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Monday, March 21, 2011

Empower private security companies?

Humanitarian, Justice - Security, Citizenship, Co-op & Development,Local and Regional authorities,Administrations States,Development NGOs,Non-profit organisations,International Organisation,

News The role of private security companies (PSCs) has grown exponentially over the last decade due to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Often they guard civilian contractors, diplomats and aid workers although ugly incidents involving the "Blackwater" company in Iraq raised troubling questions. The Parliament's Security and Defence Subcommittee debated the role and legal control of these companies with experts and their representatives on Wednesday 15 March.

There have been very controversial cases, due to the lack of a clear legal framework at the international level, defining the status of these companies and the way in which they carry out their duties", said Security and Defence Subcommittee Chairman Arnaud Danjean (EPP). How to guarantee effective oversight? Anne-Marie Buzatu of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) told the Hearing that International law is not directly applicable as private security contractors are non-State actors. She point out that in war zones the rule of law has often failed and it difficult to see who has jurisdiction. She went on to say that "private security is not just an American problem; 43% of companies signing the international code of conduct are from Europe, 21% from the US". She said that there was a need to raise awareness in countries: "States as contractors can include conditions and help to build an international system of oversight" she said. Franziska Brantner (Greens/EFA) noted that "43% is a lot of market" and that if the EU could enforce half of it, it would be worth doing. She stressed that there was an accountability gap for individuals - it's usually them that don't comply. "International law is not crystal clear on what constitutes a combatant", noted Natalino Ronzitti, Professor of International Law of the LUISS University, Rome. "54% of workforce deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are contractors" not mercenaries, "but how do you distinguish them? "We need EU legislation, as Security services are excluded from the directive on services". He suggested an alternative code of conduct. Clients sets the rules According to Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL), private security raises a lot of questions, such as "who contracts whom? Are they supplying weapons to war areas?" We need to make sure that rule of law and human rights are applied" she stressed. Mr

Source :  Press room - European Parliament


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