5/10/12 4:46 PM
The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) has convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor for aiding and abetting and planning crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of international law in 2003, in connection with some of the worst atrocities in Sierra Leone's civil war. This trial was an important step toward delivering justice and accountability for the victims in Sierra Leone, and restoring peace and stability in the country and the region.
The court's verdict is also a vivid reminder of the importance of the Kimberley Process (KP) and the numerous other international initiatives undertaken to address the terrible problems of child soldiers, corruption, and small arms trade. For the KP's part, much has been achieved since the KP launched its Certification Scheme for rough diamonds in January 2003. In the 1990s, conflict diamonds, which helped finance conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, among other countries, represented an estimated 4-15 percent of the global market. Today, that number has been reduced to less than one percent, thanks in part to the efforts undertaken by governments, industry, and civil society through the Kimberley Process to bring improved governance and transparency to the trade.
As we reflect on the progress made by the Kimberley Process to stem the trade in conflict diamonds, we must also look to the future to ensure the KP remains credible, effective and relevant. This historic moment is an opportunity both to see how far we have come and to reflect on what remains to be done.