International Soft Law Initiatives: The Opportunities and Limitations of the Montreux Document, ICoC, and Security Operations Management System Standards



Private security companies (PSCs), governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders of the private security industry have contributed to the development of an interlocking web of soft law initiatives—international declarations, codes of conduct, and security operations management system standards—to improve global governance of the private security industry. This chapter provides background on each initiative and examines their opportunities and limitations, to include their ability to ensure that PSCs respect applicable provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law in their operations and are held to account should they violate these laws. It concludes that rather than a forfeiture of the state’s obligation to regulate the private security industry, over time we are seeing a hardening of soft law initiatives as they make their way into procurement regulations and national laws. Nevertheless, remaining gaps in the soft law initiatives warrant greater efforts to develop binding laws and regulations and to provide greater support for successful implementation of these initiatives. PSCs and their stakeholders have a significant role to play in strengthening and ensuring the continued interoperability of these initiatives.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University Washington College of Law, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian LawWashingtonUSA

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