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Unpublished Paper
IMPLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY: STATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACTS OF PRIVATE MILITARY FIRMS
(2008)
  • Oliver Jones, University of Oxford
Abstract
The phenomenon of private military firms (PMFs) has been the subject of much recent debate. The expulsion of the US firm Blackwater from Iraq in September 2007 threw many of the issues raised in this debate into stark relief. It is the commonly held view of academic writers that PMFs are inadequately regulated, prompting concerns that human rights abuses are going investigated and unpunished. The existing literature has not examined, however, why states will be motivated to increase the regulation of such firms when they derive many benefits from obfuscating the relationship between the government and the use of force. This article argues that we should reconceptualize how we think of this relationship by considering secondary rules of state responsibility. These secondary rules, as set out by the International Law Commission in 2001, crystallize state thinking about when a private actor should be seen as a de facto state agent. After setting out the terms of the debate, the article analyses the content of these principles and then applies them in a series of case studies: Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone, MPRI in Croatia and Kellogg Brown and Root in Iraq. The article argues that in many recent cases the acts of PMFs should be seen as state acts, such that the state will bear responsibility should they breach any primary international law obligations.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2008
Citation Information
Oliver Jones. "IMPLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY: STATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACTS OF PRIVATE MILITARY FIRMS" (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/oliver_jones/2/