Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Initial Agreement Reached for Zimbabwe's Diamond Exports

As the World Diamond Council concluded its 7th Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg Thursday, an agreement that will enable two rough diamond exports from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe was reached.

In many ways a forced continuation of the KP congress held in Tel Aviv last month, the tug of war between supporters and opposers of the approval agreed that by September, Zimbabwe will be able to carry out two supervised exports of rough diamond from the Marange production.

The sides agreed that KP will conduct a review mission to Zimbabwe, held in conjunction with a visit of the KP Monitor Abbey Chikane to the country. Chikane will visit Zimbabwe again on the week of September 6 to certify the second supervised export. The Kimberley Process Monitoring Committee will review the report issued by the review mission to formulate a position regarding future exports, the WDC said in a statement.

"Although we can regard this as progress, there remains much to do," said WDC President Eli Izhakoff, adding that a great deal of good will was shown. "We need to build on this and to continue the hard work of the past several months."

Throughout the two-day gathering, intensive meetings were reportedly held to break the log-jam over the diamond exports.

Izhakoff invited the KP to hold a mini-summit in St. Petersburg alongside the Council, in an attempt to reach an agreement. As a result, a delegation from Zimbabwe, headed by Minister of Mining Obert Moses Mpofu and Attorney General Johanne Tomama, traveled to St. Petersburg for the meeting. So did a delegation from the U.S. State Department led by Susan Page, Assistant U.S. Deputy Secretary of State.

The Plenary Session brought to St. Petersburg representatives of the global diamond industry, government representatives from producing, cutting and consumer centers, member of the banking community and the media.

While the resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe remained high on the agenda, another central issue were the steps needed to reform and refine the KP, seven years after its rough diamond certification scheme was first launched.

Source: Edahn Golan

Monday, July 5, 2010


Judges at the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Sierra Leone have ordered British supermodel Naomi Campbell to give evidence later this month in the ongoing trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor about allegedly receiving a blood diamond from him.
A subpoena was issued for Campbell to appear at the end of this month in The Hague, where the ongoing trial of Mr. Taylor is taking place, reports the UN News Service.
Taylor faces 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role of fuelling the extended civil war in Sierra Leone while he served as president of neighbouring Liberia.
Three judges of the SCSL's trial chamber, in announcing the subpoena, said they were responding to a request from prosecutors for Campbell to testify, which may help tie the former warlord to using rough diamonds for personal enrichment and for arms purchases for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone.
The prosecution reportedly wants to ask Campbell about allegations that she was given rough diamonds as a gift from Taylor while both attended a private dinner at the home of the former South African president Nelson Mandela in 1997. Campbell previously declined to voluntarily testify in the trial and has consistently declined to publicly talk about the case, telling prosecutors that she was concerned for her safety, sources say.
Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges against him, which include pillage, slavery for forced marriage purposes, collective punishment and the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The charges relate to his alleged support for two rebel groups in Sierra Leone - the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front.
The Prosecution opened their case against Taylor in June 2007 but Taylor boycotted the proceedings and dismissed his legal team. The trial was adjourned until new counsel could be assigned.
The Prosecution opened witness testimony in January 2008 and formally closed their case in February 2009 after having presented testimony from 91 witnesses. The Defence opened their case in July 2009. Sources say that the Prosecution has asked the court to allow it to reopen its case to present witnesses.

Source: diamondintelligence