There is a short profile of Lev Leviev on New York magazine’s web site, in response to his increasing purchases of New York real estate; it mentions “a security company contracted by Leviev [for his Angolan mines] was accused this year by a local human-rights monitor of participating in practices of ‘humiliation, whipping, torture, sexual abuse, and, in some cases, assassinations.” The accusations in question seem to be here (Word doc). The person who delivered that speech also wrote an op-ed on the topic for the Washington Post last year.
Whether or not all that is true or not — and we should all give Mr. Leviev, and his security company, the benefit of the doubt — this is not the first report of human rights abuses linked to over-zealous diamond security. You can also see reputed examples of security abuses in the DRC on the “Blood on the Stone” documentary on the “Blood Diamond” DVD.
This is yet another embarassment for the industry, but it seems to me something the industry can do something about. How about developing a “code of conduct” for mining security that all the companies must sign and abide by? Obviously, security is never a pretty business, but any reputable company should be able to carry it out within limits.