Prosecution has shown that it could not, with reasonable diligence, have obtained and presented the fresh evidence during its case in chief, but that it subsequently acted with reasonable diligence to obtain such evidence,” the judges stated.

The judges also thought the three high profile witnesses may offer valuable information.  

“The Trial Chamber, having perused the declaration of Mia Farrow and the interview notes of Carole White, is satisfied that the proposed fresh evidence is highly probative and material to the indictment,” according to Wednesday’s decision.

Judges were also not concerned that testimony of the three extra witnesses would be unfair to Mr. Taylor.  His defense team had known about Ms. Farrow’s statement since December 2009 and about Ms. White’s evidence before prosecutors did. Since the prosecutors were asking for one day to complete their examination of the three witnesses, it would not cause any undue delay.

“The Trial Chamber is also satisfied that no injustice would be caused to the Defense by such re-opening in that it will be entitled to test the evidence of the proposed witnesses by cross-examination and may apply for time to make further investigations and call further evidence if necessary,” the judges said.

“Accordingly, the Trial Chamber finds that this is an appropriate case for the Trial Chamber to exercise its discretion to allow the Motion, in that the proposed fresh evidence is not substantially outweighed by the need to ensure a fair trial,” the judges concluded in their ruling.

Earlier on Monday, Mr. Taylor’s fifteenth witness, DCT-190 concluded his testimony, denying suggestions that he had received amounts of money from the Witness and Victims Services (WVS) section of the court as an incentive for his testimony, stating instead that monies provided to him were mainly to for his medical services, transportation and accommodation. He said that he did not physically see the money paid for these services on his behalf.

As prosecution counsel, Kathryn Howarth, pointed out that a total amount of 2,772,000  Leones (about $706) was spent on the witness based on the document provided by WVS, the witness responded that “I’ve never received that amount of money. The money they are claiming, one of it was paid for medications, so I’ve not received that kind of money.”

The witness explained that if the money was spent on him, it could be justified because he would not be expected to leave his job, pay his way to Freetown and then pay his own accommodation bills without any support from the court. He, however, denied receiving physical cash from court officials.

On Monday, July 12, a defense witness, DCT-172, described by defense lawyers as a “major” defense witness will take the witness stand. The witness currently has protective measures and so his name has not been disclosed to the public.


  1. I cant help but wonder what role Blak China plays in all of this, things are so horribly complicated.

  2. Ms. Campbell has to speak the truth. The same true she (Ms. Campbell) has been saying all along, that she does not know anything about any diamond, and President Taylor didn’t give her any diamond.

    Under no circumstances should Ms Campbell’s deviate from her original statement and testify to the contrary. Because if she (Ms. Campbell) should change her story and testify that indeed she received diamond from President Taylor, may not be in her best interest. The defense will come after her like “white on rice”. The defense will put forward her entire life and family history out in the public. This is the exact thing Ms Campbell has been skeptical of coming forward to testify. She wants to protect her family.

    In addition, if Ms Campbell should testify to the contrary, that President Taylor did give her diamond, she (Ms Campbell) may be an accessory. Furthermore, the defense will push for Ms Campbell to produce the diamond, or tell the court what she (Ms Campbell) did with the diamond.

    There may be tremendous pressure on Ms Campbell to change her story, but if she (Ms Campbell) should yield to such pressure and changed her story, the cons will out weight the pros.

    1. So Mr. BigB, are you saying indirectly that whether the diamond story is true or not, Naomi should not tell the truth? Yes, you are uncontiously advising Naomi to lie! This is where I have problems with taylor support group: You are so loyal to this man that you do not mind losing your moral obligation to your country first! It is appaling that there are some so called patriots of Liberia who care very little about what was done not only to their dignity, but complete wreck to their motherland, and yet continue to put their necks out for taylor! I feel sorry for some on this blog because if this is the mentality most hold, the International Body should never come to your aid! You all should have nowhere called”Home”we deserved all taylor,Boakeri, Zigzag, sankoh, and the waring factions did to us and our country.

      1. My brother fallah,

        All what I am saying here is Ms campbell have siad it over and over that President Taylor did not give her diamond. To the best of my knowledge that’s the truth. If she Ms campbell changes her story thats will be a lie.

        As we always said in Liberia, first word goes to court, second word goes to jail, and third word execute you. Meaning: If you tell the truth before going to court, and changed your testimony in court, you could go to jail and depending on the crime be executed.

        1. Mr. Big B, I respectfully disagree with your inductive reasoning. Naomi did not say, emphatically, that she did not receive diamond from taylor. What Naomi said was that taylor never gave her diamond. Naomi received the diamond from men who came to her hotel room and handed it to her instead.To you, therefore, Naomi did not receive diamond from taylor! This is called” inductive reasoning” Big B.
          Why not refrain from this tiype of thinking and reasoning, Mr. B? Do this for your own intellectual growth, at least! Same goes to others who believe this man will get out based upon technicalities! Sorry!

  3. I am wondering who on the defense will do the cross examination of Ms. Campbell ? My thinking is that if she says things favorable to the defense during direct examination then Courtenay Griffiths job will be easier and he will do the cross. However if she for example comes to court and changes her story and says she did receive a diamond from Mr. Taylor. I don’t think Mr. Griffiths will be able to do the cross. The reason being they are both Black Brits. Ms. Campbell is a black British icon and I don’t think Mr. Griffiths would want to make her out to be a liar. Secondly both Ms. Campbell and Courtenay Griffiths are both of Jamaican decent making the task even more difficult for him.

    This is my opinion. I would be interested to see what others on the forum think.

  4. Well people! we are now hearing from the horse’s mouth. Issa Sesay is testifying on behalf of Mr Taylor. He has said that he never gave diamonds to Mr Taylor and that as far as he knew, Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie never gave diamonds to Mr Taylor. Stay tuned for more!…

  5. I really pity these illiterates like Issa Sesay who didn’t and still don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions and allowing themselves to be used. It is high time sufficient resources be devoted to reducing the high degree of illiteracy and ignorance pervalent in our subregion.
    Here is an old article about 8 years old girl that alleged to be Sesay’s war slave that I just came across while doing some background on this pathetic figure.

    1. Morris Kanneh,
      Most people on this forum would agree that Issa Sesay is a pathetic figure like several others who have come to testify. However his information is very important and goes toward the innocense of Mr. Taylor. I have said this repeatedly. The ones who bear the most responsibility for war crimes in Sierra Leone including Mr. Sesay have already been rightfully convicted. Mr. Taylor however is not one of them and the court proceedings are proving that.

    2. Morris Kanneh,
      What does this article have to do with the testimony of Mr Issa Sesay? yes he has been convicted of war crimes under the doctrine of command responsibility not for being personally culpable. However, does the conviction in anyway undermine his credibility? I do not think so and infact it will be naive for anyone to think that Issa Sesay at this time will be testifying in behalf of Mr Taylor in order to protect Mr Taylor from imprisonment when he issa is serving a lengthy jail term himself.

    3. Morrris,
      The fact that he is testifying on behalf of Mr. Taylor that is alone is telling. He has NOTHING to gain in case you are wondering.

    4. The reason that an eight years old girl is treated as a bribe is not because of Sesay it is an African tradition that need to be STOP

    5. @ kanneh
      thanks for the link. very interesting…it also links to for those who are interested in helping…you can do plenty to help educate the children who suffered in SL and other countries. Children are the single largest disadvantaged group in the world. We must educate, nurture and love all children.

    6. Morris kanneh,
      I think your comment about Issa being illiterate is kinda disgusting. The guy is talking about somethig that he fully participated. What does literacy got to do with this? This an education that he has and good informations that we all need to know because of either our collective or individual interest. I strongly think your perception of literacy is being misguided. We do not need any bookman to tell us what took place in BUTUO, GBORPLAY, BO WATERSIDE or KONO district in Sierraleone. I also want to charlenge that you do not know this Issa Sesay guy, from anywhere beside seeing him on this web through its it data/graphics connectivities. How could you deductively conclude that he’s not literate…… Come on people.. BOOK BOOK BOOK.. PLEASE.

  6. Charles,

    You raised some very good points, but it’s too early to preempt what Ms Campbell will testify to. Let’s wait and see what happens on July 29th.

    Credibility is going to be the major obstacle for Ms Campbell, especially, she flip’s the script. Ms Campbell is know for her elusion acts, and if she (Ms Campbell) should changed her story and testify to the contrary, the defense will portrayed Ms Campbell to be unstable and a drama queen. Even though, statements on record by Ms Campbell that President Taylor did not give her a piece of “Ice” are not sworn testimonies made in court, but those are testimonies Ms Campbell made voluntarily.

    Yes, there will be a lot of wheeling and dealing to pursue Ms Campbell to change her story, perhaps for a lesser charge, or no charge at all. If Ms Campbell complied to change her story, the defense will push and push for Ms Campbell to tell the court what kind of deal offered her in order for her (Ms Campbell) to come forward at this time to admit that President Taylor did give her a piece of “Ice” while she (Ms Campbell) has been saying all along that President Taylor did not give her any diamond.

    In my opinion, and if I was a lawyer advising Ms Campbell, I will advice Ms Campbell to be consistence in her statement. If she (Ms Campbell) deviates from her original statements, her credibility, dignity and career maybe hampered. However, my opinion means nothing, and I am not a lawyer.

    Very interesting, lets wait and see how this whole thing will unfold.

  7. Granted Mr. Taylor gave Ms. Campbell diamonds, how does it speak to his guilt of the crimes for which he was brought to the Hague? I would understand the evidentry significance were Ms. Campbell a gun-runner or that sort of thing. Would Pat Robertson be subpoenaed; for he too is alledge to have receive diamonds from Taylor?
    This in my view is a travesty of justice and waste of the SL people time and resources?

    1. MsTeage,
      Thanks I had a wonderful 4th of July brunch at the Kendeja Hotel outside of Monrovia.

      1. Aki,
        I’m jealous wish I was in Liberia right now. How is Kendejah I tried to go but never made it. I visited the ‘Palm Springs’ a couple of times, but never Kendejah….but defintely in December.

  8. Big B,
    here you go again with your early presumptions,of what if Ms.Campbell, admits to receiving diamond from CT, and what her liabilities would be. ie compelling the court to have her produced it.I think and stands to be corrected, the point in focus, is Ms.Mia Farrow and Ms. Campbell’s former agent Carol White coming forward to assert that she had told the them that CT had gaven her dimonds as gift, and she had plans of donating it to a South Africa orphanage spear headed by the wife of SA president, a pledge that Ms. Campbell uphead donating US $100,000.00 to, in two seperate installments, and since these two accusers came forward, Ms. Campbell has been on the defenses & couple with behaviors unimarginable to her fans and financial endosers ie, seen live in an ABC nightline reports charging and knocking down reporters and their camara crews when the dimonds question was put to her.The golden bird in hands is that Charles Taylor has admitted to this court that he has been inconsistent and has lied.

    1. Ziggy,

      To tell you the truth, almost everything we write on this blog is speculations, opinions and presumptions. As long as I am not taking someone else’s opinion out of context, I don’t see it to be problem writing from my opinion. Also, I tried not to be conclusive in my comments, that’s why I chose my words very carefully, such as, if, may, maybe, perhaps…

      Hypothetically, if Ms Campbell should flap flip and changed her story that President Taylor did give her diamond, the most logically thing the defense will want to know is what happened to the diamond. According to Ms White and Ms Farrows, Ms Campbell told them that she (Ms Campbell) will donate the diamond to South Africa orphanage. Ms Campbell donated cash instead. Where is the diamond?

      Ziggy, are you implying if Ms Campbell admits to receiving diamond from President Taylor case closed, the defense will not inquired as to what happened to the diamond?

    2. Ziggy Salis,
      “Ms. Campbell has been on the defenses & couple with behaviors unimarginable to her fans and financial endosers ie, seen live in an ABC nightline reports charging and knocking down reporters and their camara crews when the dimonds question was put to her.” this statement by you shows that you are not aware of the anticidents of Ms Campbel Vis-a-vis her temperament. I will give no further comment of this while leaving you to do a research on the topic.

  9. If I were 40 years old and jailed for 56 years (which practically means I will never again see the day of light) and I’m an ignoramus of the highest order I would see going to the Hague to testify on behalf of my godfather a great blessing.
    First, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of leaving the confine of my tiny cell, hopping that brief change of environ will help me escape from the torments of the ghosts of the innocent civilians I slaughtered in cold blood that I am subjected to every day and night.
    Second, I ignorantly think that by going to deny atrocities I committed on behalf of my godfather I can gain popular sympathy that would pressurized my government to set me free.
    Third and most importantly, my fervent, though silly, hope is that my testimony will help set my godfather free so that he can come back to terrorize the sub-region and in the process set me free. Given that I’m an embodiments of the terrible mix of ignorant, illiteracy, gullibility and desperation, it is very easy to convince me that Taylor is winning his case and it will be a grave mistake on my part to refuse to testify on behalf of the Papay. Refusal of the Papay’s request amount to refusing the only glimmer of freedom.
    So, no matter what anyone think, I could never miss this opportunity traveling to Europe, letting the whole world to hear my side of the story and helping to free the only man who holds the key to my freedom.

    1. Morris Kanneh,
      Good Hypothesis! But where does hypothesis end? – Far away from reality. Reality though is that Charles Taylor did not support nor aid the RUF in its campaign in SL and that is exactly what Issa Sesay is saying to the court.

    2. @ kanneh
      where does it say president taylor is “godfather” to…? Or are you just making a funny?

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