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Private military and security companies: legal and political ambiguities impacting the global governance of warfare in public arenas

Raymond Saner, Amaka Uchegbu and Lichia Yiu

Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 2019, vol. 41, issue 2, 63-71

Abstract: As public opinion in the West veers away from supporting national military interventions abroad, there has been a covert yet substantial proliferation in the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs). While such companies can offer cost effective and politically convenient solutions to counter international instability or to further foreign relations priorities, the trail of human rights abuses they leave in their wake suggests that the global governance of warfare has not advanced quickly enough to adequately monitor the increasing privatisation of warfare. In response, this article addresses the debate surrounding the use of PMSCs. The idea of legal and political ambiguities is crucial to this debate and is differentiated from ideas concerning absent regulatory mechanisms. The current regulatory environment of significance to the PMSC industry is ambiguous as a result of porous legal boundaries and incongruent policies due to competing political and judicial systems: national, regional, and international. Accordingly, it is essential to consider how ambiguities could be reduced and turned into legal certainty through both hard and soft law to prevent human rights abuses.

Date: 2019
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