Remembering Naomi Campbell’s “Blood Diamonds”

It’s time to enjoy a “Human Rights and Things” blog retrospective.

Cast your mind back to supermodel Naomi Campbell’s brush with International Criminal Law in 2010 ,when Campbell was called as a witness before the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Lines between celebrity and human rights causes are frequently crossed, with Amal Clooney – wife of George Clooney – one of the most high profile international criminal lawyers.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone is a hybrid court set up by the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone. It has been charged with the carrying out the prosecutions of persons for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed during the longstanding Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991-2002.

Prosecutors called Campbell as part of establishing a case that Charles Taylor traded in “blood” diamonds from Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for weapons used in Sierra Leone’s conflict().

Blood diamond – or conflict diamonds – is a term used for diamonds mined in a war zone and used to fund conflicts or insurgencies. The trade was popularized in a 2006 film of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

It was alleged that Campbell was given diamonds by Charles Taylor at a function held by Nelson Mandela in 1997. At first, Campbell denied ever being given the diamonds.


Naomi Campbell



She then testified in court that two men knocked at her door and gave her “two, small, dirty looking stones” .

Campbell also said that she feared for her safety if she was implicated in the court case.

On the 26th of April 2012, Charles Taylor was convicted on all 11 counts of war crimes, becoming the first African Head of State to be indicted for such crimes.

Campbell continues to model for top fashion houses at the same time as being an active campaigner for social justice and equality.

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