Saturday, April 19, 2008

In Geneva, Red Cross Legal Adviser Affirms Place for PSCs

Cordula Droege, legal adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, recently gave some comments about the role of private security contractors (PSCs) on the international scene. Her remarks, posted on the ICRC website, underlined the legitimacy of this business sector and the legal framework in which it operates.

Journalists and even experts often claim that there is a gap in the law when it comes to PSCs, she said. For the ICRC, on the other hand, it is clear that in situations of armed conflict there is a body of law that applies, namely IHL [international humanitarian law], which regulates both the activities of PSC staff and the responsibilities of the States that hire them. The law also places obligations on the governments of countries where these companies are registered or incorporated, and where they operate. In case of breaches of IHL, the legal responsibility of PSC staff and of the States that hire them is quite clear.

She pointed out that these laws exist to protect the contractors themselves as well as those around them.

We shouldn’t forget that the law is also there to protect the personnel of these companies, under certain conditions. The protection they are entitled to will vary, according to the type of activity they are carrying out.

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