Blood Diamonds also known as Conflict Diamonds, are used in the illegal trading of diamonds sold to finance an insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity, usually in Africa where around two-thirds of the world's diamonds are extracted.The countries involved in the illegal trading of blood diamonds consist of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Angola, a colony of Portugal, gained independence on November 11, 1975. Although independent, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) fought in a civil war from 1974 to 2001. Between 1992 and 1998, in violation of the 1991 Bicesse Accords, UNITA sold diamonds, valued at US$3.72 billion,to finance its war with the government.
From 1989 to 2001, Liberia was engaged in a civil war. In 2000, the UN accused Liberian president Charles G. Taylor of supporting the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) insurgency in neighboring Sierra Leone with weapons and training in exchange for diamonds.
A coup overthrew the government in 1999, starting a civil war. The country became a route for exporting diamonds from Liberia and war-torn Sierra Leone.Foreign investment began to withdraw from the Ivory Coast. To curtail the illegal trade, the nation stopped all diamond mining and the UN Security Council banned all exports of diamonds from Côte d'Ivoire in December 2005.Despite UN sanctions, however, the illicit diamond trade still exists in Côte d'Ivoire. .
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) has suffered numerous civil wars in the 1990s, but has become a member of the Kimberley Process and now exports about 8% of the world's diamonds.One of De Beers' most celebrated and priceless diamonds, the flawless D-colour 200 carats (40 g) Millennium Star was discovered in the DRC and sold to De Beers during the height of the Civil War that took place in the early to mid-nineties.
Zimbabwean diamonds are not considered conflict diamonds by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. In the past, the chaotic production at Marange and smuggling resulted in monitoring by the World Diamond Council.
Global Witness was one of the first organizations to pick up on the link between diamonds and conflicts in Africa in its 1998 report entitled "A Rough Trade".With the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1173 in 1998, the United Nations too identified the conflict diamond issue as a funding for war. The Fowler Report in 2000 detailed in depth how UNITA was financing its war activities, and in May 2000, led directly to the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1295 and the diamond producing countries of southern Africa meeting in Kimberley, South Africa to plan a method by which the trade in conflict diamonds could be halted, and buyers of diamonds could be assured that their diamonds have not contributed to violence.
On July 19, 2000, the World Diamond Congress adopted at Antwerp a resolution to strengthen the diamond industry's ability to block sales of conflict diamonds. The resolution called for an international certification system on the export and import of diamonds, legislation in all countries to accept only officially sealed packages of diamonds, for countries to impose criminal charges on anyone trafficking in conflict diamonds, and instituted a ban on any individual found trading in conflict diamonds from the diamond bourses of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.