The Second Largest Force: Private Military Contractors & State Responsibility
University of Warwick - School of Law
April 12, 2010
University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-10
The paper is concerned with private military contractors, their expanding use and the challenges this poses to a system in which private actors – at least so far – have been considered to be acting outside of existing international accountability structures.
The paper proceeds from a brief historical overview of the use of non-state military forces to a delineation of what private military forces are (and what they are not), what distinguishes them from mercenaries (and what does not). This is followed by an analysis of how private military forces’ conduct can be attributed to the states employing them, thereby contributing to the debate over the advantages and disadvantages of their proliferating use in recent conflicts.
The article proposes a range of legal and policy rationales to reassess the arguments that are being advanced for the use of private military forces in today’s conflicts – with respect to their legal status, their political utility and their impact on democratic accountability mechanisms.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: international law, private military contractors, private military forces, PMF, PMC, mercenaries, state responsibility
Date posted: April 12, 2010 ; Last revised: June 4, 2010