The rise of the private military firm in international conflicts : a problem of legal authority and extraterritorial jurisdiction
Roni A. Elias
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Connecticut journal of international law, Vol. 31, issue 1, 2015, p. 93-112
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This paper examines the legal structure that governs ordinary military action and describes the problems with attempting to extend that structure to the new phenomenon of private military firms. Private military actors cannot be regulated by that existing structure because it only applies to soldiers. And the legal rules that apply to private citizens generally are not effective at regulating the conduct of private soldiers because law and order usually has broken down in the places where conflicts occur, and the laws of the private soldiers’ home countries lack extraterritorial reach. In the end, the rise of private military firms creates a novel problem of international law. This paper concludes that the most effective way to solve that problem is through the amendment and further development of the international treaties that currently govern ordinary military action so that they apply to all soldiers, whether they fight for private or national entities.