Breakfast Briefing with Sorcha MacLeod

Ensuring Effective Respect for Human Rights by Private Military and Security Companies

Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) have a bad reputation, with well-known allegations of human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other conflict zones. The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, created to deal with the these problems, merges public and private governance by using auditing to measure human rights compliance by PMSCs. Nationally, States responded via public and private legislative and policy options to regulate PMSCs operating in conflict zones including licensing, authorisation and contracts. However, there is a major problem with these regulatory regimes. The international market for security is expanding due to increased privatisation and outsourcing of public functions and services. PMSCs are now offering international security services that are: (a) often in non-conflict zones; and (b) in areas that have been traditionally within the sole domain of the State e.g. prisons, immigration detention centres.  Thus the current regulatory regime does not fit current needs.

In this presentation Dr Sorcha MacLeod will outline and further explain some of the limitations of the existing international regulatory regime for PMSCs and assess the extent to which it can effectively ensure respect for human rights by PMSCs.

About the speaker:

Dr Sorcha MacLeod is an international expert on business, human rights and security and a Marie Curie Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. She is also a Guest Lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance having previously been at the School of Law at the University of Sheffield in the UK and a Visiting Professor at Free University Berlin. She holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow, as well as an LLM in International Natural Resources Law and an LLB (Hons) in Scots Law from the University of Dundee. She has a particular research interest in the private military and security industry and she has published widely on this topic. In July 2018 she was appointed as an independent human rights expert to the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries and is also an invited expert to the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on private military and security companies. She participated in the development of the Montreux Document on private military and security companies and in the drafting of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers and the PMSC management standards PSC1 and ISO18788.

For participation in this event, please use this registration form no later than 1 November 2019.

See list of all International Law Breakfast Briefings - Fall 2019.