Book review: Private military and security companies in international law – A challenge for non-binding norms: The montreux document and the international code of conduct for private security service providers

AuthorEvgeni Moyakine
Published date01 September 2014
DOI10.1177/0269758014533179
Date01 September 2014
Subject MatterBook reviews
regarding the theoretical and legal implications of Rwandan genocidal gender and sexual violence.
Most importantly, it provides a contextual insight into the complex realities and experiences of sur-
vivors, and this is a crucial step towards explaining, understanding and addressing genocidal sexual
violence because, as one male survivor commented, ‘people must give value to our experience, not
treat it as simple news but combat it’ (p. 175).
References
Mullins CW (2009) ‘We are going to rape you and taste Tutsi women’: Rape during the 1994 Rwandan
genocide. British Journal of Criminology 49: 719735.
Smeulers A and Hoex L (2010) Studying the microdynamics of the Rwandan genocide. British Journal of
Criminology 50: 435454.
Corinna Seiberth
Private military and security companies in international law – A challenge for non-binding
norms: The montreux document and the international code of conduct for private security
service providers
Cambridge-Antwerp-Portland: Intersentia, 2014, hbk, ISBN 978-1-78068-182-5, xlvi þ296 pp.
Reviewed by: Evgeni Moyakine, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
The book written by Corinna Seiberth is based on her doctoral thesis defended at the University of
Lucerne, Switzerland in 2012. The publication offers a thorough analysis of the international legal
framework applicable to the so-called private military and security companies (PMSCs) in
particular, the Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security
Service Providers (ICoC or Code) as two significant non-binding instruments established in this
field. Currently, PMSCs are frequently used by various actors such as states, international organi-
zations, NGOs and corporations. The author observes that cases of human rights violations by the
employees of these companies are numerous. These are often associated with injuring, killing and
other forms of abuses of civilians, and indicate not only the capability of private contractors for
illegal use of force and abuse of power, but also their potential vulnerability when retaliation takes
place. Thus, private contractors who are in a position of making victims in pre-, during- and post-
conflict environments – included but not limited to the situations of armed conflict, peacekeeping
and peace enforcement missions and counter-terrorism operations – can potentially become
victims themselves.
In her work, Dr Seiberth elaborates on the nature and use of PMSCs as corporate entities and the
wide array of services they provide, and establishes different elements of their definition. While
examining the international legal framework with regard to the use of PMSCs by states and the
United Nations in third states, she explores pertinent questions of accountability of states and inter-
national organizations for the misconduct of PMSCs, and also of companies themselves and their
personnel. By looking into the web of rules and principles of international law, including interna-
tional humanitarian and human rights law, the author draws a conclusion that international law is
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