[PDF] Employing Private Military Companies - A Question of Responsibility

Author: Advisory Council on International Affairs [Netherlands], Published on: 1 December 2007

On 23 May 2007, the Dutch government asked the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) to prepare an advisory report on the employment of civilian [security] service providers in operational areas...Although it is not new, this practice has recently become newsworthy, due to a sharp increase in its scale and scope, and experiences involving its use in Iraq and Afghanistan...[T]he topical nature of the request...was further highlighted by the shooting incident involving the US private security company Blackwater in Baghdad on 16 September 2007, which left 17 Iraqi civilians dead...Iraq is currently home to the highest ever number of service providers, estimated at 180,000 people...[In the] 1990s...[in] Kuwait, the ratio of soldiers to private contractors was still 50:1. In Iraq it now stands at roughly 1:1...The Dutch armed forces are also making increasing use of private service providers. [in Afghanistan, for example]...In its request for advice...the government posed five specific questions:
1. What services may, in principle, be outsourced...?
2. To what extent can and should the Dutch government accept legal and political responsibility for the activities of civilian service providers and their consequences?...
3. Is it acceptable for civilian personnel to be recruited from around the world for deployment in war zones?...
4. To what extent do the Dutch government and its armed forces have a duty of care for the safety of civilian personnel?
5. What are the possible effects of the abduction, mistreatment and/or killing of civilian personnel?

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