The Key to Kimberley: Internal Diamond Controls. Seven Case Studies
Huge efforts have been made by almost four dozen governments and their diamond industries to comply with the Kimberley process certification scheme (KPCS) for rough diamonds. Authorities have been established, certificates printed and statistics gathered. Where the movement of diamonds is concerned, most of the emphasis has so far been placed on internaitonal transfers between countries: tamper-proof containers, forgery-resistant certificates, and the compilation of data regarding shipments.
But the KP certificate is more than a physical description of what is in a parcel when it leaves one country and arrives in another. It certifies that the diamonds in each parcel are conflict-free. In order for a government to do this, it is required to “establish a system of internal controls designed to eliminate the presence of conflict diamonds from shipments of rough diamonds imported into and exported from its territory."
Beyond this simple wording, however, the KPCS has little to say on this critical issue, leaving each participating country to devise its own system of internal controls. These have been referred to in some countries as “chains of warranty”, or “chains of custody”. The World Diamond Council has issued a guide on how such chains might be handled by private sector companies, but their recommendations are voluntary, they are supplementary to the regulations of each participating country, and their writ has a limited reach, especially in diamond producing countries.
The KPCS is only as good as its ability to keep conflict diamonds out of the system. It is therefore extremely important that the certificates be more than a system of registered letters between countries. They must be guarantees that the goods contained in shipments are clean. It is essential, therefore, that producing countries maintain systems that allow them to track diamonds back from the point of export to the place where they were mined, to ensure that no additional goods have been added to the chain. Trading countries must be able to track diamonds back from the point of re-export to the point of import, in order to be confident that nothing has been added to the chain. Establishing and verifying an auditable trail is therefore the key to a uccessful certification system – the “key to Kimberley”.