OTTAWA Under the rules of the Kimberley Process, the Republic of Congo has lost its status among legitimate international diamond traders. Stones from that country are now "conflict" or "blood" diamonds because it has been shown that their origin cannot be proved. Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are also barred from legal trade.
In June a group of experts from Canada, Israel, the World Diamond Council and the Partnership Africa Canada toured Congo to determine the origin of the 5 million carats of diamonds it exports each year. The group reported that it saw no evidence of diamond production in the country and that Congo lacked adequate documentation concerning the origins of its exported stones.
The government of Congo is denying there is any reason to remove it from the Process and demanding to be reinstated. The Kimberley group is standing firm until Congo can meet certification requirements.
The Kimberley Process is a joint initiative mandated by international treaty to certify that proceeds of diamond sales are not used to finance rebel movements or wars against legitimate governments. A list of participants and an explanation of the process is available at www.KimberleyProcess.com.