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Corruption Chronicles

International War Tribunal A Joke

A fashion model’s flirtatious encounter with an African leader and a washed-out Hollywood actress’s recollection of diamonds delivered in the night headlined at the latest United Nations criminal court tribunal.

Created by the famously inept world body to punish political and military leaders who commit crimes against humanity, the tribunals are instead a joke and the current trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor is a case in point. Taylor, the first former African leader to be tried in an international war crimes court, is accused of arming rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in return for diamonds.

He has been charged with nearly a dozen counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed from 1996 to 2002. Taylor pleaded not guilty and a U.N.-sanctioned Special Court for Sierra Leone is trying him at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands.

So far the trial has been a laughable occasion that’s received undeserved worldwide media coverage. Testimony has centered on “dirty looking stones” that Taylor supposedly bestowed upon supermodel Naomi Campbell after the two spent the evening flirting at a 1997 dinner hosted by former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Naomi testified that a pouch of “dirty-looking pebbles” was delivered to her room in the middle of the night by two strange men. It turned out that they were uncut diamonds—dubbed “blood diamonds”—that Taylor probably traded with rebels for guns during Sierra Leone’s civil war. No stranger to precious stones, the supermodel claimed that she didn’t know the “pebbles” came from Taylor and that she had not even heard of Liberia. It’s probably not unusual that these sorts of glamour queens aren’t too well-versed on geography or world politics.

Washed-out actress Mia Farrow delivered another headline-grabbing bombshell by testifying that Campbell knew all along that Taylor sent the valuable stones after an evening of romantic overtures at Mandela’s Cape Town shindig. At breakfast the next morning, the excited model announced that the democratically elected Liberian president turned warlord had sent her a “huge diamond,” according to Farrow, who was also a guest at the Mandela dinner.

Farrow, who for years was married to child-molesting Hollywood director Woody Allen, did admit that details surrounding that breakfast 13 years ago are “fuzzy” with the exception of the “unforgettable” moment that Campbell announced she “received a diamond from Charles Taylor.”

This comical snippet, promoted as an earth-shattering revelation by the U.N., makes it difficult to take its international court and war tribunals seriously. At least one media outlet, the U.S.-government funded Voice of America, is correctly posting the war tribunal stories under “Arts and Entertainment” since, clearly, that’s what they are.


 


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