• Panama supports the Montreux Document!

    2 Jul 2019

    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.

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  • Call for Submissions

    8 May 2019

    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create concerns for national authorities and challenges for regulation of this burgeoning industry ranging from outdated or obsolete laws, to inadequate training for national regulatory authorities, or ineffective grievance mechanisms.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:

    • Baseline research
    • Support to multi-stakeholder dialogue on regulation
    • Supporting national authorities on legal and regulatory reform

    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.

    For more information, check out the call for submissions! (ENES)

    Download the Template for the call for submissions here (EN/ES)

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  • Multi-Stakeholder Workshop on Private Security in the Caribbean Region

    27 Feb 2019

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    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.

    Fitzgerald Hinds CARICOM Private Security

    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.

  • Montenegro supports the Montreux Document

    18 Feb 2019

    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.

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    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.

  • Launch of the Legislative Guidance tool in Arabic

    19 Nov 2018

    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:

    • To raise awareness of existing national legislation, policies, and best practices
    • To provide guidance for parliamentarians, lawmakers, policymakers and other stakeholders to develop or update national legislation related to PMSCs, in line with international legal obligations and taking into account good practices from various selected contexts.

    The Legislative Guidance Tool is also available in English, French, Spanish, Ukrainian and Romanian.

    Download the Arabic version of the Legislative Guidance Tool here!

    Arabic Guidance Tool


    14 Nov 2018

    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

  • More than 120 participants attended the fourth official plenary meeting of the Montreux Document Forum

    3 Aug 2018
    On 6-7 June 2018, States, International organisations, civil society, and invited industry representatives met in Geneva for the fourth official plenary meeting of the Montreux Document Forum.

    2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Montreux Document, and the meeting allowed to focus on how the regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCs) has evolved over the past decade and remaining challenges.

    The Plenary, attended by over 120 participants, was chaired by Switzerland, represented by Ambassador Daniel Klingele (Directorate of International Law, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, represented by Dr. Helen Durham (Director of International Law and Policy).

    The plenary meeting was divided into three sessions. The first session was open to all states, international organisations, civil society and invited industry representatives and provided an overview of the development of PMSC regulation along with a summary of the MDF regional meeting in Costa Rica, as well as emerging issues in PMSC operation. Thereafter, the second session, open only to states and IOs, focused on good practices in the implementation of the Montreux Document including use of force, training, and mutual legal assistance, the relevancy of the Montreux Document in situations other than armed conflict, and additional processes relating to the regulation of PMSCs, including the UN Working Group on mercenaries, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. The last 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.

    Agenda for the Fourth Plenary Meeting

    Chair's Summary of the Fourth Plenary 


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    Participants were invited to engage in an interactive discussion with keynote speakers and other experts.

    The MDF enables participants to exchange perspectives on the good practices and challenges they face in the implementation of their obligations relating to the activities of PMSCs.

  • 31 States were represented at the Regional Meeting of the Montreux Document Forum (MDF) in San José, Costa Rica

    6 Apr 2018
    The first MDF Regional Meeting in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region was organized in San José, Costa Rica on 27th-28th February 2018 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, together with the Co-Chairs of the MDF, namely the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    Building on the 2011 Roundtable on the Montreux Document, held in Chile, the meeting in Costa Rica was considered to be the largest event on regulation of private military and security companies (PMSCS) in the region. With over 100 participants from 31 countries (21 LAC countries), notably heads of national regulatory bodies for private security and representatives of Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Defense, the meeting provided an opportunity for a dedicated exchange on existing challenges and good practices in PMSC regulation. Furthermore, high-level representatives of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United Nations (UN), and the European Union (EU), civil society, industry, and academic experts contributed to the discussions on effective regulation of PMSCs in the region.

    During the meeting, the participants recognised the issue of PMSCS as a subject requiring more attention and more effective regulation based on human rights and international humanitarian law. Participants were also able to identify the added value and relevance of the Montreux Document for States' regulatory efforts across LAC. With respect to implementation, the conference was an opportunity for active discussion on challenges and good practices, specifically related to Strengthening specific and adequate legal frameworks; Addressing informality in the PMSC markets and certification/licensing/registration challenges; Facilitating a whole-of-government approach to implementation of regulation and oversight mechanisms; Building institutional capacities for regulation and oversight; Clearly defining and implementing training requirements for PMSCs and their personnel.

    Throughout 2018 and beyond, Switzerland, the ICRC and DCAF will continue fostering dialogue on PMSCs regulation of in the region and encouraging more States and international and regional organisations to express support for the Montreux Document good practices.

    For more information, please consult the Regional Meeting concept note and agenda in the sidebar.

  • PMSCs in Latin America and the Caribbean: Supporting Implementation of the Montreux Document

    12 Feb 2018
    On 27-28 February 2018, Costa Rica, with the support of the Co-Chairs of the MDF (Switzerland and ICRC) will organize a regional meeting of the MDF.

    The event will gather Montreux Document participants, representatives of other Latin America and Caribbean States (LAC), as well as the Organisation of American States, the Central American Integration System, and the Caribbean Community to discuss national and regional experiences with PMSCs and identify concrete ways in which the Montreux Document can advance implementation of PMSC regulations.

    With at least 16,174 private security companies in operation and more than 2,450,000 legally registered employees, PMSCs in the LAC region provide security for extractive industries, protect critical infrastructure and business, deliver training and operational support, as well as collaborate in urban security partnerships with police and other public institutions.

    They operate in States enjoying peace and stability, in contexts affected by violence, and situations of armed conflict. This variable landscape has led to valid concerns over ensuring respect for international human rights law (IHRL), and international humanitarian law (IHL) where applicable. The LAC region was also highlighted as significantly relevant for the MDF during the 2017 Plenary meeting as participants stressed the importance of contextualizing the Montreux Document to address challenges specific to national regulators.

    Gathering Montreux Document participants and all States in the LAC region, this meeting will serve to highlight the application of the Montreux Document and its added value and relevance for States' regulatory efforts across LAC. The meeting will also provide space for a dedicated exchange on existing challenges and good practices in PMSC regulation faced by national practitioners.

    Participation is by invitation only. For further information contact the MDF Secretariat at

  • Now Available! Chairs’ Summary of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Montreux Document Forum (MDF)

    28 Jul 2017
    On 27 and 28 April 2017, States, international organisations, and civil society representatives gathered in Geneva to participate in the Third Plenary Meeting of the MDF.

    The meeting sought to promote dialogue on perspectives, opportunities, and challenges relating to the regulation of the private military and security industry and the implementation of the rules and good practices of the Montreux Document on pertinent international legal obligations for states related to operations of private military and security companies during armed conflict.

    The meeting was chaired by Switzerland (represented by Ambassador Jürg Lindenmann, Deputy Director of the Directorate of International Law at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (represented by Dr. Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy) as co-Chairs of the MDF.

    The third plenary meeting of the MDF was divided into three sessions. The first and second sessions were open to all States, international organisations and invited representatives from civil society. The third session was only open to Montreux Document participants.

    Chairs' Summary

    Agenda for the Third Plenary Meeting

    Background Document

    Participants were invited to engage in an interactive discussion with keynote speakers and other experts.

    The third plenary meeting of the MDF was divided into three sessions.

    The MDF enables participants to exchange perspectives on the good practices and challenges they face in the implementation of their obligations relating to the activities of PMSCs.