Disarmament and International Security Committee
Private Military Contractors
Claire Michiko Verbrugge
Stemming from the end of the Cold War, the need for military troops heavily decreased. The chaotic nature of modern warfare resulted in the availability of cheap and dangerous arms which was exemplified in situations in Kosovo and Rwanda. In recent international military and humanitarian interventions, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa, the use of Private Military Companies has increased drastically. Since PMCs can offer military and security limits without prior warning on countries, a growing number of governments rely on firms to fill staff and holes inside their national military. To improve their capacity to add to international tasks, states are arranged to redistribute military center capacities recently considered ‘inherently legislative’. In spite of these improvements, PMCs can be inadequately managed (Schneiker). The killing of civilians by the Private Military and Security Company Blackwater in Baghdad in 2007 attracted tremendous amounts of media and political attention. The incident and its aftermath showed the harmful effects of the use of PMCs by governments, international organizations and private clients. Not only can PMCs pose a threat to local populations; their misconduct can also put the international operations at risk and cause major damage to their clients’ reputation (Schneiker).
Finland, only recently has developed a practice of contracting PMCs and at least two Finnish PMCs have begun to operate. Finland’s current practice in relation to PMCs has grown out of efforts to adapt to circumstances and responsibilities. These have been recently encountered in Afghanistan where hiring PMCs to provide security for governmental officials working on the ground has become a necessity (Tapio Rasila). Additionally, Finland wanted to provide security for finnish officials who worked in extreme locations outside of Finland. Although there can be consequences to PMCs, there are certain benefits when it comes to outsourcing military operation to PMCs. In 2011, Finland became a signatory of the Montreux Document which discusses parameters set for PMCs and poses more questions for the United Nations about the regulation of PMCs .
Finland suggests that there should be more transparency with Private Military Contractors. With this shift, it is becoming increasingly difficult to assign responsibility. Additionally, appropriate licensing and registration systems may be established to ensure that contracts with private actors are fulfilled in a professional manner and in accordance with international law (Schneiker). Finland hopes that an adoption of an instrument that can provide oversight, registration, and licensing could be discussed and implemented.
- Claire Michiko Verbrugge