She’s a Diamond

diamond in the rough

Image by Justin Bugsy Sailor (flickr)

I’m dumbfounded by the blithe obliviousness of Naomi Campbell, opining at how inconvenient it is to her to have to give evidence to a tedious war crimes tribunal, as if it is something of no significance. Inconvenient, Naomi? Echoes of Tony Hayward wanting his life back anyone? It’s quite shocking to hear someone express herself in quite this way where she plainly has relevant evidence to give, which could assist the tribunal in deciding charges of rape, murder, enslavement and child soldiering. Almost as astonishing is the apparent ease with which Naomi says she discarded or disposed of a gift of several diamonds, without much question or concern (diamonds that until today she is reported as having denied receiving). Although perhaps knowledge of the latter makes the former somewhat less astonishing.


But is there another viewpoint? Naomi says she was a reluctant witness due to fears for her safety and that of her family. What if she is genuinely fearful? It would explain much about her reaction to the situation thus far, and indeed even the tone of her testimony today. In Naomi Campbell’s solipsistic world, it may just be a genuinely held fear that Charles Taylor’s cronies will come and duff her up or seek retribution against her family: genuinely held even if not genuinely likely. Although it must be said that it’s not a fear that Mia Farrow or anyone else has let stand in the way of obvious public duty. And no doubt the high security apparently rustled up for her today will have done nothing to dampen Ms Campbell’s sense of her own centrality.


Then again, perhaps its just egocentric whining and publicity seeking? Siobhan Butterworth comments here, and I’m inclined to agree with the thrust of her piece, noting as she does that of course we have not heard all the legal arguments for privacy but that it is strange to be granted requests for privacy entering and leaving the court whilst her testimony is streamed live to the world.

Torture Inquiry Conflict of Interest Complaint

I think I’m missing something. I’ve read a couple of pieces online and in the papers about the complaint by Reprieve that Sir Peter Gibson should recuse himself from the torture inquiry on the basis that his former involvement in the oversight of the intelligence services as Intelligence Services Commissioner puts him in a conflicted position. And I’ve read extracts of the Treasury Solicitor’s response that are set out in today’s Guardian. It seems clear enough to me – there’s an appearance of bias. Perhaps it would be clearer if I read the whole letter (I can’t find it reproduced anywhere on the web) but I’m struggling to understand the merit in the government pointing out the lack of a legal duty to satisfy tests of impartiality and independence (although I suspect in fairness they were doing this in response to specific questions posed in Reprieve’s letter). Regardless of what prompted that assertion, it rather begs the question: if the inquiry is neither impartial nor independent what exactly is its purpose?