Naomi Campbell will be subpoenaed to testify about uncut "blood diamonds" she allegedly received as a gift from former Liberian President Charles Taylor, judges for the ex-warlords war crimes trial said today.
Campbell has thus far refused to testify in the case against the ex-warlord Taylor though prosecutors say her testimony goes to the heart of their case.
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If she fails to appear as ordered, the court can find her in contempt. A date has yet to be set for her to appear at the trial.
"We are happy with the decision and we will proceed in accordance," Chief Prosecutor Brenda Hollis told ABC News from The Hague where the high profile case is being tried.
The super model's name first surfaced in the trial in January, when prosecutors introduced information from Mia Farrow about a 1997 dinner at Nelson Mandela's home. According to Farrow, Campbell told her that Taylor's men had given her a "huge diamond" in the middle of the night.
In the wake of an ABC News report on the alleged "blood diamond," Campbell's former agent Carole White revealed to prosecutors that she was present when Campbell received several diamonds from Taylor that night.
White's lawyer, Daniel Bright, told ABC News that White overheard Taylor telling Campbell at the dinner that he wanted to give her diamonds. Later, according to Bright, when the representatives of Taylor came to the guest house in the middle of the night they threw pebbles at the windows. They hit White's window with the pebbles and she reluctantly let them into the house. White allegedly then watched the men give about a "half-dozen" uncut gems to Campbell.
According to Bright, White remembers Campbell being disappointed with the stones, since she had not expected them to be uncut. Bright said that White claims she convinced Campbell to dispose of the stones the next day, and that she gave them to an unnamed third individual.
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Defense lawyers for Taylor argued that prosecutors were introducing evidence too late, nearly 1-1/2 years after they closed their case. Judges said Wednesday that they will give prosecutors the opportunity to reopen their case and call Campbell, Farrow, and White since they only learned of the incident a year ago and it was relevant to the case.
The judges' order did not say when Campbell, along with actress Mia Farrow and Cambpell's former agent Carole White, will be called.
Hollis and her team say Taylor used uncut "blood diamonds" to buy weapons and fuel a bloody insurgency in Sierra Leone that cost thousands of lives. They allege Taylor was in South Africa at the time to buy guns with diamonds.
During an interview in February at New York's Fashion Week, Campbell slapped an ABC producer's camera aside when asked about the diamonds and denied receiving any diamond from Taylor.
Taylor has told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that he never gave Campbell any diamonds, calling the notion "nonsense." When asked in May if Taylor wants Campbell to testify, Taylor's lawyer Terry Munyard told ABC News, "No. We want relevant evidence only. This evidence is wholly irrelevant to the charges against him."
"The whole application [for a subpoena] is misconceived as a matter of principle. No reasonable tribunal could possibly draw any useful inference about war crimes from this even if they were to find as a fact that our client had given a gift of a diamond to Ms. Campbell."
Taylor is being tried by the Special Court for Sierra Leone on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trial, which is being held in the Netherlands, has been underway since 2006.
Since the February interview with ABC News, Campbell has refused to answer questions about the alleged receipt of a gem, telling talk show host Oprah Winfrey during a May 3rd appearance on her show that talking about the alleged incident would put her family in danger.
"I don't want to be involved in this man's case. He has done some terrible things and I don't want to put my family in danger," Campbell told Oprah and her millions of viewers.
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Farrow told ABC News and prosecutors that Campbell had told her she planned to give the diamond to Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. The Fund told ABC News that it has no record of receiving any gems from Naomi Campbell.
White and Campbell are currently embroiled in dueling lawsuits. White was Campbell's agent at a London agency called Premiere Elite Modeling and then Premiere Modeling from 1992 to 2007. Bright is representing White in a suit against Campbell in which White alleges that Campbell owes her money for royalties earned on a perfume. Campbell's countersuit alleges that Campbell was tricked into an unfair deal for the perfume.
How the court actually enforces any orders to arrest Campbell for contempt is complicated as it has no police force. The court would have to ask national authorities to enforce the subpoena if she does not comply.