The right to life and self-defence of private military and security contractors in armed conflict
Guido den Dekker and Eric PJ Myjer
War by contract : human rights, humanitarian law, and private contractors
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2011
This chapter is concerned with the right to life of private military and security contractors and its protection though personal self-defence in armed conflict. After analysing the right to life, and self-defence, in international human rights, humanitarian, and criminal law, it argues that private contractors cannot be denied through their contracts a right to carry and use firearms for lawful self-defence when the fulfillment of the contract in the operational area is life-threatening. If that situation is foreseeable or known to arrive, states can fulfill a ‘due diligence’ obligation to prevent unlawful, arbitrary killing of private contractors by allowing them arms for defensive purposes not amounting to a direct participation in the hostilities. However, the same considerations as well as the state monopoly on the use of force imply that states should in fact refrain from outsourcing tasks which require private contractors to be armed.
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