Naomi Campbell photo ban ordered at war crimes trial

Naomi Campbell (file picture) Media interest gave "grounds for concern" about Ms Campbell's security

Judges at The Hague have barred photographers from taking pictures of supermodel Naomi Campbell when she gives evidence at the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Ms Campbell, 40, is due to testify at the war crimes trial on Thursday.

The prosecution will ask her about allegations Mr Taylor gave her a rough "blood diamond" from Sierra Leone after a celebrity dinner in 1997.

She will also be allowed extra help from her lawyer during her testimony.

Her lawyers would be allowed to intervene in order to prevent her answering a question that might lead to her incriminating herself, the court ruled.

'Concern'

Photographers will be prevented from taking pictures as she enters and exits the court during her testimony.

Charles Taylor

  • President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003
  • Arrested in 2006 in Nigeria
  • At least 50,000 people killed and many mutilated in Sierra Leone's civil war
  • Accused of arming rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone in return for "blood diamonds"
  • Allegations include encouraging murder, rape, enslavement and cannibalism

A television feed of the court's proceedings would be broadcast as usual, it was reported.

Measures to protect witnesses' identities are usually granted at war crimes tribunals if there is a risk the witness, or their families, could be put in danger by their testimony.

In its ruling, the court said the intense media interest in the case gave "legitimate grounds for concern" for Ms Campbell's security.

Mr Taylor is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity over his role in the 10-year civil war in Sierra Leone.

The prosecution says he gave arms to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in return for diamonds from rebel-controlled mines.

Chief prosecutor Brenda Hollis on why Naomi Campbell is being called to the stand

He denies the charges and says he has never had anything to do with diamonds.

But the prosecution say that as the war continued in Sierra Leone, Ms Campbell and Mr Taylor were both guests at a reception hosted by South Africa's then-President Nelson Mandela.

After the dinner, it is alleged, two of Mr Taylor's men went to Ms Campbell's hotel room and gave her a large uncut diamond.

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