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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


12th October 2011

State Control over Private Military & Security Companies in Armed Conflict

Dr Hannah Tonkin (UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)

The past two decades have witnessed the rapid proliferation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) in armed conflicts around the world. The extensive outsourcing of military and security activities has challenged conventional conceptions of the state as the primary holder of coercive power and raised concerns about the reduction in state control over the use of violence. Hannah Tonkin critically analyses the international obligations on three key states – the hiring state, the home state and the host state of a PMSC – and identifies the circumstances in which PMSC misconduct may give rise to state responsibility. This analysis will facilitate the assessment of state responsibility in cases of PMSC misconduct and set standards to guide states in developing their domestic laws and policies on private security.

Hannah Tonkin completed a masters and doctorate in international law at the University of Oxford, after having previously completed degrees in science and law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She is now a lawyer at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. She is author of “State Control over Private Military and Security Companies in Armed Conflict” (Cambridge University Press 2011)

The talk was organised with the Between Civilisation and Militarisation Faculty Group.