Growing concerns that PMSCs were operating in a legal vacuum led to increasing calls for further clarification on the role of such entities in conflict zones and to mounting pressure to develop a regulative framework under international law. In September 2008, 17 States endorsed the Montreux Document, an initiative sponsored by the Swiss government and the ICRC. The Montreux Document is a non-binding document aimed at identifying and reasserting the most relevant international legal obligations that govern the conduct of PMSCs during armed conflicts. It also provides for a set of guidelines on ‘good practices’ for States in regard to the operation of PMSCs in armed conflicts. Although it does not create any legal obligations, and only recalls existing ones, it is the first intergovernmental document to address international obligations in respect to the activities of PMSCs. It can thus be seen as a first step toward the establishment of a better regulative framework of PMSCs' activities in conflict zones. This article provides an overview of the process that led to the endorsement of this document and an analysis of its content. It also addresses some of the questions left unanswered by the Montreux Document.
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