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Home > Events > Conferences > International Conference on Privatisation of War

International Conference on Privatisation of War

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03 April 2006

Conference statement

In the past decade and a half, States have contracted out to private military and security companies (PMCs/PSCs) more and more functions that were once performed by their own security or military apparatuses. These include logistical support for military deployments, protection of premises, close protection of individuals, training of military and police forces at home and abroad, intelligence gathering and analysis, custody and interrogation of prisoners and sometimes participate in combat operations.


The conference brought together academics, experts in the field of private military and security services and industry representatives to discuss the growing involvement of the private sector in today's armed conflicts, the origins of this trend and the consequences in terms of law. The participants identified key problems as well as areas for future research. Among the issues identified for further examination are how "private security" is understood, how the industry is divided and how domestic and global portions of the industry will interact. The scarcity of empirical data, sometimes aggravated by the lack of transparency of PMCs and PSCs and the regional differences, calls for a more systematic gathering of information and  the need for sharing current research as well as possibly conducting to further studies and possibly attempting to map the industry.


The participants agreed that PMCs/PSCs are bound by and must respect international humanitarian law (IHL) in armed conflicts. Their staff must be aware of the law, and their actions, operating procedures, and rules of engagement must conform with its provisions. There must be mechanisms for holding private companies and their staff accountable for any violations,


welcomed the Swiss initiative in cooperation with the ICRC to promote IHL and human rights laws with regard to PMCs and PSCs operating in situations of armed conflict,


recognized the need for better regulation of PMCs/PSCs, at the international, regional and national levels, including the establishment of systems of registration of PMCs/PSCs and individuals working for them, as well as systems for educating, training, licensing and vetting. This regulatory framework should be complemented by self regulation and shared best practices as developed by the industry,


encouraged further research on the subject of PMCs/PSCs,


welcomed the regular networking and enhanced cooperation of academics, policy makers and humanitarian practitioners over a common agenda.




Venue: Belweder Palace, 52 Belwederska Street, Warsaw, Poland
Date: April 27-28, 2006 (Thursday-Friday) 9:00 a.m.
Conference language: English


27 April 2006, Thursday


9:00-9:30   Opening and Introduction by:

Roman Kuźniar (Director, The Polish Institute of International Affairs)
Patrick Zahnd (Head of ICRC Regional Delegation for Central Europe)


9:30–10:45 Session I – Origins
Chairperson: Roman Kuźniar

Christopher Coker (London School of Economics)
Globalization and Force of Privatisation 

Anna Leander (Copenhagen Business School,                       University of Southern Denmark)
Changes in the Nature of Warfare

General Discussion


10:45–11:00   Coffee break


11:00–12:15   Session II – Actors
Chairperson:  Melker Mabeck (ICRC Geneva)

Edyta Posel-Częścik (PISM)
Private Military, Security and Intelligence Firms on the Global Market

Richard Cornwell (Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria)
The Warlords and New Wars

General Discussion


12:15–13:15   Lunch


13:15–15:15   Session III – Legal context and challenges      to International Humanitarian Law
Chairperson – Roman Wieruszewski (PISM)

Emanuela-Chiara Gillard (ICRC Geneva)
Dilemmas of International Law (global level)

Caroline Holmqvist (SIPRI)
Security Governance? Prospects for Regulation at the International Level

Marina Caparini (The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces)
National Regulatory Approaches to Controlling the Export of Commercial Military and Security Services 

Michael Cottier (Swiss MFA)
Promotion of IHL and Human Rights with regard to PMCs and PSCs Operating in Conflict Situations – Swiss Government and ICRC Initiative

General Discussion


15:15–15:30   Coffee Break


15:30-17:00   Session IV – Implications (1)
Chairperson: Sławomir Dębski (PISM)

Margarita Mathiopoulos (EAG European Advisory Group/Berlin/Hongkong/ Washington, University of Potsdam)
PMCs and PSCs on the Global Armaments Bazaar

Diman Dimov (SEESAC)
SALW and PSCs in SE Europe

General Discussion


28 April 2006, Friday


9:00-11:00   Session V – Implications (2)
Chairperson: Patrick Zahnd

Deborah Avant (The George Washington University)
Privatizing Security and the Control of Force

Sami Makki (L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)
PMCs and Civil-Military Integration in Post-Conflict Settings

Sabrina B. Schulz (British Association of Private Security Companies)

Privatized War – Viewpoint of the Industry

Dariusz Zawadka (Group GROM Sp. z o.o.)
Privatized War – Viewpoint of the Industry

General Discussion


11:00-11:15   Coffee Break


11:15-12:00   Conclusions and Recommendations

Closing Remarks:

Roman Kuźniar (Director, The Polish Institute of International Affairs)
Patrick Zahnd (Head of ICRC Regional Delegation for Central Europe)


12:00-13:00   Lunch


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