ICJ submission to the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

The ICJ draws attention to instances of alleged human rights abuses by the private military and security companies in all regions and analyses the challenges related to the accountability frameworks and access to justice.

The ICJ contribution is in response to the call by the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, which also has a mandate on private security companies, for written information to assist in its deliberations on “private military and security companies in extractive industries – impact on human rights”.

Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) are hired by companies engaged in extractive operations in all geographic regions of the world, but their activities or operations that give rise to allegations of human rights violations and abuses seem to be prevalent regions where abundance of natural resources and the favorable environment for foreign investment are propitious to the establishment of extractive companies in, many times, fragile contexts.

In this regard ICJ suggests the Working group to consider the following recommendations:

  • States should ensure that their domestic legal framework provides for real access to effective remedies for victims of human rights abuse by PMSCs and extractive companies.
  • Provide guidance to States to establish effective legal accountability frameworks of criminal or civil nature that pay due consideration to the inherently dangerous nature of the mining activity and the security services operating in that context.
  • Recommend that States establish legal frameworks that require meaningful reporting/disclosure of company policies and practices in relation to human rights, including their use and effectiveness of grievance mechanisms at the operational level.
  • Both extractive and security companies should respect all human rights in accordance with international standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and other sectorial guidance applicable to PMSCs.
  • Security companies, whatever their structure or ownership, should carry out enhanced processes of due diligence consistent with international best practices, and participate in remediation schemes.

Universal-ICJ Submission PSC and extractive industries-Advocacy-non legal submissions-2019-ENG (full text of the report, in PDF)

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions