Obligations of States to Prosecute Employees of Private Military and Security Companies for Serious Human Rights Violations
Title: Obligations of States to Prosecute Employees of Private Military and Security Companies for Serious Human Rights Violations
Author: BAKKER, Christine
Series/Number: EUI AEL; 2009/01; PRIV-WAR Project
Both in conflict and post-conflict situations, states increasingly rely on private military and security companies (PMSCs) to perform tasks which used to be carried out by their Military. Practice shows that employees of such private companies may become involved in incidents amounting to serious violations of human rights, such as the right to life and the freedom from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. This paper examines the positive obligations of States to investigate serious human rights violations and to prosecute those responsible for such violations, deriving from international and regional human rights instruments, as well as their interpretation by the respective courts and monitoring bodies. It then considers how these obligations may apply to states who contract PMSCs; to States on whose territory these companies operate; and to the States where they are registered. It concludes that despite the absence of judicial practice specifically addressing PMSCs, the human rights bodies increasingly accept that the positive obligations of states to investigate and prosecute serious human rights violations also apply when States have effective control over the territory of another State; but also when they exercise a lesser degree of authority or control in a third State. It argues that a proportional relationship should be recognised between the extent of such authority or control exercised in a foreign State- including through the use of PMSCS-, and the degree to which the positive human rights obligations pertain to that State.
Subject: Law; Security; Accountability; Human Rights; Regulation; Civil-military Relations
Grant number: FP7/217405
Type of Access: openAccess