Blood diamonds are an African despot’s best friend

Poor Naomi was horribly inconvenienced by the court – those pesky conflict diamonds!
Mugabe – rumoured to have prostate cancer – but who will his successor be?

In the light of the current trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor at the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, in which bad-tempered model Naomi Campbell was so inconveniently called to give evidence, I was interested to read an article on the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe in the July/August 2010 edition of Foreign Affairs (subscription required for full text) by Robert I. Rotberg from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Program on Intrastate Conflict and President of the World Peace Founation.

 In a damning indictment on the Kimberley Process, Rotberg outlines Zimbabwe’s role in the conflict diamond trade:

“The toothless Kimberley Process, an international initiative meant to segregate “blood diamonds” from nonconflict diamonds has failed to stop stolen Zimbabwean diamonds from entering the world market.  Many of these diamonds find their way into neighbouring Mozambique, and from there they often fall into the hands of Russian dealers, who buy and sell the stones on the international market.  And in May, a Zimbabwean general began recruiting Chinese soldiers with Beijing’s approval, to help mine the diamonds.”


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