On 2 September 2019, the fifth Plenary Meeting of the Montreux Document Forum took place. The Plenary, attended by over 70 participants, was chaired by Switzerland, represented by Ambassador Nathalie Marti (Directorate of International Law, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, represented by Dr Cordula Droege (Chief Legal Officer).
The plenary meeting was divided into two sessions. The first session was open to all states, international organisations and invited experts. It allowed for a keynote speech on the contemporary usage of PMSCs in armed conflict by Dr Ulrich Petersohn, Senior Lecturer of the University of Liverpool. Thereafter, Jon Huggins, Senior Adviser at One Earth Future, and Mark Gray, Manager of Maritime LTD, a company offering meriting private security services, offered fascinating accounts of situations in which private maritime security is deployed, along with challenges to regulation. The second session was held only for Montreux Document participants and focused on procedural aspects of the MDF as well as a discussion on topics and thematics for the future.
The event facilitated interesting discussions on the regulation of private military and security companies in armed conflicts as well as maritime contexts. The regulation of these enterprises remains challenging, and the ongoing efforts of governments, multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil society, as well as the private sector are vital in order to prevent and remedy human rights abuses.