PMCs and UN Peacekeeping

The main aim of this research is to explore the legal issues arising from the possible inclusion of Private Military Companies (PMC) as a military component of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping. It takes a step forward and explores the legal implications, consequences and limitations if such a policy option were to be chosen, but it does not expressly argue in favour or against such an option.

The organization of the research is the following: First, main concepts used here, namely, peacekeeping and a private military company, are clarified. Secondly, the legal framework applicable to PMC-peacekeeping is then outlined in detail: the two scenarios for PMC-inclusion are defined, the legal subjects involved are identified and the applicable substantive rules of international law are surveyed. Emphasis is placed on the rules related to UN-peacekeeping and applied in analogy at the end of each section regarding either private contractors or the two hypothetical scenarios. Next, the two scenarios are tested with rules of international responsibility for wrongful acts.

The conclusion outlines the major finding and legal limitations accompanying the possible use of PMCs in UN peacekeeping. First, one can conclude with confidence that there exists a certain detachment between the current use and status of private contractors in UN operations and the modalities which would be required for the implementation of the two hypothetical scenarios presented, namely the utilisation of PMCs as security-providing and combat forces under UN control and command. Second, both core parts of the analysis indicated that there currently exists a firmer case for the implementation of the first scenario that assumes an active role of states as providers of PMC-peacekeepers as seconded entities, similar to that of the national peacekeeping contingents. Third, the international responsibility debate is insufficient and needs to be supplemented by the individual criminal responsibility debate when exploring the option of PMC inclusion in UN peacekeeping.

The final version of this research was published in the Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, Vol.13 (2009), 307-374.


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