The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: KPCS Experimented With Zim - Chikane

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme used Zimbabwe as an experiment and selectively crafted rules only applicable to it while making demands that were beyond its jurisdiction. Addressing delegates at the inaugural Zimbabwe Diamond Conference here yesterday, Mr Abbey Chikane, who has also served as the KPCS's special envoy to Ghana, said the KPCS was not perfect as it was founded on consensus.

"Some of the demands imposed on Zimbabwe were beyond the realm of the KPCS. I concede that the KPCS is not perfect and that it couldn't have been perfect because it is founded on compromise.

"It is for this reason that on the occasion of the launch of the KPCS, in Interlaken, Switzerland, on November 5 2002, the ministers and other heads of delegations affirmed the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme as an ongoing international process and not an event," said Mr Chikane.

He said the lessons learnt in the Zimbabwean impasse were that some developments should have been settled at plenary.

"And when plenary fails to reach consensus, a participant should not be used as a subject for experiment. In any event, if a new rule has been introduced, it has to apply to all participants, and not only to Zimbabwe," he said.

He said the certification of Zimbabwe had divided members of the Kimberly Process into three distinct groupings. The divisions, he said, were caused by the failure of some member countries to adhere to KP stipulations, processes and procedures, as well as conforming to the mandate of the KPCS as agreed to by the signatories to the institution's core document.

"Failure on the part of participants as well as observers to respect these stipulations will definitely result in the fragmentation or disintegration of the Kimberly Process into political chaos."

He said the Zimbabwe impasse had participants divided along historical-political groupings; Canada, European Commission, Israel and the United States and sometimes Australia on the one hand; Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, South Africa, and other African countries on the other; China, India and the

United Arab Emirates (UAE), and sometimes Russia, with the rest of participants caught in the middle, said Mr Chikane.

He urged members to review the effectiveness and relevance of the Kimberly Process as the scheme entered its 10th anniversary.

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