Case Study on Holding Private Military and Security Companies Accountable for Human Rights Violations

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Wallace, Stuart
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This case study examines how to hold private military and security companies (PSCs) accountable for human rights violations. It follows on from previous reports in this work package which identified PSCs as perpetrators of some of the most egregious human rights violations perpetrated by any businesses. The regulation of PSCs has also been identified as a specific gap in the EU’s business and human rights policy as the EU has not yet established a legal framework for effective regulation of PSC activities. The current legal framework at both national and supra-national levels is widely seen as inadequate and the need for greater regulation has been explicitly recognised by the European Parliament. In this project, PSCs will act as a lens through which the effectiveness of various remedial mechanisms in the field of business and human rights are analysed. The case study identifies the key factors or criteria underpinning the effectiveness of grievance mechanisms. These include: the ability to investigate and determine the facts of a given case; the accessibility of the remedy to the victims of a human rights abuse; the speed of the remedy; the transparency of the overall process; and the redress offered by the remedy to successful claimants. The case study then proceeds to analyse a number of grievance mechanisms at operational/company level, national level and international level to see whether they meet these criteria for effective grievance mechanisms. In particular it looks at five judicial and non-judicial remedies: the grievance mechanism operated by the Private Security Company Aegis; the National Contact Points system operated under the auspices of the OECD; the UK judicial system; the Association established by the International Code of Conduct for private security providers; and the European Court of Human Rights.