The Interface of Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in the Regulation of private Military and Security Companies
Title: The Interface of Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law in the Regulation of private Military and Security Companies
Author: LENZERINI, Federico
Series/Report no.: EUI AEL; 2010/01; PRIV-WAR project
The typical functions of private military and security companies (PMSCs) are designed to operate in the context of situations of crisis, which mostly take place in the event of armed conflicts. International humanitarian law (IHL) plays therefore a particularly significant role in regulating the activities of PMSCs. In playing this role, however, IHL interacts with international human rights law (HRL) to a very strict extent. While it is commonly held that HRL and IHL represent two distinct legal regimes, their strict interrelation is evident both in light of their common purpose and of the formulation and content of most of their provisions. According to the International Court of Justice, in the event of armed conflict both HRL and IHL find application, but IHL, being specifically designed to regulate the conduct of fighting, is to be considered as lex specialis. This does not prevent, however, that the most fundamental rules of HRL apply in any case, even if the relevant situations they regulate might also be covered by other rules of international law, including IHL. IHL must therefore conform with the fundamental rules of IHR, according to the principle of complementarity. Nevertheless, this operation may be hardly translated into practice with respect to certain specific rights, particularly the fundamental right to life. This problem has been extensively addressed in the recent practice of the monitoring bodies established by regional human rights instruments, according to which basic human rights fully apply also in the event of armed conflict, and IHL remains an interpretative tool for better defining the scope of application of those rights.
Type of Access: openAccess