The Legality of the Use of Private Military and Security Companies in un Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement Operations

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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  • 1 University of Babylon, Iraq

Outsourcing military and security services to the private sector is an emerging trend under international law. The shift to using private military and security companies (pmscs) in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan has brought attention to the role that these companies may play in fulfilling functions that are normally monopolised by States or international organisations. The reliance of the un on pmscs has increased considerably in recent years, leading to the question of the legality of their use in various un operations. This paper focuses on two main aspects of the un’s use of such companies; (i) The engagement of pmscs in peacekeeping operations, either when hired by the un directly or when hired by a State and subsequently seconded to the un; and (ii) The participation of pmscs in peace enforcement measures adopted by the un Security Council according to Chapter vii of the un Charter. This paper argues that the use of pmscs in peacekeeping operations is lawful under international law, while their use in peace enforcement operations is not.

  • 6

    Singer, supra note 3, at 92.

  • 13

    On 17 September 2008, 17 States - Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iraq, Poland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, theUnited Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States of America - finalised the so-called ‘Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict’. For more information see Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ‘The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies’ http://www.eda.admin.ch/psc (last accessed 8 May 2013).

  • 20

    Singer, supra note 15, at 532.

  • 25

    Østensen, supra note 1, at 26.

  • 29

    D. Lilly, ‘The Privatization of Peacekeeping: Prospects and Realities’, Disarmament Forum, No. 3, 2000.

  • 30

    Gantz, supra note 2.

  • 34

    Gantz, supra note 2.

  • 35

    Pattison, supra note 4, at 2.

  • 36

    Gantz, supra note 2.

  • 38

    Spearin, supra note 28.

  • 39

    Gantz, supra note 2; Bures, supra note 3, at 539; Singer, supra note 3, at 185.

  • 43

    Østensen, supra note 1; Singer, supra note 3, at 182.

  • 44

    House of Commons, supra note 2, at 19.

  • 68

    Saura, supra note 63, at 481.

  • 71

    Bures, supra note 3; K.A. O’Brien, ‘pmcs, Myths and Mercenaries: The Debate on Private Military Companies’ 145 rusi Journal 59 (2000); M. Patterson, ‘A Corporate Alternative to United Nations ad hoc Military Deployments’, 13(2) Journal of Conflict & Security Law 215 (2008).

  • 72

    Vaux, supra note 7.

  • 73

    Singer, supra note 3, at 185.

  • 74

    Singer, supra note 28; Østensen, supra note 1; Gantz, supra note 2.

  • 75

    Pingeot, supra note 2.

  • 77

    Pingeot, supra note 2, at 24.

  • 82

    White, supra note 80.

  • 85

    White, supra note 80, at 44.

  • 93

    Engström, supra note 88.

  • 101

    Engström, supra note 88, at 48.

  • 102

    White, supra note 80, at 44.

  • 111

    White, supra note 80, at 48.

  • 112

    Klabbers, supra note 84, at 66.

  • 114

    Seyersted, supra note 110, at 155.

  • 115

    White, supra note 80.

  • 117

    Seyersted, supra note 110, at 156; Akande, supra note 109, at 445.

  • 123

    White, supra note 80, at 51.

  • 126

    Rosand, supra note 124.

  • 128

    Rosand, supra note 124.

  • 135

    House of Commons, supra note 2, at 24.

  • 142

    Sitkowski, supra note 138, at 14.

  • 144

    Schmitt, supra note 18; Voyame, supra note 18; Melzer, supra note 18.

  • 148

    Melzer, supra note 18.

  • 152

    Østensen, supra note 1, at 12.

  • 162

    Kovac, supra note 5, at 323.

  • 173

    Singer, supra note 3, at 98.

  • 176

    Brownlie, supra note 133; E. Lopez-Jacoiste, ‘The un Collective Security System and its Relationship with Economic Sactions and Human Rights’, 14 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 273 (2010).

  • 187

    1977 Additional Protocol I, supra note 16.

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