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Private Military and Security Companies in International Law

A Challenge for Non-binding Norms: The Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers

Book | 1st edition 2013 | World | Corinna Seiberth

Winner of the Ciardi Prize 2015

Many states view Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) as crucial to implement their security policy. However, reoccurring incidents of human rights violations have led the international community, private sector and civil society to acknowledge the need for more control over the use of PMSCs. Growing state support for The Montreux Document and an ever growing number of signatory companies to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) show that self-regulation through non-binding norms has shifted to the centre of this debate.

This book examines the promises and dangers of emerging non-binding PMSC regulation alongside more traditional forms of law-making such as plans for an international convention on the use of PMSCs. It offers in-depth analysis of legal and political developments that led to the proliferation of The Montreux Document and the ICoC. Identifying the state side of duties and corporate responsibility as leaving gaps and grey zones in international law, it analyses how both instruments address the responsibility to protect and the responsibility to respect. Covering the Private Security Providers' Association's Articles of Association, the most recent developments on the establishment of a PMSC oversight mechanism are included.

Finally, the book provides an original theory of how both instruments could become more effective to protect victims against PMSC human rights violations; The Montreux Document by developing into a form of customary international law, the standards of the ICoC framework by developing into more binding normative standards as a form of 'corporate custom'.

‘Corinna Seiberth contributes significantly to the growing debate and concern about the rise of corporate security and the difficulties in achieving its effective regulation.’
Nigel D. White, Professor of Public International Law, University of Nottingham

‘The author’s comprehensive approach to the sensitive issue of PMC/PSC deserves the greatest appreciation for the depth and clarity of the analysis. Dr Seiberth, in identifying the lack of a proper legal framework, does not limit her research to soft law instruments, such as the Montreux Document, but offers effective and innovative solutions in order to enhance the protection of civilians from violations of international humanitarian law’
From the Jury report of the 2015 Ciardi Prize

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Hardback
EAN / ISSN 9781780681825
Series name International and European law
Weight 730 g
Status Available
Number of pages xlvi + 296 p.
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Dec 12, 2013
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Conceptual Framework
  • Chapter 2. Private Military and Security Companies
  • Chapter 3. International Law Applicable to the Use of PMSCs
  • Chapter 4. The Montreux Document
  • Chapter 5. The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers
  • Chapter 6. The ICoC Oversight Mechanism – Benefits and Deficiencies in Light of Existing CSR Tools
  • Chapter 7. The Normative Contribution of the Montreux Document and the ICoC to the International Legal Framework on PMSCs
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index