Ideas on the International Minimum Standard for the Privatization, Export, and Import of Armed Coercion

Abstract

This chapter argues that states should recognize the existence of such an international minimum standard, considering self-regulation (misleadingly called “co-regulation”) insufficient. This standard could be established through an international convention on the minimum requirements, which could be narrower than the possible draft convention presented by the Working Group on Mercenaries in 2010. The convention would address areas requiring codification and progressive development and would contain at least the following principles: (1) armed coercion is by nature a public power (an inherently state function) and is complemented by a general international norm limiting the privatization of part of its content; (2) the norm of general international law prescribing respect for other states’ sovereignty and rights also includes a general obligation of prevention and protection; (3) this general obligation gives rise to specific international obligations concerning the privatization of armed coercion, some of which are based on customary law, while others are still relatively unpracticed at the state level and should thus be progressively developed; and (4) the general international norm holding states accountable for wrongful acts committed by PMSCs complements the aforementioned system but is insufficient to regulate all the issues arising from the phenomenon. In summary, the convention would seek to promote respect for human rights in the processes and practices of outsourcing, contracting, exporting, and importing armed coercion by states. If there is insufficient maturity among states to adopt such a treaty, this international minimum standard could also be adopted as a General Assembly resolution.

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