Naomi Campbell Subpoenaed in Blood Diamond Case

Supermodel and diva extraordinaire Naomi Campbell may have to learn some restraint sometime soon as she just got subpoenaed by UN war crimes prosecutors.   The  request was filed with the special court for Sierra Leone.  The subpoena is regarding a blood diamond that Campbell allegedly received from Liberian President Charles Taylor.

Naomi Campbell

Much of the hoopla began when actress Mia Farrow revealed to ABC News that Campbell told her she received a blood diamond from the deposed Liberian President in 1997.

Taylor himself has his own trial to face as he’s facing a mounting trial over his involvement in inflaming the civil war that took place in Sierra Leone.  This war in particular was the war that popularized the usage of the terms ‘blood diamonds’ and ‘conflict diamonds’.

“Ms. Campbell, as the actual recipient of the accused’s gift of a blood diamond, is clearly in a position to provide material evidence about this event.”  Prosecutors for the UN said.   “Her anticipated evidence supports the prosecution allegations that the accused use rough diamonds for personal enrichment and arms purchases for Sierra Leone.”

Farrow recounted to ABC  News that Campbell received a huge diamond while she and other guests were on a luxury South African rail service hosted by Nelson Mandela.  “She said that during the night some men knocked at her door and she, half asleep, had opened the door and it was representatives of President Charles Taylor and that they had given her a huge diamond.”  Farrow also added that Campell said “she was going to give it to Nelson Mandela’s children’s charities and I thought no more about it.”

Naomi Campbell Refuses to Talk About Conflict Diamond

Supermodel Naomi Campbell got in a heated argument with a journalist for ABC News when she was asked about a conflict diamond reportedly given to her by the deposed Liberian President Charles Taylor.  Rumors of the gift began to hit the press when Mia Farrow told a journalist that Campbell got a “blood diamond” from the former President.  Conflict diamonds (also known as “blood diamonds”) refer to diamonds mined in a war zone and sold, often secretively, in order to finance an insurgency or war effort.  Farrow claimed that Campbell told her herself about being given the conflict diamond from Taylor.

Naomi Campbell

The former President of Liberia is now facing trial for allegedly taking part in wars that ravaged West Africa and helped to spread the use of the phrase, “blood diamond”.  Obviously it would look terrible if Campbell had actually accepted a blood diamond from Taylor.

In her short (and eventually cancelled) interview with an ABC News journalist, Campbell was asked about the diamond, and said “I didn’t receive a diamond and I’m not going to speak about that.”  The interviewer pressed the topic and Campbell was clearly peeved, eventually walking off set and punching the producer’s camera as she left!

Clarity Project Pushing For Legit Diamond Certification

The Clarity Project is a fair jewelry social enterprise that pushes towards improving the quality of miners and their communties. Journalist Martin Rappaport recently wrote that there is an estimated “tens of thousands of carats of blood diamonds [that] are now in dealers’ inventories and jewelers’ showcases—and are being actively sold to consumers.”
The Clarity Project
Many journalists have noted the failure of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in which miners are granted certificates for being conflict-free diamonds. Yet thousands of blood diamonds are cut and sold to manufacturers and retailers under the guise of being certified.

The Clarity Project aims to clear these misguided certifications, hold miners accoutnable at the local level, involve stakeholders at the local level, be more community-oriented and conscious of local cultural and authority systems, and finally to devise a more legitimate certification system. Many important debates surrounding these topics occurred at last year’s Fair Trade Conference, which involved the Responsible Jewelry Council and Alliance for Responsible Mining. Either way you look at it, more legitimate diamond certification is a hot issue in the diamond industry right now.

JCK Industry Fund to Assist Fair Diamond Development

The JCK Industry Fund aims to better the diamond industry and promote quality standards that include fair trade, mining and organization of diamonds within the industry at large.  Each year the JCK Industry Fund generously grants $400,000 to programs that promote these central goals.  This year recipients of the grant included the Diamond Development Initiative, Jeweler’s of America, Women’s Jewelry Association, American Gem Society, Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee and the Jeweler’s Security Alliance.

JCK Industry Fund

The Diamond Development Initiative, in particular, was thrilled to be a recipient of the grant as they strive to create quality ‘Development Diamond Standards’, a verifiable certification system for artisanally mined diamonds.  DDS will strive to formalize the artisanal diamond mining sector.  It is also a foundation that intends to enhance the effective of the Kimberly Process, which strives to protect human rights in artisanal diamond mining programs in Africa.

The JCK Industry Fund strives to assist this and other diamond fields that require economic and development solutions.  By implementing the JCK Industry Fund, they believe that we can move closer to verifiable standards for ‘development diamonds’.

Zimbabwe Supreme Court: Stop Mining at Marange

The Zimbabwe “conflict diamonds” saga continues as the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ordered two government mining firms to cease operation at the notorious mines in the Marange region.  Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court Chief Justice declared to the state-run paper, The Herald, that two government-operated corporations “must cease all mining activities.” Human rights commissions have reported numerous “conflict diamonds” violations from the mining area.

african consolidated resources

The mining region has also been the subject of contentious ownership.  Since 2006, the British-based African Consolidated Resources (ACR) has fought for ownership over the mines with the government-supported Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Minerals Marketing Corporation.

To make matters even more contentious, the Supreme Court ordered that Zimbabwe’s central bank keep 129,400 carats of diamonds, which were seized from ACR in 2007.  No diamonds will be released until a decision is made by the Court regarding the case.

The Marange region has become a site for countless human rights violations as illegal smugglers, government forces and third parties have had vitriolic confrontations over the land since ACR’s mining rights were revoked from the Marange region in

Zimbabwe Continues to Be Associated with Conflict Diamonds

kimberley processThe Kimberly Process, an international effort to put a stop in the trade of what are known as conflict diamonds, has pushed a strong rebuke against Zimbabwe for its refusal to comply with international diamond industry standards.  Zimbabwe has been under tremendous amounts of international pressure for its direct involvement in illegal mining activities and violence against civilians as a result of diamond trade sales fueling conflict in the area.

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses has strongly recommended that its members in twenty countries refrain from the illegal diamond trades operated by the Marange deposits in Eastern Zimbabwe.  These mining deposits have been the subject of numerous violations and reports of civilian abuses by the military.

Of course, governement officials have notoriously denied state-sponsored violence reports.  The state-owned newspaper has reported the Zimbabwe government’s willingness to comply with all the Kimberly Process suggestions, before they even issued their final reports.  The Zimbabwe government’s deputy mining minister has also agreed to gradually remove its soldiers from diamond mining fields as proper security forces are set in place.  There is, however, some contention that the proper security forces will simply be unofficial military forces.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is hostile towards the tactics of Western nations and anyone who attempts to interfere with his rule, in spite of the numerous reports of human rights violations.