Topic: Private Military Contractors
Delegate: Claire Daniels
School: Williamston High School
Over the course of the past several years, there has been an increase in the growth of private military contractors (PMCs). PMCs operate on behalf of national governments. Private military contractors have been implemented in many war prone zones such as Syria and Iraq; roughly 4,000 in Syria and 10,000 in Iraq. These personnel are primarily used for directing armed conflicts, as well as protection and aid for foreign diplomats. As a result of their increasing authority in the government and military, some tend to abuse that power in acts of torture towards prisoners: sexual assault and abuse, even killing and injuring individuals, all of which violate international law. In 2003, at a prison called Abu Ghraib in Iraq, PMC CACI International Inc. officials used these forms of torture against the prisoners. This event as well as many others brought light to the situation that there must be more regulation; thus resulting in the United Nations Mercenary Convention. This convention forbids the use of mercenaries. The treaty was finalized in 2001. Even though the treaty has been implemented, it has been greatly unsuccessful, with little regulation, and illegal activity going behind the back of the treaty.
As of recent, Sweden has been a relatively new member in implementing private security companies and private military contractors in international peace operations and missions. In 2008 Sweden placed a PSC group in Kabul to provide security and protection to the embassy. With this new expansion of authority, Swedish officials are siding with the idea of appointing PSC’s to ensure security amongst its staff abroad as well as its infrastructure. There have been disputes over how much jurisdiction a PMC should be able to hold over military and governmental organizations. There are also disagreements on what tactics to use and which are morally acceptable, which can shift the effectiveness of Swedish operations in conflict prone area. By far one of the most prominent debates is if it is considered an armed force/ military organization.
With this new application of national security, comes many disputes on whether these programs are considered a part of military or not, which can create conflicts of jurisdiction. There have been multiple surveys on how these companies and contractors should go about certain situations; all of which have been inconclusive on their opinions. One way Sweden has thought of resolving these quarrels is by regulating and reorganizing the way the PMCs are set up and have more prior education and experience to lead them. The reason for the inconclusive views is due to Sweden’s PMC and PSCs have just begun to evolve, so they don’t have a solid opinion on them. Another solution Sweden has over what a PSC/PMC can and can’t due is to have more supervision and regulation/organization over their international operations in conflicted areas.
- Claire Daniels