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This book's primary concern is the application of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in addressing the business conduct of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) during armed conflicts, as well as state responsibility for human rights violations and current attempts at international regulation.
The book discusses four interconnected themes. First, it differentiates private contractors from mercenaries, presenting an historical overview of private violence. Second, it situates PMSCs' employees under the legal status of civilian or combatant in accordance with the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949. It then investigates the existing law on state responsibility and what sort of responsibility companies and their employees can face. Finally, the book explores current developments on regulation within the industry, on national, regional and international levels. These themes are connected by the argument that, in order to find gaps in the existing laws, it is necessary to establish what they are, what law is applicable and what further developments are needed.