The research paper covers a crucial and critical problem of blood or conflict diamonds. It defines the term “conflict diamond”. Zimbabwe has been chosen for comparison to show the difference of consequences arising from mining blood diamonds in different African regions. The research grounds on a thorough analysis of different aspects, which have entailed terrible consequences in the country. There were defined effective measures to counter the issue. The consideration of the problem in the country grounds on 2-3 sources, which have undergone a deep comparison in the aspects of methods and angle of consideration. An effective international mechanism named Kimberley Process aimed at eliminating awful outcomes of blood diamonds from happening have raised a detailed discussion.

Diamond Smugglers in Africa

The issue under consideration herein is the problem of conflict or blood diamonds. The latter are precious gems used by rebel groups to fund or, speaking figuratively, to fuel civil wars and military conflicts. Such a phenomenon is widely spread and known among Sub-Saharan countries in Africa. The present issue is of a critical importance and needs deep research due to repercussions of conflict diamonds, namely governmental corruption, nepotism, negligence, underdevelopment, human rights violations (politically motivated killings, murders, forcible displacement of population, rape, abduction, beatings, mob justice, and other abuses), local military conflicts, and civil wars. Almost every African county faces such problems, however, in some of them only minor human abuses are present, while in others they have developed into real and bloody civil wars sponsored by diamond mining, illicit trading, and smuggling.

A great number of people is aware of the existing problems in African countries because of extensive and far-reaching media coverage. Such information highlights a great number of really important and appalling facts, but it is not enough to reveal inner links between the facts to get more objective and unbiased information. This research provides thorough knowledge and analysis of the current situation.

About 15 countries of Africa have suffered the above repercussions (Global Witness, 2006, p. 5-6). This research grounds on one main country, namely Zimbabwe, representing the other 14. The questions arising due to the topic are the following: What is the background of Zimbabwe`s case? How did the conflict diamond industry affect the lives of people? Did governments take any efficient measures or actions to solve the problem? What is the Kimberley process and how did it manage to settle the issue? The analysis will cover some other questions as well.

The abovementioned questions entail the following objectives of the paper, namely to receive unbiased and full information about the topic, define conflict areas, make out alternative methods how to resolve the issue, define the advantages and disadvantages of the Kimberley Process, and estimate its contribution, analyze the reports and articles relating to the subject in accordance with the defined objectives.

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The situation concerning blood diamonds in Zimbabwe is the most flagrant example of the problem discussed in this article. While considering the problem of conflict diamonds in general, it is desirable to focus attention on some regions, where this issue has become a real catastrophe. Global Witness (2010) has updated a report regarding the situation in Zimbabwean Marange fields full of diamonds. The report comprises three sections beginning from the background and factual circumstances and ending with findings and evidence indicating persons and groups responsible for gross human violations. Since the sections have a logical structure, it would be appropriate to follow the example and provide overview and analysis of the subject in a relevant way. The first section provides the information about the facts of “two operations “Hakodzokwi” and “You will not return” that took place in the area of Marange in 2008 (Global Witness, 2010, p. 6). The local police together with the army conducted them. The operations led to more than 200 people killed. As a result, the military took a control over the syndicates operating in the Marange region and forced people, previously working there, to mine diamonds for them. The army supported every smuggling operation mostly in Mozambique and South Africa. The report has failed to indicate the reasons why military people carried out these operations. No military operation, especially of such a great scope of actions and territory occupation could be possible without the highest authority permission and support. Hence, it is clear that political elites were the initiators of such actions. Martin and Taylor (2010) confirm the above conjecture by stating that “the government failed to buy up the diamonds because of cash constraints” when the gems were found (p. 4). The report indicates that the world community has quickly found out about such actions, and, therefore, called upon the Kimberley Process to send a mission in order to investigate the violations of human rights and the requirements and standards of the Kimberley Process (KP) agreement, which Zimbabwe has previously signed. According to Martin and Taylor (2010) the mission found “evidence of government involvement in human rights abuses, smuggling, and tax controls that compromised the entire chain of production” (p. 4). However, no measures were taken on behalf of the members regarding the KP.

The second section deals with Kimberley process itself and a failure to give the appropriate meaning to the word “conflict diamond”. Why is it important to give a proper definition of the word? The answer to the question lies within legal frameworks. The fact is that the word in the statutory documents defines the scope of jurisdiction of the KP organization. In accordance with Global Witness (2010), the participants of the latter have argued that the “KP is not a human rights organization, that is why they would rather ignore the fact that Zimbabwe granted access to the diamond regions by using force” (Global Witness, 2010, p. 9). On the other hand, Martin and Taylor (2010) noted that the definition of “conflict diamonds” is not in tune with today`s challenges, and “it erroneously assumes all governments are “legitimate” and does not recognize that such governments, in whole or part, could engage in acts of terror or criminality as egregious, as any rebel movement” (p. 24). Nevertheless, despite such a narrow definition, the above word combination reflects a broader meaning by taking into account the other provisions of statutory documents of the KP. These provisions illustrate the powers of the organization to interfere in any situation where blatant human rights violations take place and relate to diamond sphere. The participants of the KP failed to suspend the membership of the rogue country and came up with a Joint Work Plan. It is worth stating that the report has analyzed the Plan from various aspects and found all negative sides. However, it has diminished the importance of the members’ will to address the problem by a conventional way. It was the only means to settle the issue, because the voting system in the KP is similar to that of the UN Security Council (SC), when even one vote may block the decision (similar to the decision-making process in the UN SC, when one permanent member is able to block a decision,). Unfortunately, the Joint Work Plan did not reach its objectives because of the breaches on behalf of Zimbabwe authorities.

The third section is about the legal issues concerning the companies authorized by the government to mine in the diamond areas. After a detailed analysis of the existing information regarding this issue, it is necessary to say that the authorities of Zimbabwe have violated not only criminal national and international laws, but also the provisions and requirements of the national corporate and civil laws. The thing is that there were two companies Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners integrated in Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). According to Global Witness (2010), these two companies have got an exclusive right to conduct mining operations in the Marange region (Global Witness, 2010, p. 11). Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu tried to paint a pretty picture saying that all revenues from the activity of companies would be contributed to the state budget to help recover the country, but the reality was different. ZMDC charging the operations in diamonds region has claimed that over 20 years they have not paid a penny to the state budget. It raises a logical question about individuals who have benefited from this activity. Here Martin and Taylor (2010) have presented a deep research about the persons connected with the activity of the company, “both companies have 10-member boards of directors, of which the ZMDC is allocated five seats on each; ZMDC representative chairs both boards, and like all the parastal’s members, is appointed at the discretion of the Minister” (p. 5). Among chairpersons of Mbada company, one may see a former helicopter pilot of the Minister, among representatives of ZDMC there is a sister-in-law of the minister, and others. The only conclusion, which is possible to make under such circumstances, is that nepotism and corruption have existed in this system, and the only persons to benefit from mining are political and military elites.

We may use one word to demonstrate the economic and social situation in Zimbabwe. It is the resource curse. The term “resource curse” described in the beginning of the article “Diamonds in Sierra Leone, a Resource Curse?” has contributed greatly to the subject (Wilson, 2009). It sets out that countries under such curse “have immense share of diamonds, gold, oil, but the government is so unprofessional and so deep in corruption so that such a curse results in losses for the country and its people” (Wilson, 2009, p. 11). The similar situations is common for different African countries, especially in Sierra Leone.

Two sources used herein give an overall and at the same time detailed information about the current situation in Zimbabwe. It is necessary to underline that each of them has paid special attention to different aspects of the problem while providing thorough analysis. The authors of both sources have chosen different methods and strategies of analyzing the information. Consequently, they have greatly contributed to the subject at hand, reveling bloody facts about not less bloody diamonds.

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The first important result is a definition of a word combination “conflict diamond”. According to KP, conflict or blood diamonds are “rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments” (Kimberley Process, 2017). Later, the KP process itself has appeared to be an established, in accordance with the UN resolution 55/56, scheme, which prevents blood diamonds from entering the world market. The KP has worked out a certificate scheme, under which it is obligatory for diamond exporters to get a permission to transport them further, and this certification system verifies that the diamonds are conflict free. Further, there has been a discussion about the situation with diamonds in Zimbabwe, where diamond mining has led to expropriation and acquisition of a considerable share in the sphere of diamond mining.


The comparison of the situations in Zimbabwe and other African countries has entailed the following conclusions. The presence of a number of human rights violation is common for each country. However, in other respects, the cases are radically different. In Zimbabwe, it was the government that started the campaign of politically motivated killings, expropriations and acquisitions, while in other states the rebel groups committed the same crimes. The government of Zimbabwe has ignored its commitments under the Kimberley Process. Actually, the population was employed to mine diamonds, however, the salary was very low. It can be fairly presumed that the responsible persons used cheap labor to get the maximum profit. People got ridiculously low salary, while the work was very hard and strenuous. Our analysis has proved the concept of a resource curse.

Other important aspects to be discussed are negative and positive sides of the KP. As mentioned before, the KP has an ineffective voting system, which allows some states to avoid responsibility. It is a complex system striving with national challenges, while ignoring other issues such as the life of people, conditions in which they live, social and medical security, labor conditions, and environmental issues. In order to concentrate on these issues, the activists have created a Diamond Development Initiative, a program which will focus more on miner’s and their community’s issues. Another critical thing is that this process is unable to change the situation and solve the diamond-related problems, if the government itself does not have any will to cooperate in this way. That is why it was so difficult to put in action all possible measures and mechanisms to achieve the objectives.

The conducted research sheds fresh light on the situation with conflict diamonds. It influences greatly both the country’s economic and political levels and the lives of people. Anyway, the only way-out to be used here is the Kimberley Process. It has proved to be a unique mechanism for the regulation of the diamond area, which can help to fill the market only with conflict-free diamonds. At the same time, the governments have to take necessary administrative and legal actions and measures in order to reduce illegal mining and smuggling. Reforming the economic system is also necessary to attract more investors in the diamond sector and to diminish the risk of smuggling. The states should also provide fair taxation system to make it more profitable to pay taxes, than to transport diamonds unofficially. Of course, it is crucial to meet the minimum requirements of the KP process in order to convince consumers and importers about the “pureness” of diamonds. Consequently, even international organizations will support the creation of such conditions, under which miners and other people will benefit from the state diamond business.

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To avoid conflicts, international organizations of common concern should take part in various peaceful settlement mechanisms. The governments should create special schemes, which will allow people interested in the diamond sphere to participate in the discussions. The states should obtain an overall control over the resource mining in order not to allow authorities to invest such diamonds into doubtful and suspicious projects. Sanctions imposed on corrupt officials, businesspersons, and the state itself are an effective mechanism for illegal and dangerous operations with diamonds.

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