Addressing the use of private security and military companies at the international level


This paper discusses the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs) and provides a commentary on the current United Nations Draft International Convention on the Regulation, Oversight and Monitoring of Military and Security Companies of 13 July 2009 (Draft International Convention), which seeks to address the challenges posed by PMSCs. It provides a perspective on the definitional challenges of PMSCs and examines some PMSC activities in past African conflicts. The paper also unpacks the use of PMSCs in combat zones and in the context of the envisaged Africa Command (Africom) and the implications thereof. It considers the generally unregulated recruitment of Africans by PMSCs and the risks associated with the absence of regulations for the exportation of military and security expertise. The paper also considers the Swiss Initiative, which culminated in the adoption of the Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to the Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict on 17 September 2008 and the development of the International PMSC Code of Conduct. In commenting on the Draft International Convention the paper provides a general overview, purpose, scope of application and the international oversight and monitoring it envisages.

About the author

Sabelo Gumedze is a Senior Researcher within the Security Sector Governance Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria Office. He currently manages the ISS Research Project on The Involvement of the Private Security Sector in African Conflicts, Peacekeeping Missions and Humanitarian Assistance Operations. His professional background is university teaching, research in international human rights law and privatisation of security. He is an admitted attorney of the High Court of Swaziland. He holds a Licentiate in Political Science from Åbo Akademi University (Finland), a Master of Laws in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), as well as a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Swaziland (Swaziland).

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