Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Ian Smillie

First Page



The KPCS is a unique undertaking. It has all of the bells and whistles required to be an effective watchdog for an industry prone to theft, corruption, smuggling, and violence. It currently has the power of law in almost eighty national jurisdictions, and it has the blessing of the United Nations and the WTO. It is tripartite in nature, encompassing a wide range of important industry players and civil society organizations from Europe, North America, and Africa.

It is something of a tragedy, however. Its consensus decision making process has turned it into a dozy talk shop--unwilling and unable to deal with noncompliance. It could have been a model for other extractive industries beset by war. Instead, it has by and large ignored the failure of internal controls; it has sanctioned smuggling and condoned human rights abuse. It is questionable whether it could prevent another warlord from taking advantage of its weakness.