Final Conference – Private Military and Security Companies, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Law: What Role for the European Union?, Brussels 28 April 2011

Charlemagne Building, Rue de La Loi 170

Final Programme

The final conference of the PRIV-WAR research project will be held in Brussels on 28 April. PRIV-WAR is an EU-funded (FP7) project and the conference is co-organized and hosted by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, and the European External Action Service.

The conference will be introduced by Josep Borrell, President of the European University Institute (EUI), and will present the main outcomes of the research undertaken within the project Regulating the Privatization of “war”: the Role of the EU in assuring compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights (PRIV-WAR).

Since January 2008, seven universities across Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands and the UK) have participated in the project under the co-ordination of the EUI in Florence. They will also present their recommendations for EU regulatory action (Recommendations for EU Regulatory Action in the Field of Private Military and Security Companies and their Services.)

The conference will bring together academics, representatives from EU institutions, other international organizations, EU member states, NGOs, the private military and security industry itself, as well as representatives of the US government, the most important state relying on private contractors.

In the face of humanitarian crises, armed conflicts and other situations involving security threats including piracy, states, international organizations and business corporations increasingly resort to the use of private contractors to provide military and security services. In the past decade there has been increased outsourcing of such services to private military and security companies (PMSCs), raising concern about the adequacy of the existing regulation at national, European and international levels.

Human rights abuses and the lack of accountability and transparency have led States and the private security industry to launch several international regulation initiatives (Montreux Document, 2008; International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, 2010; and the Draft of a Possible Convention on PMSCs elaborated within the UN Human Rights Council). It is essential that the EU is not left at the margin of this regulatory movement and that it will be enabled to play a more active role in this field, especially in view of its role as a guarantor of human rights. The PRIV-WAR Recommendations presented at this conference suggest several options for EU regulatory measures, both of a legally binding and a non-legally binding nature.

The PRIV-WAR project has released several publications, including the book War by Contract: Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Private Contractors (F. Francioni and N. Ronzitti, eds, Oxford University Press, 2011). A second volume will be published in early 2012.