Regulating the Privatisation of 'War'

The Role of the EU in Assuring Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights 

Financed by the EU under the Seventh Framework Programme, this three-year research project was launched in January 2008. Under the supervision of Scientific Director, Prof. Francesco Francioni, the EUI coordinates the project through the Academy of European Law in cooperation with LUISS 'Guido Carli' (Rome) and the project partners: the University of Sheffield, School of Law; Riga Graduate School of Law; Utrecht University, School of Law; Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), Centre Thucydide; and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen.

For full details of this project, please refer to the website: priv-war.eu/

The goal of the project is to assess the impact of the extensive use of private military companies and security companies (PMCs/PSCs) in situations of armed conflict and to examine the regulatory framework at national, European and international levels, in order to assure compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights.

In recent years, the 'privatisation of war' has attracted growing attention, especially since the alleged human rights abuses by employees of PMCs/PSCs in Iraq.

The potential engagement of PMCs/PSCs in combat has been criticised as has question of the legality of mercenaries. In addition, the issue of accountability of corporations and their employees is increasingly raised. 

The project promotes a better understanding of the phenomenon of the privatisation of war; to clarify the status of PMC/PSC employees under international humanitarian law; to foster knowledge on the impact of private military activities on the enjoyment of human rights; to analyse international responsibility and accountability of corporations; to examine the existing regulation at national and EU levels, and to explore ways in which the EU could regulate PMCs/PSCs.

To this end, research is being undertaken on a wide range of questions; workshops are held and various publications are foreseen. The project also envisages engaging in a dialogue with stakeholders, including policymakers at the national and EU levels, human rights practitioners and organizations and the private sector.

Page last updated on 09 September 2009