Mia Farrow to challenge Campbell 'blood diamond' testimony

This AFP file photo taken on June 17, 2008 shows Mia Farrow

THE HAGUE, Aug 9, 2010 (AFP) - US actress Mia Farrow will testify on Monday that Naomi Campbell had named Liberia's Charles Taylor as the man who sent a gift of rough diamonds to the supermodel's room in 1997, court papers say.

Farrow and Campbell's former agent, Carole White, will take the stand in the former Liberian president's war crimes trial in The Hague, challenging the model's evidence that she did not know who sent her the late-night gift.

White is due to testify first, followed by Farrow for an hour.

They will give evidence about a charity dinner hosted by South Africa's then president Nelson Mandela in September 1997, after which two men brought a parcel of diamonds to Campbell's room at a guesthouse.

White arrived at the building hosting the trial through a back entrance shortly after 0630 GMT, a court official said.

Media interest in the trial has waned considerably since last Thursday, when dozens of journalists vied for seats in the courtroom for Campbell's evidence before the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

A handful of photographers gathered outside the courtroom on Monday morning in the hopes of catching a snapshot of the two latest witnesses.

Campbell told judges last Thursday the men gave her a pouch of "dirty-looking stones", which South African police have since identified as diamonds.

But she insisted she did not know who the gift came from, though she "assumed" it was Taylor.

Farrow has told prosecutors that Campbell talked of the gift the next morning.

"She told us that she had been awakened in the night by knocking at her door, she opened the door to find two or three men ... who presented her with a large diamond which they said was from Charles Taylor," says a statement by the actress.

White, too, is expected to challenge Campbell's version, having told prosecutors that Taylor and her ex-protege were "mildly flirtatious" throughout the dinner, and that she heard him promise the model a gift of diamonds.

"It was arranged that he would send some men back with the gift," state the notes of an interview prosecutors had with White in May.

White said Campbell "seemed excited about the diamonds and she kept talking about them".

Two men arrived at the model's door that night, and White said she saw them give her "a scrubby piece of paper" containing about six "small, greyish pebbles".

When the delivery came, White "thought that Ms Campbell was disappointed because she thought she was going to get a big shiny diamond and these just looked like pebbles".

Taylor, 62, is on trial for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone civil war that claimed some 120,000 lives.

He is accused of receiving illegally mined "blood diamonds" for arming rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leone civilians, amputating their limbs and carving initials on their bodies.

Prosecutors want to prove that Taylor took rough diamonds to South Africa in 1997 "to sell... or exchange them for weapons" for Sierra Leone rebels.

Jeremy Ratcliffe, a former director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, has since confirmed that Campbell gave him the diamonds which he handed over to police last Thursday.

South African police say they may want to question the model.

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