The ICRC, Switzerland, and the China University of Political Science (CUPL) co-organized the second Forum on Security and Law, Legal Regulations on Security Industry and Industrial Development in Kunming, Yunnan Province.
Around 200 participants from Chinese private military and security companies (PMSCs) and representatives from Myanmar, Laos and Thailand attended the event, focused on the Montreux Document. The main objective was to facilitate and contribute to the adoption by Chinese authorities of a regulatory framework for Chinese PMSC deployed abroad, in particular in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence. International speakers represented the ICRC, the Swiss Confederation, the International Code of Conduct Association, the Montreux Document Working Group on Maritime Security and the South African regulatory body on PMSC. Among Chinese speakers were a deputy director from MFA Treaty and Law Dept, representatives from the Academia and major company representatives.
Among the topics discussed were an overview of the current use of PMSC in armed conflict, international law relating to private military and security companies’ operations, and responsible business practices in complex environments. Various topics related to legislative developments and key issues on China’s existing security services overseas and security risks and responses for China’s private enterprises operating overseas.
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.
We are excited to publish the Report of the Multi-stakeholder Workshop on regulation, oversight and governance of the private security industry in the Caribbean region, held in Trinidad and Tobago on 4 – 5 February 2019. The event was organised by the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM IMPACS), with the support of the Secretariat of the Montreux Document Forum (DCAF) and gathered more than 75 representatives of governments, Montreux Document participants, International and Regional Organisations and institutions; civil society organisations; private security companies; and representatives of industry associations.
The combination of panels, keynote speeches, discussions and break-out sessions enabled participants to discuss recommendations on good practices in regulating private security. These recommendations will be submitted for consideration by CARICOM Member States, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Common Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Council of Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE). The Multi-stakeholder Workshop demonstrated a strong interest and engagement by participants and supported the development of concrete recommendations. More importantly, the meeting underlined the great potential of future collaboration between different stakeholders to strengthen the oversight of private security in the Caribbean.
On June 14th 2019, Panama officially declared its participation to the Montreux Document, becoming the 56th supporting State. The participation of Panama is significant: First, being the 5th State from the Latin American and Caribbean region, Panama’s support underlines the fruitfulness of outreach activities carried out in the region and strengthens the representation of the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region in the membership. Secondly, in the maritime context, Panama constitutes an important Flag State and is vital in regulating private security at sea. Given the dynamics of the Maritime Working Group of the Montreux Document Forum, the participation is notably timely.
The LAC Region remains an area of strong potential for enlarging participation in the Montreux Document. Ensuring balanced geographic representation is vital to the efforts in effective regulation of PMSCs and therefore continuing outreach in the region constitutes a key objective for future activities.
The Secretariat to the Montreux Document Forum invites States to submit requests for advisory support related to the regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs). These are meant to provide support to national regulators in addressing challenges posed by the regulation of the private security industry.
The private military and security industry has grown to a considerable size in many countries, with a myriad of different services provided, and frequently armed with lethal or less lethal weapons. As a result, PMSCs and their personnel create concerns for national authorities and challenges for regulation of this burgeoning industry ranging from outdated or obsolete laws, to inadequate training for national regulatory authorities, or ineffective grievance mechanisms.
MDF’s advisory supports States through a highly contextualized approach, driven by national challenges. The format of the advisory support package will be developed in discussions and consultations with the national actors and will be adapted to the relevant request. It can take the following forms:
We welcome requests from national regulatory bodies, oversight committees, parliamentarians, line ministries, and other regulatory authorities. Interested parties are invited to use the submissions template for the request to the advisory support, and send it to us until 5 June 2019.
Over 75 representatives of governments, Montreux Document participants, international and regional organisations, civil society, private security companies and other industry representatives gathered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to discuss regulation, oversight and governance of the private security industry in the Caribbean Region. The event was organised by the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM IMPACS), with the support of the Secretariat of the Montreux Document Forum (DCAF).
This high level event was presided over by Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS Major Michael Jones and hosted by Customs and Excise Comptroller Ms. Kathy-Ann Matthews, Trinidad and Tobago. Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago of stated in his Keynote Speech, “in this multi-stakeholder regional workshop, I gathered that we have been able to share our experiences on the challenges that are in front of us in this regard, and at the same time, to seriously deepen our knowledge and understanding as we try to forge a way ahead in regulating this industry.” Moreover, he underlined, "we also aim at best practice, globally and therefore we are thankful for the suggestions and input from our friends in Switzerland and in the Montreux Document Forum in this regard." The Assistant Commissioner of Police of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Ansley Garrick who presented on the regulations in his country stated that security “means giving a peace of mind to citizens in public spaces and in their homes and businesses. Private security plays an important role in this regard and must be regulated.”
The workshop gathered 13 States from the Caribbean Community:
- Antigua and Barbuda, - Bahamas, - Barbados,
- Grenada, - Guyana, - Jamaica,
- Montserrat, - St. Kitts and Nevis, - St. Lucia,
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines, - Suriname, - Trinidad and Tobago;
- Turks and Caicos (Associate Member)
The event facilitated the sharing of experiences regarding private security companies in the region, built knowledge and understanding of the complex issues around PSC regulation, oversight and governance, and encouraged dialogue among CARICOM States on how to integrate effective policies on private security into regional and national security policies. The meeting also provided an opportunity to present the Montreux Document and other international regulatory tools to CARICOM and its Member States.
The combination of panels, keynote speeches, discussions and break-out sessions enabled participants to discuss recommendations on good practices in regulating private security. These recommendations will be submitted for consideration by CARICOM Member States, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Common Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Council of Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE).
The organisers are delighted with the outcome of the conference, which demonstrated a strong interest and engagement by participants, and supported the development of concrete recommendations. More importantly, the meeting underlined the great potential of future collaboration between different stakeholders to strengthen the oversight of private security in the Caribbean.
Customs and Excise Comptroller Kathy-Ann Matthews with Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of the Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.
Closing Panel; from left to right: Earl Harris, Assistance Director, Strategic Services, CARICOM IMPACS, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of the Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, Kathy-Ann Matthews, Customs and Excise Comptroller; Anna Marie Burdzy, Project Officer, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, MDF Secretariat; Eric Tardif, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross; Callixtus Joseph, Regional Crime and Security Strategy Coordinator, CARICOM IMPACS.
We are delighted to announce that Montenegro became an official participating state to the Montreux Document, constituting the 55th supporter of the Document. The gradual increase in membership to the Montreux Document indicates that outreach has been successful and demonstrates Governance Private Military and Security Companies remains a particularly important topic.
However, there is a lot of potential in further increasing the support for the Montreux Document. Specifically, in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa, outreach activities are promising. Promoting support for the Montreux Document is one of the main objectives of the MDF, which can be pursued by all Montreux Document participants and in particular, by the Group of Friends of the Chair.
By adding its voice to the Montreux Document Forum, Montenegro can contribute significantly to increase respect for International Humanitarian law and International Human Rights Law, wherever PMSCs are present.
We are delighted to share that the legislative guidance tool is now available in Arabic! This constitutes an important step in increasing the reach of good practices in private security governance.
The Guidance Tool was developed as a response to growing challenges in national regulation of the Private Military and Security industry. It aims to provide guidance to parliamentarians, lawmakers, policymakers, and other actors in national legislative processes, such as members of the executive and oversight committees who are in the process of updating or developing national regulation related to PMSCs. As such, it can be of immense values to Arabic speaking policy makers, notably in the three Arabic speaking Montreux Document participants, but also anywhere that State authorities seek to more effectively regulate PMSCs.
Drawing on the Montreux Document and other international frameworks, as well as expert review, the Guidance Tool is structured around key challenges and proposes recommended content to include into legislation of PMSCs and PSCs, illustrated by examples of real-life good practices from different regions of the world.
The Guidance Tool has the following objectives:
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