Photo ban for supermodel's diamond evidence

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A UN court has granted supermodel Naomi Campbell's wish that she not be photographed arriving Thursday to testify about a diamond she allegedly got from war crimes accused Charles Taylor.

"No person shall photograph or video record Ms Campbell while entering the tribunal building, exiting from the tribunal building or while she is in the tribunal building without leave of the trial chamber or Ms Campbell," the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in The Hague, said in a ruling Tuesday.

It denied her request, however, for an order that she not be photographed in "transit to the court" in the Netherlands.

Journalists will have access to live feed from the courtroom of her testimony, the ruling said.

Campbell is set to give evidence about an uncut diamond the Liberian ex-president allegedly sent to her room after they met at a 1997 dinner hosted by South Africa's then president Nelson Mandela.

She had filed an application for special measures to safeguard her privacy and security while in the witness box.

"There are legitimate grounds of concern for Ms Campbell's security and privacy by virtue of her public persona and the extremely intense media scrutiny relating to her anticipated testimony," said the court.

Prosecutors believe the feisty model's evidence will disprove Taylor's claim that he never possessed rough diamonds.

Taylor's defence has applied for a delay of the model's testimony. A decision is pending.

Taylor has been on trial in The Hague since 2008 on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone -- accused of arming rebels in return for illegally mined diamonds.

© 2010 AFP

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