The Montreux Document is an agreement between signature countries obligations regarding private military and security companies in war zones. It was ratified in Montreux, Switzerland, in September 2008.The document lists some 70 recommendations for good state practices such as verifying companies track record, examining procedures used to vet staff, correct prosecution when breaches of law occur, and insure compliance and personnel training with international humanitarian and human rights law.
A private military company (PMC) is a private company providing armed combat or security services for financial gain. PMCs refer to their staff as "security contractors" or "private military contractors". Private military companies refer to their business generally as the "private military industry" or "The Circuit".
Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
Its full name is 'The Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict of 17 September 2008'. It provides contracting states, home states, and territorial states, with a restatement of their international legal obligations and a series of ‘good practices’ to use in interacting with the industry.
Several provisions also provide legal obligations incumbent on private security companies themselves. Importantly, the focus of the document is primarily on times of armed conflict – but the principles are expressly relevant to non-armed conflict situations as well. It is a non-binding, non-legal document in that it neither creates nor alters legal obligations, but merely articulates existing requirements pertinent to private security operations.
Elements of the Montreux Document have been incorporated into the management system standards jointly authored and published by ANSI/ASIS, such as PSC.1-2012 and PSC.4-2013.
ANSI/ASIS PSC.1-2012 is a management standard for quality of private security company operations.
ANSI/ASIS PSC.4-2013 is guidance for Quality Assurance and Security Management for Private Security Companies Operating at Sea.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
As of December 2018, 54 states are participants in the Montreux Document.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 17 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, performing a perfidy, raping, using child soldiers, pillaging, declaring that no quarter will be given, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, and military necessity.
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949. While the first three conventions dealt with combatants, the Fourth Geneva Convention was the first to deal with humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone. There are currently 196 countries party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including this and the other three treaties.
In general, a civilian is "a person who is not a member of the military or of a police or firefighting force". The definition distinguishes from persons whose duties involves risking their lives to protect the public at large from hazardous situations such as terrorism, riots, conflagrations, or wars. "Criminals" are also excluded from the category.
The law of war refers to the component of international law that regulates the conditions for war and the conduct of warring parties. Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territories, occupation, and other critical terms of international law.
International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of war. It is that branch of international law which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities, and by restricting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to combatants.
Customary international law is an aspect of international law involving the principle of custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of international law.
Protocol I is a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of international conflicts, where "armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes" are to be considered international conflicts. It reaffirms the international laws of the original Geneva Conventions of 1949, but adds clarifications and new provisions to accommodate developments in modern international warfare that have taken place since the Second World War.
Protocol II is a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. It defines certain international laws that strive to provide better protection for victims of internal armed conflicts that take place within the borders of a single country. The scope of these laws is more limited than those of the rest of the Geneva Conventions out of respect for sovereign rights and duties of national governments.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted unanimously on April 28, 2006, after reaffirming resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1296 (2000) concerning the protection of civilians in armed conflict and Resolution 1631 (2005) on co-operation between the United Nations and regional organisations, the Council stressed a comprehensive approach to the prevention of armed conflict and its recurrence.
Air warfare must comply with laws and customs of war, including international humanitarian law by protecting the victims of the conflict and refraining from attacks on protected persons.
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention usually denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–45), which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, and added two new conventions. The Geneva Conventions extensively defined the basic rights of wartime prisoners, established protections for the wounded and sick, and established protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, in whole or with reservations, by 196 countries. Moreover, the Geneva Convention also defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants, yet, because the Geneva Conventions are about people in war, the articles do not address warfare proper—the use of weapons of war—which is the subject of the Hague Conventions, and the bio-chemical warfare Geneva Protocol.
United Nations Security Council resolution 1460, adopted unanimously on 30 January 2003, after recalling resolutions 1261 (1999), 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1306 (2000), 1308 (2000), 1314 (2000), 1325 (2000) and 1379 (2001), the Council called for the immediate end to the use of child soldiers and endorsed an "era of application" of international norms and standards for the protection of war-affected children.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1653, adopted unanimously on January 27, 2006, after recalling previous resolutions concerning the situations in the African Great Lakes region, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, particularly resolutions 1625 (2005), 1631 (2005), 1649 (2005) and 1650 (2005), the Council addressed the stability of the Great Lakes region in Africa.
The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) is a set of principles for private security providers, created through a multi-stakeholder initiative convened by the Swiss government. This process involved and continuously involves representatives from private security companies, states, and civil society organizations. The code reinforces and articulates the obligations of private security providers particularly with regard to international humanitarian law and human rights law. The ICoC also sets the foundation for developing an institutional framework to provide meaningful and independent oversight of and accountability to the ICoC. Accordingly, the stakeholders involved agreed on ‘Articles of Association’ setting up an effective oversight mechanism.
Customary international humanitarian law is a body of unwritten rules of public international law, which govern conduct during armed conflict.
Human shields may be civilians used against their will to deter attacks on military targets during an international armed conflict or they may be civilians who voluntarily protect either military or civilian targets from attack. The use of human shields is forbidden by Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions. It is also a specific intent war crime as codified in the Rome Statute, which was adopted in 1998. The language of the Rome Statute prohibits "utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas, or military forces immune from military operations."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parties (signatories) to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.