Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Benjamin Perrin]

Published In

International Review of the Red Cross

Document Type


Publication Date



International Humanitarian Law; Human rights; Private security companies; Military companies; Armed conflict; Post-conflict reconstruction


Private security and military companies have become a ubiquitous part of modern armed conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. Their diverse clients include governments in the developed and developing world alike, non-state belligerents, international corporations, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, and private individuals. The implications of this proliferation of private security and military companies for international humanitarian law and human rights are only beginning to be appreciated, as potential violations and misconduct by their employees have come to light in Iraq and Afghanistan. The author critically examines the theoretical risks posed by private military and security company activity with respect to violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, together with the incentives that these companies have to comply with those norms. Empirical evidence is also presented to expand on this theoretical framework. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, the author draws on law, international relations theory, criminology, economics, corporate strategy and political economy, as well as psychology and sociology, to analyse the competing "risk-factors" and ‘‘compliance levers’’ that interact at each level of private military and security company activity to enhance or reduce the likelihood of a violation occurring. These findings are then applied by the author to assess emergent measures to deal with private security and military companies outside the legal sphere, including a programme of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the advent of the International Peace Operations Association.


Alternate Online Access

Locate the Document

Alternate Online Access



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.