On Wednesday, October 10th, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Montreux Document, the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Switzerland organized a side-event to the 6th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.
This information session sought to promote the Montreux Document, the Montreux Document Forum and its two Working Groups, i.e. the Working Group on the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA) and the Maritime Working Group. This side-event also provided an opportunity for discussion amongst legal experts of UN Member States on the regulation of private military and security companies. Nearly 50 delegates attended the event.
After opening remarks by Switzerland and Portugal, Christopher Harland, Deputy Head of Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross gave an overview of the Montreux Document and the Montreux Document Forum. Dominique Favre, Deputy Head of the Swiss Mission to the United Nations, then touched upon some future issues.
The second part of the agenda focused on the Working Groups of the Montreux Document Forum. First, Katherine Gorove, Attorney of the US Department of State, Office of Legal Adviser, briefly presented the Working Group on the ICoCa. Thereafter, Mateus Kowalski, Director of the International Law Department of the Department of Legal Affairs from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, presented the Maritime Working Group.
The information session provided a space for questions and discussions on different issues related to the regulation of PMSCs. Participants showed strong interest, asking questions on a variety of issues, such as gender in ICoCA, and the application of the Montreux Document to maritime settings. The discussion showed a number of overlaps with topics dealt with by different bodies of the United Nations system, in New York - e.g. international law, human rights, maritime affairs, maritime security and piracy. The interest in the Montreux Document shown by participants, combined with the revealed connections to other topics processed in the UN system in New York, shows a promising area of future outreach activities.
From left to right: Mateus Kowalski, Katherine Gorove, Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Dominique Favre, Christopher Harland