S.African court postpones Campbell's diamond 'gift' trial

13th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A South African court Monday postponed the trial of a former Nelson Mandela charity official who held diamonds at the centre of the war crimes trial of ex-Liberian president Charles Taylor.

Jeremy Ractliffe, a former trustee of Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, is charged with contravention of Diamonds Act for the possession of rough diamonds which he said he received from supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The postponement was due to power failure in the court, magistrate Renier Boshoff said, adding the trial will now open on Wednesday, Sapa news agency reported.

"Looks like we are in the dark here," he said before postponing proceedings.

Ractliffe handed over the diamonds to the local authorities after Campbell's testimony in The Hague, where she admitted receiving a gift of "dirty-looking stones" she assumed were from Taylor in 1997.

Campbell said she handed the stones to Ractliffe.

Taylor, Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone that claimed some 120,000 lives.

© 2011 AFP

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