Principles and forms of international legal regulation of private military and security companies

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Principles and forms of international legal regulation of private military and security companies
// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2023. No 2 (65). P. 193-206
DOI: 10.20542/2307-1494-2023-2-193-206

Abstract. While mercenarism as a social phenomenon has evolved through the centuries, in the 20th–21st centuries it has acquired new dimensions as a result of emergence of private military and security companies (PMCs/PMSCs). The PMSCs’ participation in conflicts that expanded from the wars of the era of decolonization in Africa through conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya to special military operation in Ukraine has been quite wide and created new legal precedents. The classic 1989 International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries does not cope with the task of international legal regulation of the activities of expanded PMCs, since it was created to suppress individual mercenarism, not corporate provision of private military and security services. In recent decades, competition has developed between the mechanism of self-regulation of PMSCs (the Montreux Initiative and the Code of Conduct of Companies), on the one hand, and the draft legally binding UN Convention on regulating PMSCs, on the other hand. In this article, guiding principles of regulation of PMSCs the form the basis for the draft UN Convention are analyzed and discussed.

Keywords: mercenarism, private military companies, private security companies, Geneva Conventions, United Nations Conventions, CIS Model Law, Montreux Initiative, parliamentary control


About author

Alexander Nikitin is a chief researcher, Center for International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of the World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, and professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).


For citation:
Nikitin A. Principles and forms of international legal regulation of private military and security companies // Pathways to Peace and Security. 2023. No 2 (65). P. 193-206. https://doi.org/10.20542/2307-1494-2023-2-193-206



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2023, No. 2 (65)
  • - INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AT THE CROSSROADS
  • - CONFLICT AND SECURITY ISSUES IN AFRICA
  • - MARITIME SECURITY
  • - WEAPONS AND ARMS CONTROL
  • - PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES IN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
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