Foreign Investment and the Privatization of Coercion: A Case Study of the Forza Security Company in Peru

51 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2011 Last revised: 4 Oct 2012

See all articles by Charis Kamphuis

Charis Kamphuis

Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University

Date Written: May 1, 2011


The Spanish version of this paper can be found at

This paper explores the reorganization of security and coercive power in Peru in response to the needs of foreign owned mining companies in an environment of social protest and opposition. It begins with an analytical description of the domestic legal regime that structures security services in Peru. In this context, it undertakes a case study of Forza, one of Peru’s oldest and most powerful private security companies, recently purchased by a transnational security company. Forza’s human rights record is explored through the trajectory of three on-going human rights cases. These cases signal a deep interpenetration of the economic and political power of foreign-owned mining companies, Forza and the Peruvian justice system. The paper then analyzes the Forza case study in terms of the applicable systems of law. At the level of domestic law, the Peruvian system and the investors’ home state legal systems are considered. At the international level, three distinct normative systems are reviewed: public international human rights law, private international foreign investment law, and corporate social responsibility mechanisms. This overview provides some insight into how the “global gap” in the enforcement of domestic law and the asymmetry in the enforcement of international law function together to produce the conditions of impunity in the Forza case study. Using the case study itself as an example, this paper concludes by proposing a methodological approach to international lawyering and legal academic work in relation to social movements.

Keywords: mining, social movements, private security, police, international public law, international private law, corporate social responsibility, foreign investment, litigation, advocacy

Suggested Citation

Kamphuis, Charis, Foreign Investment and the Privatization of Coercion: A Case Study of the Forza Security Company in Peru (May 1, 2011). (2011-2012) 37 Brooklyn Journal of International Law 529-578 , Available at SSRN:

Charis Kamphuis (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University ( email )

805 TRU Way
Old Main Building Room 4743
Kamloops, British Columbia M3J 1P3


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