pp 1-31 | Cite as

All that Glitters: Conflict Diamonds, Dirty Gold and the WTO Legal Framework on Trade and Human Rights

  • Krista Nadakavukaren ScheferEmail author
Part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law book series


This chapter assesses schemes regulating gold, diamonds and minerals stemming from zones of conflict and reviews the compatibility of these regulatory frameworks with the global trading system epitomized by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In particular, the chapter considers whether the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme could—and should—serve as a model for deeper integration of human rights considerations into the WTO system. After reviewing how conflict minerals became a concept and gained the international community’s attention, the chapter sets out the framework of the Kimberley Process Certification System as an early response to the conflict minerals problem. The chapter analyses the principles of WTO law that make regulation of supply chains legally problematic for WTO Members. Turning to gold, the chapter describes the processes underway to eliminate “dirty” gold from the legitimate international supply chains. To conclude, the chapter discusses the likelihood of a “Kimberley Process for gold” and suggests that the international community may be moving beyond worrying about WTO rules when trying to address how most effectively to resolve human rights violations in supply chains.


  1. Bartels L (2002) Article XX of GATT and the problem of extraterritorial jurisdiction: the case of trade measures for the protection of human rights. J World Trade 36(2):353–403Google Scholar
  2. Bernstein P (2012) The power of gold: the history of an obsession. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  3. Burnley C (2011) Natural resources conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: a question of governance. Sustain Dev Law Pol 12:7–11 and 52–53Google Scholar
  4. Collier P, Hoeffler A (2004) Greed and grievance in civil war. Oxf Econ Pap 56:563–595. Scholar
  5. de Mestral A (2014) The extraterritorial extension of laws: how much has changed? Arizona J Int Comp Law 31:43–54Google Scholar
  6. Dorman M et al (2010) Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010: law, explanation and analysis. Wolters Kluwer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Feichtner I (2009) The waiver power of the WTO: opening the WTO for political debate on the reconciliation of competing interests. Eur J Int Law 20:615–645 Scholar
  8. Hilson G (2012) Family hardship and cultural values: child labor in Malian small-scale gold mining communities. World Dev 40(8):1663–1674Google Scholar
  9. Kretschmer T (2003) De Beers and beyond: the history of the international diamond cartel. New York University (last accessed 25 January 2018)Google Scholar
  10. Mackinnon C (1987a) Introduction. In: Mackinnon C (ed) Feminism unmodified: discourses on life and law. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  11. Mackinnon C (1987b) Not by law alone: from a debate with Phyllis Schlafly. In: Mackinnon C (ed) Feminism unmodified: discourses on life and law. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 21–31Google Scholar
  12. Mackinnon C (1987c) On exceptionality: woman as women in law. In: Mackinnon C (ed) Feminism unmodified: discourses on life and law. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 70–77Google Scholar
  13. Nadakavukaren Schefer K (2005) Stopping trade in conflict diamonds: exploring the trade and human rights interface with the WTO waiver for the Kimberley Process. In: Cottier T, Pauwelyn J, Bürgi E (eds) Human rights and trade. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 391–450Google Scholar
  14. Offor I, Walter J (2017) GATT Article XX(a) permits otherwise trade-restrictive animal welfare measures. Global Trade Customs J 12(4):158–166Google Scholar
  15. Pauwelyn J (2003) WTO compassion or superiority complex? what to make of the WTO waiver for “conflict diamonds”. Michigan J Int Law 24(4):1177–1207Google Scholar
  16. Salomons W (1995) Environmental impact of metals derived from mining activities: processes, predictions, prevention. J Geochem Explor 52:5–23Google Scholar
  17. Skeel D (2010) The new financial deal: understanding the Dodd–Frank Act and its (unintended) consequences. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  18. Wilson F (1972) Labour in the South African Gold Mines 1911–1969. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Institute of Comparative LawLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations