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War by ContractHuman Rights, Humanitarian Law, and Private Contractors$
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Francesco Francioni and Natalino Ronzitti

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604555

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604555.001.0001

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The Right to Life and Self-defence of Private Military and Security Contractors in Armed Conflict

The Right to Life and Self-defence of Private Military and Security Contractors in Armed Conflict

Chapter:
(p.171) 9 The Right to Life and Self-defence of Private Military and Security Contractors in Armed Conflict
Source:
War by Contract
Author(s):

Guido den Dekker

Eric PJ Myjer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604555.003.0010

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.

Keywords:   arbitrary killing, arms, self-defence, armed conflict, right to life, due diligence, state monopoly

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