Till now Zimbabwe was the main country which has been drawing flak from across the world for the blood diamonds from its now infamous Marange diamond fields. But now, super model Naomi Campbell is in the eye of a storm for accepting blood diamonds as gift.
A former aide of Naomi Campbell has claimed the supermodel received six blood diamonds from former Libyan president Charles Taylor.
Carole White, owner of Premier Model Management, who was with Campbell on a trip to South Africa in 1997 said, It (the diamonds) came up over dinner. I heard it. Charles Taylor was there and Naomi was seated next to him and then there was the minister of defence from his country and I was seated next to him, said White. I was dealing with everything - how was she going to get them, because Taylor didn't have them in his possession? I was asked by Taylor and Naomi ...to organise letting his people, who were going to bring the diamonds from Johannesburg to Cape Town, into the guest compound where we were staying. The diamonds came that night.
Campbell has been asked to testify on July 29 in the case against Taylor. The former president is accused of fuelling a civil war in Sierra Leone.
Over the years we have become accustomed to seeing Naomi Campbell in court. In 2000 she pleaded guilty to attacking her assistant with a telephone in a hotel room. Six years later she admitted hitting her housekeeper with a jewel-encrusted mobile phone, causing an injury to the head that required several stitches. In 2008 she was arrested at London's Heathrow airport on suspicion of assaulting a police officer after one of her bags was lost. Then, earlier this year, a limousine driver filed a report with the New York City police department claiming that Campbell had slapped and punched him.
Campbell's court appearances seem to have become a regular occurrence in the calendar. But not even the most seasoned Campbell watcher could have predicted that she would one day be pursued by the courts in The Hague.
And yet last week the model was ordered to give evidence at the war crimes trial of Liberia's ex-president, Charles Taylor. The UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone issued a subpoena forcing Campbell to appear after allegations surfaced that she was given a so-called blood diamond by Taylor at a dinner party held by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997.
Campbell has consistently refused to volunteer her own testimony to the tribunal, furiously walking out of a recent television interview with ABC News when the reporter had the temerity to ask about the allegations. It seemed a strange reaction for a woman who, having turned 40 earlier this year, has tried to distance herself from a youth-obsessed modelling industry and reinvent herself as a charity campaigner.
She is a global ambassador for the White Ribbon Alliance, which aims to raise awareness of the number of women who die each year following complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. She has also campaigned on behalf of Aids charities, and raised money to tackle global poverty. In February she staged a catwalk show at London fashion week to support victims of the Haiti earthquake. So assiduously has Campbell developed her charity profile that she now counts Sarah Brown, the wife of the former prime minister, as a close friend.
Campbell was born in Streatham, south London. Her part-Chinese father was unnamed on her birth certificate and walked out when Campbell's Jamaican-born mother, Valerie, was four months pregnant. Valerie danced in a 1970s go-go troupe and was on the road for long periods - until the age of 10, Campbell was largely brought up by friends and relatives. Her way out of Streatham came about by chance. When she was 15, she was spotted in Covent Garden by a model scout and signed up for a shoot with Elle magazine, whose then editor, Sally Brampton, later recalled the gawky teenager as a bird of paradise. Within five years, Campbell had earned her supermodel stripes, appearing on countless magazine covers, posing nude for Playboy and starring in George Michael's 1990 Freedom music video alongside Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista.