Diamond Industry Steps Up Protests Against Dicaprio Flick
The diamond industry is expressing increasing concern that the upcoming movie The Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, will make it appear as if "conflict diamonds," whose sales have been used by African dictators to fund military campaigns against insurgents, remain a significant factor in the diamond trade. Speaking to Reuters at the World Diamond Congress in Tel Aviv, Shmuel Schnitzer, outgoing president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, maintained that the conflict diamond problem was "practically over." He said that producing a film that will lead the public to believe that the situation remains at it was six years ago "is an injustice to our industry which has done so much." He noted that in particular the industry instituted a system of certification for rough diamonds in 2000 called the Kimberley Process and that it has begun negotiations with Warner Bros. aimed at calling attention to the system in the movie. Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of the World Diamond Council, told Reuters: "They are hearing us and getting documentation and evidence. ... When all is said and done, they want to be fair."