A US-based diamond trading network warned that it would publicly denounce and expel any of its members who dealt in diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, it emerged Monday, dpa reported
The US-based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, or RapNet as it is known, links thousands of diamond suppliers and buyers across the world.
In a statement on its website, RapNet founder Martin Rapaport said that although the Kimberley Process (KP) global diamond watchdog had authorized Zimbabwe last week to sell nearly 900,000 carats of diamonds, RapNet still viewed Zimbabwe's gems as tainted.
"RapNet members that knowingly offer Marange (the region where the alluvial diamonds are found) diamonds for sale on RapNet will be expelled from RapNet and their names will be publicly communicated," he warned.
On Thursday, the Harare government auctioned off 893,000 carats of rough diamonds from the Chiadzwa fields, where the army is accused of gross human rights violations against illegal miners and villagers since 2008.
The auction, which the government said boosted government coffers by around 71 million dollars, was attended by buyers from the United States, Lebanon, India, Israel and Russia.
Last year the KP ordered Zimbabwe to suspend its diamond exports while it investigated conditions in Chiadzwa. After several visits to the area, and a partial withdrawal of the army, the KP cleared the cash-strapped Harare government to export gems that had been mined under KP supervision.
Rapaport, however, noted that the KP green light did not automatically put Zimbabwe's diamonds in the clear.
The KP was set up to clamp down on trade in "blood diamonds" - diamonds used to fund conflicts. Zimbabwe has always rejected that label on the basis that there is no war in the country.
"The Kimberley Process (KP) does not have a mandate to deny its certification for diamonds involved in human rights violations and therefore there is no assurance that diamonds with KP certification are free of human rights violations," Rapaport noted.
"We strongly urge members to contact their suppliers and obtain written assurances that they are not being supplied Marange diamonds," the statement added.