History of Blood diamond
For the film, see Blood Diamond (film). For the 2006 TV documentary about the blood diamond trade, see Blood Diamonds (TV show).
Panning for diamonds in Sierra Leone.
In relation to diamond trading, blood diamond (also called a converted diamond, conflict diamond, hot diamond or a war diamond) refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity, usually in Africa.
Main articles: Angolan Civil War#Diamonds and 2000s in Angola#2007
In 1997, the United Nations (UN) placed Angola under sanctions forbidding countries from buying diamonds from them. This was the first resolution of the UN which specifically mentioned diamonds in the context of funding the war. Reports estimated that as much as 20% of total production in the 1990s were being sold for illegal purposes, and 15% were specifically conflict in nature. By 1999, the illegal diamond trade was estimated by the World Diamond Council to have been reduced to 3.06% of the world's diamond production. The World Diamond Council reported that by 2004 this percentage had fallen to approximately 1%.
Angola, formerly a colony of Portugal, gained independence on November 11, 1975. Although independent, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) fought in civil war from 1975 to 2002. UNITA sold diamonds abroad in violation of the Bicesse Accords of 1994 to finance its war with the government. The UN recognized the role that diamonds played in funding the UNITA rebels, and in 1998 banned countries from buying diamonds from Angola.
From 1988 to 2003 Liberia was engaged in a civil war. In 2000, the UN accused Liberian president Charles G. Taylor of supporting the RUF insurgency in Sierra Leone with weapons and training in exchange for diamonds. In 2001 the UN applied sanctions on the Liberian diamond trade. In August 2003 Taylor stepped down as president, and after being exiled to Nigeria, now faces trial in The Hague. On July 21, 2006 he pleaded not guilty to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Around the time of the 1998 United States embassy bombings, al-Qaeda allegedly bought gems from Liberia as some of its other financial assets were frozen.
Liberia today is at peace and is attempting to construct a legitimate diamond mining industry, and the UN has lifted sanctions and Liberia is now a member of the Kimberley process.
Côte d'Ivoire began to develop a fledgling diamond mining industry in the 1990s. A coup overthrew the government in 1999, starting a civil war. The country became a route for exporting diamonds from Liberia and war-torn Sierra Leone. Foreign investment began to withdraw from the Ivory Coast. To curtail the illegal trade, the nation stopped all diamond mining, and the UN Security Council banned all exports of diamonds from Côte d'Ivoire in December 2005.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) has suffered numerous civil wars in the 1990s, but has become a member of the Kimberley Process and now exports about 8% of the world's diamonds. One of De Beers' most celebrated and priceless diamonds, the flawless D-colour 200-carat Millennium Star was discovered in the DRC and sold to De Beers during the height of the Civil War that took place in the early to mid-nineties.
The Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) faced UN sanctions in 2004 because despite having no official diamond mining industry, the country was exporting large quantities of diamonds, the origin of which it could not detail.
Although Zimbabwean diamonds are still not considered blood diamonds under the Kimberley Process, the current chaotic production at Marange and smuggling are being monitored by the World Diamond Council. 
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
Main article: Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
Although the United Nations first identified the conflict diamond issue in 1998 as a source of funding for war, it was the diamond industry that took steps to address the conflict diamond issue by convening a meeting to plan a process by which diamond origin could be certified. In May 2000, diamond producing countries of southern Africa met in Kimberley, South Africa to plan a method by which the trade in conflict diamonds could be halted, and buyers of diamonds could be assured that their diamonds have not contributed to violence.
On July 19, 2000, the World Diamond Congress adopted at Antwerp a resolution to strengthen the diamond industry's ability to block sales of conflict diamonds. The resolution called for an international certification system on the export and import of diamonds, legislation in all countries to accept only officially sealed packages of diamonds, for countries to impose criminal charges on anyone trafficking in conflict diamonds, and instituted a ban on any individual found trading in conflict diamonds from the diamond bourses of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.
On January 17 - 18 of 2001, diamond industry figures convened and formed the new organization, the World Diamond Council. This new body set out to draft a new process, whereby all diamond rough could be certified as coming from a non-conflict source.
The KPCS was given approval by the UN on March 13, 2002, and in November, after two years of negotiation between governments, diamond producers, and Non-Government organizations, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was created.
Monitoring the Kimberley Process
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The biggest weakness of the Kimberley Process is how it is monitored. Any country can become a member of the Kimberley Process by sending a letter to the organization's president, currently, the European Commission. Whether or not the country meets the standards of the Kimberley Process, it can still become a member. This means that many conflict diamonds are still getting past the Kimberly Certification Scheme because some countries don't meet the requirements of the Kimberley Process. However, as of 2007, it is estimated that its share in total trade of rough diamond has come down to only USD 10.2 million.
The Kimberley system increases governments' transparency by forcing them to keep records of the diamonds they are exporting and importing and how much they are worth. This shows the governments their finances so that they can be held accountable for how much they are spending for the benefit of the country's population.
On January 18, 2001, president Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13194 which prohibited the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone into the United States in accordance with the UN resolutions. President Bush on May 22, 2001 issued Executive Order 13213 which banned rough diamond importation from Liberia into the United States. Liberia had been recognized by the United Nations as acting as a pipeline for conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone.
United States enacted the Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) on April 25, 2003, and implemented on July 29, 2003 by Executive Order 13312. The CDTA installed the legislation to implement the KPCS in law in the United States. The implementation of this legislation was key to the success of the KPCS, as the United States is the largest consumer of diamonds. The CDTA states: 'As the consumer of a majority of the world’s supply of diamonds, the United States has an obligation to help sever the link between diamonds and conflict and press for implementation of an effective solution.
During the 1990s diamond rich areas were discovered in Northern Canada. Canada is one of the key players in the diamond industry. Canada has been involved in many activities that have been helping to mitigate the poverty and suffering in Africa even before diamonds were discovered in Canada. Partnership Africa Canada was created in 1986 to help with the crisis in Africa. This organization is also part of the Diamond Development Initiative. The Diamond Development Initiative helps improve and regulate the legal diamond industry.
The Kimberley Process was initiated in May 2000 by South Africa. Canada was a major supporter of passing this. Canada has passed several laws that help stop the trade of conflict diamonds. The laws deal with the export and import of rough diamonds, and also how they are transferred. In December 2002 the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act was passed by the Canadian government. This act acts as a system that helps control the importing, exporting and transporting of rough diamonds through Canada. The Export and Import of Rough Diamonds also states that the Kimberley Process is the minimum requirement of certifying rough diamonds and a certificate is also required for all shipments of diamonds. This certificate is called the Canadian Certificate, it gives permission for an officer to seize any shipment of diamonds that don't meet the requirements of the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act.
The Government of the Northwest Territories of Canada (GNWT) also has a unique certification program. They offer a Government certificate on all diamonds that are mined, cut, and polished, in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Each diamond is also laser inscribed and recorded in a database. To obtain this certificate one must cut and polish the diamond in the NWT.
A conflict-free diamond is a diamond whose profits are not used to fund wars and which is produced and mined under ethical conditions. Only diamonds that are certified and can be traced from the mine to the consumer are conflict-free diamonds. Conflict diamonds are still being sold today into the international diamond market as clean diamonds.
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