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Title: States' international obligations to control private military & security companies in armed conflict
Author: Tonkin, Hannah Jane
ISNI:       0000 0003 5631 9750
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Tens of thousands of contractors work for private military and security companies (PMSCs) in armed conflicts around the world, often hired by states to fulfil functions that were once the exclusive domain of the armed forces. In this context, PMSCs have performed a wide range of activities including offensive combat, prisoner interrogation, military advice and training, armed security, intelligence and logistics. The proliferation of PMSCs during the past two decades has challenged conventional conceptions of the state as the primary holder of coercive power in the international arena. Nonetheless, this Thesis argues that the traditional state-centred frameworks of international law remain vitally relevant to the regulation of private security activity in contemporary armed conflict. Three states are in a strong position to influence PMSCs in this context—the state that hires the PMSC, the state in which the company is based or incorporated, and the state in which the company operates—and this capacity for influence enables international law to regulate PMSC activities indirectly using these states as an intermediary. This Thesis critically analyses the pertinent international obligations on these three categories of states and identifies the circumstances in which PMSC misconduct may give rise to state responsibility in each case. It also examines the recent practice of certain key states in order to evaluate their compliance with these obligations. By providing a clear and in-depth analysis of states' international obligations to control PMSCs in armed conflict, this Thesis may not only facilitate the assessment of state responsibility in cases of PMSC misconduct; it may also play an important prospective role in setting standards of conduct for states in relation to the private security industry. This in turn may encourage and assist states to develop their domestic laws and policies in order to improve overall PMSC compliance with international law.
Supervisor: Akande, Dapo ; Goodwin-Gill, Guy S. Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History of War ; Public international law ; Human rights ; International studies ; military ; security ; mercenary ; privatization ; international humanitarian law ; iraq ; afghanistan ; blackwater ; state responsibility ; attribution ; jurisdiction