NEW YORK,  — Introduction in the Senate of a new bill aimed at eliminating conflict diamonds is a positive step toward ridding the world of this illicit and destructive trade, industry leaders said today.

The measure would, among other things, require the president to bar the importation of rough diamonds from any country that fails to take appropriate security measures. It would also give the president discretionary authority to bar importation of polished diamonds and jewelry containing diamonds for the same reason. In a number of respects, the Senate measure is broader than one approved by the House in December.

“For two years our industry here and abroad has worked hard for enactment of effective U.S. legislation as an essential part of our campaign to protect the legitimate diamond supply chain from abuse by outlaws,” said Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council (WDC). “By introducing a new version of their bill, S. 2027Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and his colleagues have re-energized the legislative process.

“We hope that this development leads to passage of a sound bill in both houses of Congress,” said Matthew Runci, WDC executive director and president and CEO of Jewelers of America. “The United States, as the world’s largest market for diamond jewelry, has both the opportunity and the obligation to exert leadership.”

Last June, Senators Durbin, Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who all sponsored the measure introduced yesterday, sponsored a similar bill.  It was supported both by the industry and by a coalition of humanitarian organizations concerned with the conflict diamond issue.  Companion legislation was introduced in the House, where it had support from a bipartisan coalition headed by Rep. Tony Hall, D-Ohio; Frank Wolf, R-Va.; Amo Houghton, R-NY; and Charles Rangel, D-NY.  However, the Bush administration proposed significant changes, resulting in House passage of a narrower measure.    

“Everyone involved shares a common goal,” said Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and general counsel of the World Diamond Council. “There is a broad consensus that firm action is needed to create a durable monitoring system to assure suppression of the conflict diamond trade. We believe that the differences between the House and Senate measures can be reconciled and we urge the Bush administration to help bring that about.”

Conflict diamonds come from areas of Africa beset by civil strife. Rebels, outlaws and other predators have used proceeds from the illicit trade to underwrite continued combat. Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been victimized as a result. The large majority of African diamonds, however, come from stable countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. In global terms — given production in such countries as Australia, Canada and Russia — conflict diamonds represent a very small percentage of the supply.


NEW YORK –The World Diamond Council (WDC) and Jewelers of America (JA) support the non-binding resolution introduced today by U.S. Rep. Tony Hall (D-OH) and other Members of Congress calling on the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on diamonds mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo that are not certified by the government as conflict-free.

Currently, U.N. embargoes are in place on diamonds mined by Sierra Leone and Angolan rebels, and on all diamonds from Liberia. U.N. sanctions on Congolese diamonds that are not certified by its government as conflict-free would legitimize further the clean stream of diamonds from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All governments participating in the Kimberley Process negotiations are currently working to implement a system to control the international trade in rough diamonds. Participants have previously pledged to begin implementation later this year.

“We support Congressman Hall’s resolution, because it addresses a remaining leak point in the supply chain for rough diamonds. Until the provisions of the Kimberley Process agreement and its companion system of warranties have been fully implemented, sanctions on rough diamonds from the DRC that have not been certified as to their origin would serve a very useful purpose,” said Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of the WDC.

Both the WDC and JA support the Kimberley Process initiative and its companion system of warranties. WDC and JA also support the Clean Diamond Trade Act (HR 2722) passed last November by the U.S. House of Representatives, and similar legislation (S 2027) that is currently pending in the U.S. Senate. Both organizations have repeatedly urged the Bush administration to take a leadership role in the necessary effort to resolve differences between the two versions of the legislation.

“The diamond and jewelry industries have been in the forefront of efforts to eliminate the flow of conflict diamonds from the beginning,” said Matthew Runci, executive director of the WDC and president and CEO of JA. “Our goal is to keep conflict diamonds out of the United States and to assure jewelry purchasers that all the diamonds they buy truly are symbols of love and beauty.”


WDC Statement of Support for the Kimberley Process, June 3, 2002

The WDC reiterates its full support for the Kimberley Process to stop the trade in conflict diamonds and calls on all governments to implement the Kimberley Process.

The WDC believes that both the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds and the WDC proposal for Industry Self Regulation included therein are essential.

The WDC reiterates its unconditional support to the proposed Industry Self Regulation through a System of Warranties as it was presented at the Luanda meeting of the Kimberley Process in October 2001 and as adopted at the 2nd Annual WDC Meeting in Milan in March 2002.

The WDC confirms that Industry Self Regulation can only be effective when it is supported by strict border controls by governments at import and export.

The WDC is representative of the whole diamond and jewellery industry. The WDC was created as the result of a Joint Resolution of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association at their Congress in July 2000. Furthermore, through the active membership of The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) and its affiliated organizations, the WDC is also truly representative of the jewellery industry on this issue.

Partnership Africa Canada Report, June 17, 2002

le français suit

War in the Congo – Grievance or Greed? Major New Report Exposes the Blood Diamond Connection

In a report released on June 17, Partnership Africa Canada has linked the wars in Angola and the Congo, along with other conflicts in Central Africa, to the massive illicit trade in conflict diamonds. Carefully researched over the past 18 months in conjunction with the Belgian International Peace Information Service, Hard Currency: The Criminalized Diamond Economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its Neighbours adds important new findings to the debate about ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds’.

Author Christian Dietrich demonstrates that the polite definitions used by governments, the UN Security Council and the diamond industry to deal with conflict diamonds only serve to restrict debate and action on one of the most horrific conflicts of the past half century. He defines the conflict in regional terms, showing that the wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola have been inextricably linked to each other through criminal networks and a trans-border lust for wealth and power. The wars have been sustained by diamonds and have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Decades of turmoil in the Central African Republic also have their roots in the diamond trade, with the capital, Bangui, serving as a conduit for diamonds stolen from other countries.

The full report (60 pages) is available at or in print format from Partnership Africa Canada, 323 Chapel St., Ottawa, ON K1N 7Z2, Canada for $20.00. Bulk copies of the summary report (also available on-line) are available at the minimal cost to cover shipping and handling.

La guerre au Congo – Grief ou cupidité? Un nouveau rapport marquant expose la filière des diamants de guerre

Dans un rapport publié le 17 juin, Partenariat Afrique Canada établit un lien entre les guerres en Angola et au Congo, ainsi que d’autres conflits en Afrique centrale, et le vaste commerce illicite des diamants de guerre. À la suite de recherches méticuleuses réalisées au cours des 18 derniers mois de concert avec le Belgian International Peace Information Service, Monnaie forte : L’économie criminalisée des diamants dans la République démocratique du Congo et les pays voisins apporte d’importants nouveaux éléments au débat sur les diamants de guerre.

L’auteur, Christian Dietrich, montre que les définitions polies utilisées par les gouvernements, le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU et l’industrie du diamant lorsqu’il est question des diamants de guerre ne servent qu’à limiter le débat et les interventions concernant l’un des plus horribles conflits du dernier demi-siècle. Il définit le conflit en termes régionaux, indiquant que les guerres en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) et en Angola sont inextricablement liées entre elles par l’entremise de réseaux criminels et d’une soif de richesse et de pouvoir qui ne connaît aucune frontière. Les guerres ont été alimentées par les diamants et ont coûté la vie à des centaines de milliers de civils innocents. Les décennies d’ agitation qu’a connues la République centrafricaine prennent aussi racine dans le commerce des diamants, la capitale, Bangui, servant de point de transit pour les diamants volés à d’autres pays.

Le rapport integral (72 pages) est disponible à ou en format imprimé de Partenariat Afrique Canada, 323 rue Chapel, Ottawa (ON) K1N 7Z2 Canada à 20,00 $. Les copies multiples du résumé sont disponibles à bas prix pour couvrir les frais de courier.


NEW YORK (October 10) – Eli Izhakoff, Chairman and CEO of the World Diamond Council, and Matthew Runci, Executive Director, today issued the following statement:

The ministerial meeting of Kimberley Process participants to take place November 5 in Interlaken, Switzerland, is a major milestone in the campaign to eliminate the scourge of conflict diamonds.

The regulatory measures that have evolved during more than two years of Kimberley Process effort – with the active assistance of all segments of the diamond industry – are comprehensive and constructive. The World Diamond Council urges the governments involved to give final approval to these measures. Further, we urge each nation involved in the mining, trading, processing or importing of rough diamonds to adopt the domestic regulations necessary to implement these controls in an effective manner no later than January 3, 2003.

We fully accept the industry’s continuing responsibility to play an active role in assuring that the practices envisioned by the Kimberley Process have real impact over the long term. Governmental action, while critical to the program’s success, is insufficient by itself. The self-regulation required of WDC constituents is vital as well, and the industry is committed to fulfilling its obligation in step with governments. Individuals or companies that fail to observe the new rules will pay a high price for that failure.

We are also sensitive to the sentiment of some allies who contend that the Kimberley Process regimen does not go far enough. While we understand the basis for that viewpoint, we are persuaded that to attempt any changes now, on the brink of global implementation, would serve to delay implementation – perhaps indefinitely. Most of the governments involved share our view.

Now is the time to move forward. All concerned parties should be doing everything possible to make the measures already agreed upon a reality. Once in operation, their effectiveness should be evaluated. That experience will allow participants to detect – and remedy – any flaws that may exist. The World Diamond Council is also determined to advance that ongoing effort.

Joint Letter from Eli Izhakoff and Matthew A. Runci

World Diamond Council

Dear WDC Member,

This letter serves as a summary of important recent developments concerning the Kimberley Process and the continuing work of the World Diamond Council.

As you know, for the past two years, the diamond and jewelry industries through the World Diamond Council have been engaged in intensive negotiations with governments of diamond producing, processing and key market countries, along with representatives of a large coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) including faith-based, relief, and human rights groups, to devise a practical and effective method of ending the trade in rough diamonds from conflict-ridden areas in certain African countries.  Throughout this period, the industry has remained steadfast in its resolve that for both business and ethical reasons, any connection, however small, between diamonds as a symbol of love and as an instrument of terror must be eliminated.

On November 5, 2002, representatives of the governments of 52 nations, including the United States, Canada, members of the European Union, and key African producers, adopted a system of governmental controls on the import and export of rough diamonds and committed to the simultaneous launch of the system on January 1, 2003.  Known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the system mandates internal government controls, uniquely numbered and validated certificates, and tamper-resistant containers for all shipments of rough diamonds between participating nations.  Further, the system binds participating governments to accept imports from and authorize exports to only other Kimberley Process participating countries.  Moreover, the system is fully inclusive: additional countries may sign on to the system and trade in accordance with Kimberley Process procedures at any time.

Attending the Interlaken Conference from the WDC were Eli Izhakoff, Schmuel Schnitzer, Rory More O’Ferrall, Peter Meuss, Serguei Oulin, Mark Van Bockstael, Martin Rapaport, Zvi Shur, Barbara Masakala, Blackie Marole, Cecilia Gardner, and Matthew Runci.

At the same time, the diamond industry has pledged to subscribe to a system of industry self-regulation.  Developed by the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) under the auspices of the World Diamond Council (WDC), the system of warranties calls for members of these organizations to make the following affirmative statement on all invoices for the sale of rough diamonds, polished diamonds, and jewelry containing diamonds:


“The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources

not involved in funding conflict in compliance with United Nations

Resolutions.  The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict

free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the

supplier of these diamonds.”

To underpin this system of warranties, individual companies in the international diamond industry have pledged to instruct their independent auditors to verify that records of warranties are being created and maintained in the normal course of business in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.  This auditors’ verification will be subject to government validation.

Further, IDMA and WFDB have previously jointly adopted a code of conduct binding on all member firms requiring that:

  • They trade only with companies that include the bold face statement shown above;
  • They not buy diamonds from suspect or unknown sources of supply and/or originate in countries that have not implemented the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme;
  • They not buy diamonds from any sources that after a legally binding due process system have been found to have violated government regulations restricting the trade in conflict diamonds;
  • They not buy diamonds in or from any region that is subject to an advisory by a governmental authority that conflict diamonds are emanating from or available for sale in such region unless diamonds have been exported from such region in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme;
  • They not knowingly buy or sell or assist others to buy or sell conflict diamonds;
  • They insure that all company employees that buy or sell diamonds within the diamond trade are well-informed regarding trade resolutions and government regulations restricting the trade in conflict diamonds.
  • The WDC is now preparing a complete compliance guide for the trade.  It explains in detail the responsibilities of businesses engaged in the trade of rough, polished, and diamond jewelry under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Industry System of Warranties.  This guide will be available shortly to all businesses engaged in the diamond and jewelry industries and will be distributed by the WDC through trade organizations worldwide.

Please note that additional key documents from the recent Kimberley Process meeting in Interlaken are attached to this letter for your reference.  In addition, a link to the Kimberley Process website setting out the details of the Certification Scheme can be found at:


Leaders of the international diamond industry met in London on Thursday 5th December 2002 to discuss implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which was adopted by 52 nations in the Interlaken Declaration in November.

Shmuel Schnitzer, President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses; Sean Cohen, President of the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association; Charles Bornstein, President of the Belgian High Diamond Council (HRD); Eli Izhakoff, Chairman & CEO of the World Diamond Council; and Gary Ralfe, Managing Director of De Beers, called on the participating countries to implement the intergovernmental provisions of the Kimberley Process. The diamond industry reaffirmed its commitment to the Process and its plans to introduce industry self-regulation measures in tandem with the Certification Scheme.

It was recognised that there are practical and diplomatic hurdles still to be overcome by governments before full implementation by all parties can be achieved. The diamond industry urges governments to resolve any remaining difficulties without delay.

The leaders of the industry will be issuing World Diamond Council guidelines to all sectors of the industry, giving clear instructions on actions to be taken and measures necessary to ensure full industry compliance from the date of implementation of the Certification Scheme.

Also present were: Gareth Penny, Director of Sales & Marketing of the Diamond Trading Company; Peter Meeus, Director-General HRD; Mark van Bockstael, Director International Affairs HRD; and Rory More O’Ferrall, Director Public & Corporate Affairs De Beers.


At a meeting at the Diamond Dealers Club of New York on the 8th of January 2003, held under the auspices of the World Diamond Council, leaders of the United States diamond industry agreed unanimously to create the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority to act as the single issuing authority for rough diamond export certificates as required by the international Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Members of the Authority will be Judge S. Herman Klarsfeld, General Counsel to the New York Diamond Dealers Club; Cecilia L. Gardner, General Counsel to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Matthew A. Runci (Chair), President /CEO of Jewelers of America.


NEW YORK – The World Diamond Council today welcomed the UN Security Council’s endorsement of the industry’s voluntary self-regulation program to stop trade in conflict diamonds and pledged its continuing commitment to carry out the Kimberley Process.

The Security Council resolution, adopted on Jan. 28, expressed strong support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, an international agreement aimed at eradicating conflict diamonds by tracking them from their point of origin.  More than 30 governments of diamond producing and processing countries, the European Union, and representatives of industry and civil society participated in creation of the Kimberley program, which went into effect on Jan. 1.

“We in the industry are firmly committed to the Kimberley Process and to our specific role, which is to ensure that the diamonds we handle come from legitimate sources,” said Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of the World Diamond Council.  “We appreciate the Security Council’s endorsement and are fully dedicated to assuming the responsibility that conveys.

“We also urge the participating governments to act quickly to put in place the laws and regulations necessary to carry out the Kimberley Process, so action can begin immediately to end the scourge of conflict diamonds.”

The Security Council said it “strongly supports” the Kimberley scheme and the ongoing process to refine and implement it “as a valuable contribution against trafficking in conflict diamonds.”

It also specifically welcomed the “voluntary system of industry self-regulation.”  Under this key component of the program, the industry created warranties that follow consignments of diamonds throughout the journey that ultimately brings them to retail stores.  Each time diamonds change hands, the seller must attest to their legitimacy by means of a warranty.  The document’s content was agreed to by the International Diamond Manufacturers Association and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.  It says:

The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.

“We have been involved in the creation of the Kimberley agreement since the very beginning,” Izhakoff said.  “It has taken unprecedented global cooperation to bring it to fruition and we are proud to have been part of that effort.

“But we also know that the Kimberley Process is not a perfect program and that it may require refinement as implementation goes forward.  Our commitment is solid, and we will continue to work with our colleagues from around the world to ensure its success.”


As implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme moves forward, the World Diamond Council (WDC) has published The Essential Guide to Implementing the Kimberley Process, outlining steps that firms in the diamond industry must take to ensure implementation of the new system designed to eliminate the flow of conflict diamonds.  The guide was produced for the WDC on behalf of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) by the J. Walter Thompson Agency.

The guide, intended for worldwide use by anyone who trades in rough or polished diamonds, is available for immediate download from the WDC website, In addition, the guide is being distributed to members of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, and CIBJO – The International Jewellery Confederation, by those organizations.
The guide outlines the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which was adopted in November 2002 by governments of all of the world’s diamond mining, manufacturing, importing and exporting nations.  The guide also describes the diamond industry’s self-regulation through its voluntary System of Warranties, designed to strengthen the Kimberley Process agreement.
The guide contains step-by-step compliance checklists for companies throughout the diamond supply chain, to include mining companies and rough diamond buyers in source countries, rough diamond importers, exporters, manufacturers, and dealers, and polished diamond dealers, jewelry manufacturers, and diamond jewelry retailers.
In addition to the general requirements of the Kimberley Process, there are individual national laws and regulations that the guide does not address.  Companies should therefore also consult with their national trade associations for guidance on complying with various national laws and regulations.
For jewelry retailers in the United States, detailed guidance on supporting the Kimberley Process system is available on the Jewelers of America website,
To access the new WDC guide, visit, and click on “K.P. Guide.”  For those without access to the Internet, printed copies are available from the New York Diamond Dealers Club, the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, and Jewelers of America.