The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on the rebel movements in Sierra Leone and Angola and on the Liberian government for supporting the rebels in Sierra Leone. The sanctions include a prohibition on imports of rough diamonds from Liberia and, if they are not accompanied by a certificate of origin issued by the respective legitimate governments, from Angola and Sierra Leone.
The sanctions have failed to stop the flow of conflict diamonds into the legitimate trade or to bring the conflicts to a halt. Conflict diamonds are continuing to find a market and enter the legitimate diamond trade. There is therefore a need to complement the sanctions to reduce the role of such diamonds in fuelling conflicts.
At the initiative of African diamond producing countries in particular, producer and trading countries, industry and civil society have met in the «Kimberley Process» to design a certification scheme for the international trade in rough diamonds.
The purpose of the scheme is to prevent «conflict» diamonds from fuelling armed conflicts and discrediting the legitimate market for rough diamonds, which makes an important economic contribution, not least to certain developing countries in Africa. Such a certification scheme will make a major contribution to bringing an end to these conflicts and serve the implementation of the EU programme on conflict prevention.
The certification scheme is basically an export and import control regime. Producer countries will control the production and transport of rough diamonds from mine to point of export. Shipments of rough diamonds will be sealed in tamper-resistant containers and a Kimberley Process certificate issued for each shipment. Importing countries will inspect the seal and the certificate at the time of import. Imports of rough diamonds not accompanied by a certificate issued by a Kimberly Process participant will be prohibited, as will exports to non-participants.
The Community’s participation in the Kimberley Process certification scheme for rough diamonds is necessary and desirable for foreign and security policy reasons and economic considerations. In Antwerp and London the Community has two of the world largest rough diamond trading centres, and these centres are vulnerable to the effects of conflict diamonds on the legitimate trade. Participation in the certification scheme will protect the economic and financial interests of those centres and the Community as a whole.
List of participants
Please click to see the list of participants for the Kimberley Process certification.