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State Control over Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict

Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Author: Hannah Tonkin, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Date Published: July 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107613140

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  • The past two decades have witnessed the rapid proliferation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in armed conflicts around the world, with PMSCs participating in, for example, offensive combat, prisoner interrogation and the provision of advice and training. The extensive outsourcing of military and security activities has challenged conventional conceptions of the state as the primary holder of coercive power and raised concerns about the reduction in state control over the use of violence. Hannah Tonkin critically analyses the international obligations on three key states – the hiring state, the home state and the host state of a PMSC – and identifies the circumstances in which PMSC misconduct may give rise to state responsibility. This analysis will facilitate the assessment of state responsibility in cases of PMSC misconduct and set standards to guide states in developing their domestic laws and policies on private security.

    • Analyses how the state-centred normative frameworks and accountability structures of traditional international law apply to modern PMSCs in practice
    • Evaluates the recent laws and practices of certain key states (such as the USA) in order to ascertain the extent to which those states appear to be fulfilling their obligations
    • Analysis focuses on the use of PMSCs in armed conflict, but also covers PMSCs operating in non-conflict environments and other non-state actors performing military and security functions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Publications are often oriented towards other disciplines and focus more on other - also important - political, sociological, economic and ethical questions. These need to be complemented by a legal perspective, and Tonkin’s well-structured and informed approach towards US and UK state practices is especially helpful, setting her apart from other authors. Therefore, this book is a gain and an inspiration to every reader who seeks clarity on legal state obligations."
    Patricia Schneider, St Antony’s International Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107613140
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. The private security industry uncovered
    2. State obligations and state responsibility
    3. The attribution of PMSC conduct to the hiring state
    4. Obligations of the host state
    5. Obligations of the hiring state
    6. Obligations of the home state
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Hannah Tonkin, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
    Hannah Tonkin completed a masters and doctorate in international law at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, after having previously completed degrees in science and law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is now a lawyer in the Trial Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

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