Zimbabwe has threatened to sue Kimberley Process Chairman Boaz Hirsch, accusing him of unilaterally barring Harare from exporting diamonds from the Marange field in the east of the country where human rights and other abuses have been alleged.
Hirsch recently issued a statement saying the Kimberley Process maintained a de facto ban on the sale of Marange diamonds in response to news that the Kimberly monitor for Zimbabwe, South African Abbey Chikane, had certified diamonds for export sale though the industry watchdog had not concluded an internal discussion on the matter.
Hirsch said Chikane’s visit to Zimbabwe was not sanctioned by the Kimberley Process.
Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has now countered that Chikane acted correctly in certifying Marange diamonds for sale under an arrangement that allowed rough stones to be auctioned in August and September, as Kimberly Process members meeting recently in Israel failed to reach agreement on future Marange diamond sales.
Mpofu said Zimbabwe will “continue to resist the politicization of the [Kimberley Process] by participants and NGO’s which are continuing with their unlawful machinations to irreparably prejudice the people of Zimbabwe.”
But Zimbabwean attorney Tinoziva Bere dismissed Mpofu’s threat to bring suit against Hirsch as reflecting his desperation to sell the controversial gems.