Chapter critical of contract law to protect human rights published – University of Copenhagen

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20 July 2016

Chapter critical of contract law to protect human rights published

Despite contentious beginnings, the use of industry led self-regulation regimes for Private Military and Security Companies is becoming consolidated. In the process of crowding out competing forms of regulation, these regulatory regimes seek to protect human rights norms by incorporating them into contractual provisions. Heralded as a way of directly imposing human rights obligations to private actors, transcending jurisdictional limitations, and short-circuiting the lengthy processes of human rights adjudication, the dark sides of such developments have been left underexplored.

In a new chapter for The Routledge Research Companion to Security Outsourcing, edited by Joakim Berndtsson and Christopher Kinsey, Hin-Yan Liu raises a series of objections to reliance on contractual provisions for human rights protections. Broadly, these are that the privity of contracts limits the likelihood of enforcement; that the horizontality defining contractual relations circumvents existing mechanisms reliant upon hierarchies and effective control to allocate responsibility; and that the remedies available under contract law are inappropriate, and potentially insulting, responses to breaches of international humanitarian, human rights and criminal law.