See also MercenariesDirect Participation in Hostilities;

Private military security companies are private business entities that provide military and/or security services, irrespective of how they describe themselves. Military and security services include, in particular, armed guarding and protection of persons and objects, such as convoys, buildings and other places; maintenance and operation of weapons systems; prisoner detention; and advice to or training of local forces and security personnel.





Suggested readings:

BALMOND Louis, “Observations sur le document de Montreux relatif aux obligations juridiques internationales pertinentes et aux bonnes pratiques pour les Etats concernant les activités des sociétés militaires privées”, in RGDIP, T. 113, No. 1, 2009, pp. 113-124.
BOLDT Nicky, “Outsourcing War: Private Military Companies and International Humanitarian Law”, German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 47, 2005, pp. 502-544.
BOSCH Shannon, “Private Security Contractors and State Responsibility: Are States Exempt from Responsibility for Violations of Humanitarian Law Perpetrated by Private Security Contractors?”, in The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, Vol. 41, No. 3, 2008, pp. 353-382.
CAMERON Lindsey, “Private Military Companies: Their Status under International Humanitarian Law and Its Impact on their Regulation”, IRRC, Vol. 88, 2006, pp. 573-598.
CAMERON Lindsey, ‘New Standards for and by Private Military Companies?’, in PETERS A. et al., Non-State Actors as Standard Setters, Cambridge, CUP, 2009, pp. 113-145.
CHESTERMAN Simon & LEHNARDT Chia (eds), From Mercenaries to Market: the Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies, Oxford, OUP, 2007, 287 pp.
COCKAYNE James, “The Global Reorganization of Legitimate Violence: Military Entrepreneurs and the Private Face of International Humanitarian Law”, in IRRC, Vol. 88, No. 863, September 2006, pp. 459-490.
COCKAYNE James, “Regulating Private Military and Security Companies: the Content, Negotiation, Weaknesses and Promise of the Montreux Document”, in Journal of Conflict & Security Law, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2008, pp. 401-428.
COCKAYNE James & SPEERS MEARS Emily, Private military and Security Companies: a Framework for Regulation, International Peace Institute, March 2009, 16 pp.
COTTIER Michael, “Elements for Contracting and Regulating Private Security and Military Companies”, in IRRC, Vol. 88, No. 863, September 2006, pp. 637-663.
COWLING M.G., “Outsourcing and the Military: Implications for International Humanitarian Law, in South African Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 32, Year 2007, 2008, pp. 312-344.
FRANCIONI Francesco, “Private Military Contractors and International Law: Symposium”, in EJIL, Vol. 19, No. 5, 2008, pp. 961-1074.
GILLARD Emanuela-Chiara, “Business Goes to War”, IRRC, Vol. 88, No. 863, 2006, pp. 525-572.
KONTOS Alexis P., “Private” Security Guards: Privatized Force and State Responsibility under International Human Rights Law”, Non-State Actors and International Law, Vol. 4, 2004, pp. 199-238.
LIU Hin-Yan, “Leashing the Corporate Dogs of War: the Legal Implications of the Modern Private Military Company”, in Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2010, pp. 141-168.
MACDONALD Avril, “The Legal Status of Military and Security Subcontractors”, in ARNOLD Roberta & HILDBRAND Pierre-Antoine (eds), International Humanitarian Law and the 21st Century’s Conflicts: Changes and Challenges, Lausanne, Editions Inter-universitaires Suisses, 2005, pp. 215-253.
MACDONALD Avril, “Dogs of War Redux? Private Military Contractors and the New Mercenarism”, in Militair Rechtelijk Tijdschrift, Vol. 100, No. 7, 2007, pp. 210-228.
RIDLON Daniel P., “Contractors or Illegal Combatants? The Status of Armed Contractors in Iraq”, in The Air Force Law Review, Vol. 62, 2008, pp. 199-253.
SCHMITT Michael N., “War, International Law and Sovereignty: Reevaluating the Rules of the Game in a New Century: Humanitarian Law and Direct Participation in Hostilities by Private Contractors or Civilian Employees”, ChicagoJournal of International Law, Vol. 5, 2005, pp. 511-546.
SCHMITT Michael N., “Contractors on the Battlefield: the US Approach”, in Militair Rechtelijk Tijdschrift, Vol. 100, No. 7, 2007, pp. 264-281.
SOSSAI Mirko, “Status of Private Military Companies’ Personnel in the Laws of War: the Question of Direct Participation in Hostilities”, in The Italian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 18, 2008, pp. 89-115.
STEPHENS Dale & LEWIS Angeline, “The Targeting of Contractors in Armed Conflict”, in YIHL, Vol. 9, 2006, pp. 25-64.
“Symposium: Private Military Contractors and International Law” (with contributions by FRANCIONI Francesco, WHITE Nigel, MACLOED Sorcha, HOPPE Carsten, LEHNARDT Chia, RYNGAERT Cedric & CHESTERMAN Simon), EJIL vol. 19, 2008, pp. 961-1074.
TONKIN Hannah, “Common Article I: a Minimum Yardstick for Regulating Private Military and Security Companies”, in Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2009, pp. 279-299.
University Centre for International Humanitarian Law, Expert Meeting on Private Military Contractors: Status and State Responsibility for their Actions, Report, Geneva, 2005, online:
WALTHER Pernille, “The Legal Status of Private Contractors under International Humanitarian Law”, in Justitia, Vol. 31, No. 4, University of Copenhagen, 2008, pp. 1-47.