Zimbabwe's military generals, who increasingly control the country and its economy, stand to benefit from the decision to end sanctions against the country's diamond exports.
Last month Mathieu Yamba Lapfa Lambang, the chairman of the Kimberly Process (KP), the body tasked with preventing the trade of conflict diamonds, said Zimbabwe could go ahead and export stones. The decision met with strong objections from the US, Canada and EU, all of which are members of the KP.
The diamonds are mostly from the Marange field, from which the Zimbabwean military violently evicted thousands of prospectors in 2008.
Eyewitnesses at the time spoke of helicopter gunships firing down on fleeing miners, leaving scores of bodies scattered on the ground.
The announcement made by Mr Lambang, a Congolese national, is at odds with the KP's usual procedure of decision by consensus, and has outraged human rights groups.
"Miners, retailers, and consumers have relied on the Kimberley Process to stop blood diamonds from being sold, but with chairman Yamba's decision, the KP has betrayed their trust," said Arvind Ganesan, the business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.
"Governments and companies should ignore his decision unless they want to make blood diamonds available to consumers and ruin the credibility of the Kimberly Process as well."
The KP restrictions on Zimbabwean diamonds have always fitted uncomfortably with its original mandate, which was aimed non-statutory rebel groups, not sovereign governments, from using mining operations to finance their activities.
But the heavy-handed military and the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe, the president, resulted in Zimbabwe becoming one of the KP's blacklisted states.
The military's control over the vast Marange fields — the source of a quarter of the world's diamonds — is firmly under the control of a clique consisting of military and police leaders.
The military's involvement in diamond dealing began under the leadership of the late General Vitalis Musungwa Gava Zvinavashe, the former head of the country's military who died in 2009.
In 1998 Zimbabwe plunged into the Congolese civil war, in spite of having little strategic interest in doing so.
The lure of the conflict was primarily money - the late Congo dictator Laurent Kabila, who died in 2001, had promised Mr Mugabe access to diamond fields if he helped him suppress rebellion and an invasion by his eastern neighbours.
During the course of the conflict Zimbabwe deployed some 11,000 troops at a cost of millions of dollars a month.
This conflict, which cost Zimbabwe some 500 casualties, also made its senior military officers and politicians very rich. Zimbabwean troops were stationed around the Kisai diamond field, and mining concessions were given to companies controlled by the military.
Human rights groups reported Zimbabwean military aircraft landing on jungle airstrips, depositing troops and equipment. They departed with boxes of rough diamonds.
It was partly as a result of the pillage in the Congo that the Kimberly Process was born in 2003. The KP was intended to block trade in "conflict diamonds" that originated in war-torn countries and were used to finance rebel groups.
But Zimbabwe's generals had developed a taste for gemstones. When the wealth of the Marange field, discovered in 2006 became clear, they moved in. At the top of the list of those who allegedly earned many millions from diamond sales are Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean defence minster, and Solomon Mujuru, the former head of the Zimbabwe armed forces and the husband of the vice-president Joyce Mujuru.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the government in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, now has a stockpile of diamonds worth US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn), almost a full years' GDP for the cash-strapped country.
As a result, Zimbabwe has lobbied hard to be allowed it sell its stash on the open market. But the blood-letting at its diamond fields has worked against it.
So has the recent disclosure by Tendai Biti, its finance minister and a backer of Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister - that $30 million made from the sale of Marange diamonds in the months before the ban, is missing.
While the KP decision will undoubtedly make it easier for Zimbabwe to sell diamonds, the country's leadership has made it clear it will go ahead with sales regardless of legal restrictions.
"Sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe will sell its diamonds," Mr Mugabe said recently.
For those who know where to go, freelance diamond dealers can be found, usually sitting in booths at discrete nightspots in Harare's swanky suburb of Borrowdale Brook.
"In a country filled with corrupt schemes, the diamond business in Zimbabwe is one of the dirtiest," according to a classified document dated in November 2008 from the US embassy in the country, released last year on WikiLeaks.
With the Kimberly Process appearing in disarray, this is not likely to change soon, and Zimbabwe's military will grow richer.