Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Ninth Report



102. Given the evident existence of—and likely growth in—a market for private military services, military companies will continue to exist, and absolute prohibition of the sector in the United Kingdom would simply drive them overseas. We are convinced that a properly regulated private military sector can make a positive contribution to international security. We also share the view, articulated by Denis MacShane in rather negative terms, of the benefits of establishing a transparent relationship with the companies through regulation: "I would rather these things were in the tent, as it were, where we could see in which direction they were aiming rather than outside the tent when we have not got the faintest idea what they are up to until we are splattered with very unpleasant after-effects."[137] We conclude that an outright ban on all military activity abroad by private military companies would be counterproductive.

103. We strongly endorse the view, expressed tentatively by Denis MacShane, that one advantage of establishing "a licensing regime ... may well be ... that contracts or licences would not be awarded for activity that in any way could place the company concerned in a position of being likely to commit human rights violations."[138] The most obvious activity in this category is armed combat. In undertaking armed combat operations, PMC employees are likely to be placed in dangerous situations, in which the likelihood that they might commit human rights abuses is high. The checks and balances which restrain national armed forces personnel in such circumstances do not apply with such effectiveness to PMCs. Banning combat operations would substantially reduce the risk that British based PMCs committed human rights abuses, without fatally undermining legitimate private military and security companies.

104. The prohibition of direct participation in or planning of offensive armed combat operations by private companies would not fatally undermine the sector: as Tim Spicer informed us, there are "plenty of other things than combat or the direct involvement in conflict that private military companies do, including training, defence consultancy and others."[139]

105. Neither would the prohibition of combat services prevent companies from providing valuable services to legitimate governments which faced security problems. A well regulated, responsible British company could provide a threatened democratic government with training and support, enabling it to maintain control of its territory through better organization of its national armed forces, without direct participation in combat.

106. Another reason for prohibiting participation in combat is that the potential for a privately organized combat operation going badly wrong is very high. Such operations would necessarily take place in unstable circumstances, and there would be a significant risk that the conflict might escalate beyond what was originally envisaged. Monitoring private companies' engagement in such operations would be dangerous and difficult. It would be embarrassing for the British Government to endorse in any way such an operation, yet be unable to monitor or control it, and then to discover through the media or other sources that human rights abuses had taken place.

107. Though the Green Paper argues that "the distinction between combat and non-combat activities is often artificial,"[140] we conclude that such a distinction can and should be drawn for the purposes of regulation. We do not underestimate the difficulties inherent in this process.

108. We recommend that private companies be expressly prohibited from direct participation in armed combat operations, and that firearms should only be carried—and, if necessary, used—by company employees for purposes of training or self-defence.


109. In 1976, the Diplock Report recommended that the Government prohibit recruitment in the UK for service in armed forces abroad.[141] This option was proposed because it was thought to be more easily enforceable than other measures: "no device of draftsmanship can overcome the practical difficulty of obtaining the evidence to justify a conviction in a criminal court for an offence which consists of acts which the accused is alleged to have done abroad."[142]

110. The difficulty of enforcing this option now was highlighted in the a report by International Alert, which states that many private military companies "do not have a fixed set of employees and often have to draw upon networks of ex-servicemen or 'soldiers for hire' on the international market."[143] Companies can advertise on the Internet, and many recruitments are likely also to be undertaken informally, "over a beer in a bar."[144] While some of the larger private security companies have quite detailed procedures for recruiting and vetting employees,[145] irregular and largely untraceable recruitment procedures are practised by the disreputable end of the spectrum of PMCs—those companies to which regulation should be most carefully directed.

111. The argument that legislation relating to the domestic sphere is the only feasible option, as proposed by the Diplock Report, no longer applies. Since the Diplock Report was published, prosecutions have been successfully brought in a number of areas[146] despite the fact that offences were committed abroad.

112. We have heard strong arguments which suggest that the private military sector has potential to make a positive contribution to international security. We believe that, through regulation, the Government should be striving not only to restrain the worst excesses but to facilitate the development of high professional standards in the industry. A ban on recruitment for illegitimate military activities abroad (for example, armed combat operations), whatever the difficulties of enforcement, would be entirely consistent with these aims.

113. The Green Paper does not consider the possibility that foreign private military companies might seek to recruit British citizens. One of the main purposes of regulation is to prevent unregulated PMCs from damaging British interests. Prohibiting companies operating out of countries with no regulatory structure for PMCs from recruiting British citizens might help, in a limited way, to extend the scope of a British regulatory system abroad, and to protect the United Kingdom's reputation.

114. We recommend that the Government give very careful consideration to imposing a ban on all recruitment by PMCs for combat operations and other activities which are illegal under United Kingdom law. We further recommend that the Government consider the practicality of a complete ban on recruitment for such activities of United Kingdom citizens by overseas-based or offshore PMCs.[147]

115. Restrictions currently prevent some civil servants from abusing their knowledge of Government procedures by moving into directly related jobs in the private sector. We can envisage circumstances in which it would be inappropriate for former British service personnel to use their 'insider' knowledge in the context of a private military company. We recommend that, to prevent the inappropriate use of knowledge gained through employment in the British armed forces, the Government examine whether restrictions should be placed on former British service personnel who wish to move into related activity in the private sector, such as a 'cooling off' period similar to that which applies to former civil servants and government advisers.


116. Under this proposal, legislation would require companies to obtain a licence for each contract for military and security services abroad. For services for which licences were required, companies or individuals would apply for licences in the same way as they do for licences to export arms.[148]

117. To make this regulatory option feasible, clear guidelines would have to be provided by the Government, to enable the PMC to assess whether or not a project was permissible. If the PMC judged that the project lay within Government guidelines, it would be required to submit an application for a specific licence for the project. In the course of our inquiry, we have discussed a range of activities which are currently undertaken by PMCs, but which could be subject to regulation. These include operational support to armed forces; military advice and training; some forms of intelligence gathering; security and crime prevention services, law enforcement and policing; logistical support; physical (personal and installation) guarding; and securing delivery of humanitarian aid, equipment, cash and other valuables in conflict situations.

118. While the Government is likely to conclude that a ban on these activities is not desirable, it may decide to regulate them to ensure that the companies providing them do not slip into combat roles or damage British interests abroad. The Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee, Bruce George MP, submitted a memorandum with Simon H Cooper proposing that the Government "draw up a list of activities that it deemed severe enough to warrant a license. Constant appraisal of this list would then be necessary to ensure that it remained up to date with new developments in the field."[149] We believe that this is a sound proposal, which could assist the efficient implementation of this regulatory option.

119. Private military companies are concerned that the requirement to gain a licence for each specific contract might be a lengthy process, and that this regulatory regime would prevent companies from being able to launch operations rapidly. Tim Spicer has argued that "speed and flexibility" are "key values" of PMCs, and that these must not be lost through the establishment of a regulatory system.[150] ArmorGroup warn that a "poorly conceived or inadequately administered regime could easily cripple speed of response, which is a key value of contracted security services."[151]

120. ArmorGroup do not oppose this option, but propose that "Any mechanism established to administer regulation must be the subject of published performance criteria so that a contractor may expect an answer to its application within, say, ten working days."[152] Given the record of the existing British Government regime to grant licences to export arms, this seems ambitious. The Quadripartite Committee, in its Report on the Draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill, has noted the "very long delays in reaching a decision on difficult [arms export] licensing applications."[153] The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told the Quadripartite Committee that though most arms export licences were approved within 20 days, delays of eighteen months or more had sometimes occurred. These were not a consequence of administrative problems, but "because of getting intelligence, making sure we get the latest information from the companies concerned."[154]

121. Despite the concerns expressed by some in the private military sector that such a system would be unacceptably slow,[155] we support this option. It would provide a rigorous safeguard, ensuring that no operation would be licensed without detailed prior analysis of its political and strategic context. We believe that, despite the resource costs of establishing such a rigorous regulatory regime, this level of analysis is required to ensure that the actions of companies which have been endorsed by the British Government are not detrimental to the United Kingdom's interests.

122. We note the proposal by Bruce George and Simon H Cooper that the Security Industry Authority, which was established as part of the 2001 Private Security Act, might be an appropriate licensing body.[156] The Government will need to examine the extent to which activities and companies which are subject to regulation by this body are also covered by the options discussed in the Green Paper.

123. We recommend that each contract for a military/security operation overseas should be subject to a separate licence, with the exception of companies engaged in the provision of non-contentious services for whom the Government considers a general licence would suffice.

124. We recommend that the Government consider carefully how to ensure that a licensing regime allows companies to operate with the necessary speed without compromising the effectiveness of the vetting process. We propose four measures which might help to speed the process without compromising the required thoroughness of the regulatory system. First, clear and regularly updated guidelines should be published.[157] These would contain information about countries and sectors relevant to the activities of PMCs. This would help to ensure that companies were able to assess their own application thoroughly before submission. Second, the Government might consider grading projects according to their time sensitivity, and establishing a 'fast track' procedure for some projects, such as the renewal of an existing licence. Third, the regulatory authority should also give companies a target period for approval or denial of the licence, and a similar time limit for an appeal process.[158] Fourth, applications by reputable companies with an unblemished track record of scrupulous compliance with the terms of licences could be expedited.

125. Another concern voiced by companies is that a licencing regime might compromise client confidentiality. This was, Tim Spicer warned us, one of the companies' "key concerns:"[159] governments hiring PMCs would often be unwilling to disclose the specifics of a contract relating to their national security with any third party, including the British Government.

126. Despite private military companies' concerns about client confidentiality, we conclude that the need to ensure that the sector is properly regulated overrides the private interests of PMCs and their clients. The Government will, however, have to consider carefully where the balance lies in this respect.


127. The Green Paper describes this as a "light regulatory framework,"[160] under which companies would be required to register with the Government and to notify it of contracts for which they were bidding. Licences would be granted automatically (or would not be required at all), though the Government would reserve the right to withhold them in some circumstances.

128. We believe that granting automatic licences for projects provided to and carried out under the auspices of the UN, EU or UK Government could be justified, because companies which had been vetted for competence under the Government's general PMC licensing scheme, and which were providing services to intergovernmental organizations or to British Government agencies, would be very unlikely to compromise British interests in any way. In these instances, the company could be required only to inform the British Government of its intention to fulfil a contract before it was delivered.[161] The Government might also draw up a list of 'states of concern,' to which the export of military services could automatically be banned. Exemptions to the normal licencing procedure might also be applied to contracts for non-contentious services such as the delivery of basic medical equipment to conflict zones. This would save time, free administrative capacity, and thus enable more thorough vetting of controversial project proposals.[162]

129. We recommend that the Government should consider whether exemptions to the project-specific licensing procedure described above should apply with respect to contracts with trusted organizations of which the United Kingdom is a member, such as NATO, the United Nations or the European Union and with responsible governments.


130. The establishment of a general register of PMCs would have important benefits. Firstly, it would help speed the licensing of specific projects. Tim Spicer, ArmorGroup and other practitioners raise concerns about the slowness of Government bureaucracy in granting licences.[163] If the Government had vetted a company according to its track record and personnel, it would be required to check only the specific project when the time came to grant a licence.

131. Secondly, a register would facilitate the development of a responsible private military sector by rewarding companies which could demonstrate high professional standards, levels of transparency, appropriate staff recruitment and training. It would provide a significant incentive for companies to be transparent and to maintain high professional standards, because failure to meet the standards demanded to join this general register would constitute a clear indictment of a company's credentials.[164] This would help to warn potential clients (foreign governments, international organizations, private companies, NGOs etc) against its employment.

132. Tim Spicer proposed to us a process through which companies should go in order to be permitted to operate in or from the UK. The procedure would include vetting of the company with respect to ownership, financial structure, management structure, and qualifications of company personnel (including verification that none had criminal records).[165] We note that Tim Spicer's proposal casts an interesting light on his appearance before our predecessor Committee in 1998, when he essayed not to know the structure or affiliates of the company of which he was a director.[166] David Stewart Howitt suggested that, in order for the company to fulfil regulatory requirements, "anyone to be armed [in a PMC operation] must have served with UK armed forces (or have attended appropriate UK forces training) and have received an honourable discharge; or with specified other armed forces if a full service record is available."[167] These are valid proposals, and the Government should consider them carefully. The recent exposés of the ease with which unvetted individuals have been able to gain employment in airport security companies shows the necessity of performing rigorous checks on employees' backgrounds.[168]

133. The difficulty associated with this option, as the Green Paper states, is the potential for misjudging a company's character: the Government might lend credibility to companies of whose operations it knew little or whose character might change.[169] Methods for monitoring and regulation, including regular reassessment of the company's record, therefore need to be considered carefully. Both Tim Spicer and David Stewart Howitt proposed that PMCs would be required to reapply for operating licences regularly, perhaps every 2-3 years.[170]

134. We recommend that private military and security companies be required to obtain a general licence before undertaking any permitted military/security activities overseas.

135. We recommend that, as part of the application procedure for registration, private military companies be required to disclose to the Government in some detail the company structures, the experience of permanent personnel, recruitment policies, and other relevant information. The first application for a general licence should include a thorough check of the company's history, including its previous activities. If any information requested by the Government were withheld by a company, then a licence should not be granted.


136. The Green Paper discusses the benefits of a voluntary code of conduct for PMCs, and highlights the existence of the British Security Industry Association. ArmorGroup support such a code, and point out that the "implications of a breach of a morally justifiable voluntary code will prove to be a major motivator for compliance by any company concerned for its reputation. [A] Publicly broadcast breach will lead to isolation and loss of business for offenders." After seeing the effects of the Enron affair on accountancy firm Arthur Anderson, companies will be well aware of the need to protect their business by protecting their reputations.

137. We agree that a voluntary code of conduct would help to establish standards of behaviour in the industry, and would help PMC clients to find reputable business partners. The development of such a code of conduct should be welcomed, particularly while legislation is being drafted. However, we conclude that a voluntary code is insufficient to regulate the private military industry, because it would not enable the Government to prevent the activities of disreputable companies which were detrimental to the United Kingdom's interests.


138. The Green Paper states that the options for regulation that it outlines are not exhaustive.[171] We propose here an alternative which is not considered in the Green Paper, but which the Minister told us he is happy to examine.[172]

139. Throughout this inquiry, the continuing demand for a range of military and security services has been very evident. The demand comes not only from foreign governments, commercial enterprises and other agencies working in conflict zones, but also from our own Government.

140. We are not fully convinced that the private sector is the only way to fill this 'gap in the market' for military services. An alternative—or addition—to the private sector solutions proposed would be the creation by the Government of a publicly funded cadre of former service personnel, who would be familiar with British service discipline, and with working under the Armed Forces Act. This cadre would be capable of carrying out the non-combatant training, logistics and security roles which are currently performed by PMCs. They would be acting under the auspices of Government. Clearly, detailed problems of structure, financing and organisation would have to be considered carefully.

141. We urge the Government to consider this option, which we believe could provide security and military services with great reliability and competence. We note the conclusion of our predecessor Foreign Affairs Committee in its Sierra Leone Report—albeit relating to limited evidence on experience in that country—that the "economic benefit which private military companies and arms traffickers bring is ... marginal."[173] Given the costs inherent in regulating the private sector to perform the tasks discussed in this Report, we recommend that the Government weigh these costs carefully against the option of developing a publicly funded armed service cadre to provide on a commercial basis the tasks currently being undertaken by PMCs.


142. Our predecessor Foreign Affairs Committee pointed out that the "illegal part of Sandline's operation in Sierra Leone was not, of course, any supply of personnel but the supply of arms."[175] It recommended that the Government "take the lead in initiatives in Europe and/or the United Nations aimed at drawing up an international legal instrument on trafficking or brokering in arms subject to embargo."[176] It also recommended that national legislation to control arms trafficking and brokering "be introduced no later than in the next parliamentary session."[177] [178]

143. The then Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, wrote to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee on 18 May 1999 promising that controls on trafficking and brokering of arms "would be brought in as part of the new primary legislation on export controls envisaged in the DTI White Paper on Strategic Export Controls." Legislation, the Foreign Secretary stated, would be introduced "as soon as legislative time is available."[179]

144. Though arms trafficking and brokering is not addressed in the Green Paper, one proposal put to us in this Inquiry was that tightening up arms brokering regulations would enable the Government to control one of the most damaging private military activities, even without the establishment of a new regulatory regime. Michael Bilton told us that he was "hugely ambivalent"[180] about regulation, because he was "not sure that we actually have the mechanisms to be certain in our own minds that what [PMCs] could be doing is going to be in our best interests."[181] However, he suggested that arms brokering such as that undertaken by Sandline International in both its Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea operations[182] might be controlled effectively through legislation similar to the US Arms Export Control Act.[183]

145. Arms brokering has also been raised by the Quadripartite Committee in its Report on the Draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill. The Committee recognised the "practical difficulties in seeking to extend controls to activities by UK citizens or companies outside the UK," but nonetheless saw "compelling arguments in favour of extending controls on brokering and trafficking to activities outside the country and recommend that controls be introduced on the activities of UK citizens and companies wherever they take place."[184] In its response to the Quadripartite Committee's Report, the Government merely noted this recommendation, and stated its intention to deal with the matter in secondary legislation.[185]

146. In the dummy secondary legislation relating to the Export Control Bill (2001), the Government has provided for the application of extra-territorial jurisdiction only on transfers to embargoed destinations, transfers of torture equipment or long range missiles.[186] The trafficking and brokering of small arms, light weapons and ammunition is not covered. At the Report stage of the Bill in the Upper House, Lords Razzall and Joffe sought to extend extra-territoriality specifically to the small arms trade. They argued that the Government's unwillingness to apply extra-territorial jurisdiction on all conventional weapons constitutes a violation of its election manifesto commitment to "control the activities of arms brokers and traffickers wherever they are located."[187]

147. Lord Sainsbury, defending the Government's dummy legislation, claimed that the application of extra-territorial jurisdiction to small arms had been attempted by the US, but that it had been difficult to implement. Nigel Griffiths, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, made the same point when this matter was debated at the Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Commons.[188] Lord Sainsbury also stated that such extension of extra-territoriality would "risk criminalising the involvement of UK nationals settled overseas in the legitimate export of defence equipment from their countries of residence," because these individuals might not be aware of the new law.[189]

148. We find the Government's arguments against extending extra-territorial controls over the trafficking and brokering of arms unconvincing. We further note arguments put forward by the UK Working Group on Arms (UKWG)[190] regarding the practicalities of policing small arms brokering: UKWG told the Quadripartite Committee that criminalising small arms brokering by UK national anywhere in the world would have a deterrent effect, and also that enhanced international co-operation against organised crime and the sharing of intelligence would ensure that such a prohibition could be policed.[191] Since UKWG made this statement, significant efforts have been made to enhance international intelligence sharing to prevent terrorist activity.[192] In our view, this intelligence co-operation could also be applied to the policing of arms trafficking and brokering.

149. We conclude that improving controls over the trafficking and brokering of arms would curb some of the most damaging activities of private military companies. We further conclude that, because of improved international intelligence co-operation since the terrorist attacks of 11 September, policing such controls should be possible. We recommend that the Government apply extra-territorial jurisdiction to the brokering and trafficking of arms at the earliest opportunity.

150. We are concerned that a private military company could become involved in arms trading, by leaving within the host country arms ostensibly imported for the company's own use. We recommend that any prospective regulatory regime for private military companies be co-ordinated with the Government's existing export controls, to ensure that arms used by a PMC in fulfilment of a contract do not remain in a country subject to embargo.


151. We discussed in paragraphs 41 to 48 above the need for the Government to consider carefully the appropriate mechanisms for holding PMCs to account. A regulatory regime without monitoring would not be credible.

152. The notion that attachés might be made responsible for monitoring companies' activities has been proposed by Tim Spicer.[193] Denis MacShane was "not sure that it is a role that defence attachés could or should carry out," but expressed no alternative proposal for monitoring PMCs: "Whether or not there could be monitors attached, particularly with regard to ensuring that there were no improper or human rights violations, ... is an interesting thought. Whether they could come from some body other than HMG is also an interesting thought."[194]

153. Defence attachés have a multiplicity of tasks and may not be resident in all relevant countries. However, in some situations it may be possible for embassy staff, including attachés, to play some role in monitoring the work of PMCs. Embassy staff are frequently in close contact with the staff of UN agencies, non-governmental humanitarian and human rights organisations, national armed forces and national humanitarian and development agencies (including DFID) and with delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, all of whom frequently work alongside PMCs and are able to observe their operations. The Government might consider the extent to which these contacts might be used as an informal monitoring mechanism to help the Government to gauge the quality of PMCs' work overseas.[195] We recommend that the Government consider establishing an informal appraisal and complaints mechanism, which would operate through consultations between UK officials in posts and the organizations operating alongside PMCs in the field.

154. In addition to this, a formal monitoring mechanism is probably also necessary to ensure that British Government regulation of PMCs has credibility and that sanctions against offenders can be enforced.

155. David Stewart Howitt discussed this idea with us, and proposed that a monitoring and evaluation unit be established the primary function of which would be "to monitor compliance with the regulatory ToRs [terms of reference] and report on such issues to the British Government. Its monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities must be systematic and admissible in British and international courts of law." He suggested that a monitoring and evaluation unit be "staffed by sectoral and regional experts with the appropriate knowledge to scrutinise the activities and conduct of any contracted PMC ... conversant with internationally recognized security best practices and qualified in such fields as human rights, political and economic development, environment etc."[196]

156. In paragraphs 74-75 above, we note the existence of a large number of highly trained former British armed forces personnel, who would be well qualified to assess the quality and reliability of PMCs working in unstable environments overseas. Such personnel might well welcome the opportunity to use their expertise in this way, albeit on a part-time basis.

157. We recommend that the Government establish as an integral part of any regulatory system an appropriate monitoring and evaluation regime, and make full co-operation with that regime a condition of the granting of licences to PMCs.


158. The Green Paper states that if the Government decided to adopt a licensing or other regulatory regime for the export of military services, "it would be logical for this to be subject to the same reporting requirements vis à vis Parliament as is the case for arms export licences."[197] Arms export licences are currently documented in the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls, which is submitted to the House of Commons Quadripartite Committee for scrutiny. This Annual Report provides details of arms exports, including the size and composition of the licensed export and the destination country. End users are not specified, for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

159. Bruce George and Simon H Cooper propose that "Parliamentary oversight of the license issuing process would be essential with a number of Parliamentary Committees, individually or collectively participating. The House of Commons Defence Select Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee or the Home Affairs Select Committee could all have a role to play, either separately or by operating along the lines of the so-called Quadripartite Committee."[198] We would add to this list the International Development Committee.

160. We conclude that procedures similar to those for Parliamentary scrutiny of arms export licences should apply to any regulation of PMCs, with prior Parliamentary scrutiny being applied to any licence applications that might involve PMCs in the provision of armed combat services.


161. Though the Green Paper does not offer this option, it was suggested to us that the Government might consider doing "very little" or "nothing" to regulate the private military sector.[199] We reject the do-nothing option. As the Sandline affair demonstrated, the dangers of inaction in this area of foreign policy are considerable.

162. In this Report, we propose a strong regulatory regime. We recommend that private military and security companies be required to obtain a general licence before undertaking permitted military/security activities overseas. We further recommend the establishment of a licensing regime which, with limited exceptions, would require companies to seek the Government's permission before accepting each contract for a military/security operation overseas. We also recommend the prohibition of all combat activities by private military companies.

163. Such a strong regulatory regime would need a substantial enforcement mechanism to ensure its credibility. As we indicate above, this mechanism will have significant costs for the companies themselves and possibly for the Government. We recommend that the Government consider very carefully how to ensure that the benefits of permitting a regulated private military sector to operate from the United Kingdom are not outweighed by the costs of establishing and maintaining a regime for their regulation.

137   Q165. Back

138   Q131. Back

139   Q15. Back

140   Green Paper para. 11. Back

141   Report of the Committee of Privy Counsellors appointed to inquire into the recruitment of mercenaries (the 'Diplock Report'), HMSO, August 1976. Back

142   Diplock Report para. 40. Back

143   Regulating Private Military Companies: options for the UK Government. Chaloka Beyani and Damian Lilly, International Alert, August 2001 (ISBN: 1-898702-07-3). Back

144   This was how one practitioner described recruitment procedures at the FCO seminar on PMCs, University of Birmingham, 24 June 2002. Back

145   See, for example, Ev 66. Back

146   In his evidence, Denis MacShane mentioned paedophile cases (Q164). The 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act is relevant here. International Alert also note that the Chemical Weapons Act of 1996 and the Landmines Act of 1998 contain provision for extraterritorial powers. International legislation to prosecute war criminals is another relevant example.  Back

147   We note that on 3 April 2002, the French Council of Ministers approved a draft Bill which would make it an offence to engage in mercenary activities on French territory. The French text of the Bill is available at The definition of mercenary used in the Bill is very similar to that of Article 47 of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which was ratified by France in October 2001. See also paragraph 24 above.  Back

148   Green Paper para. 73. Back

149   See Ev 79. Back

150   See Ev 1. Back

151   See Ev 68, para. 20. Back

152   See Ev 68, para. 29. Back

153   See Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2000-2001, Draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill, HC 445, para. 62. Back

154   See Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2000-2001, Draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill, HC 445, Evidence: Q270. Back

155   See Ev 1. Back

156   See Ev 79. Back

157   As recommended by Bruce George MP and Simon H Cooper, Ev 79. Back

158   The last suggestion was proposed by ArmorGroup, Ev 66. Back

159   See Ev 1; see also Ev 66. Back

160   Green Paper para. 74. Back

161   This bears some similarity to the US legislation relating to PMCs, which is described in paras. 26-28 above. The proposal was put to us in a memorandum from ArmorGroup: Ev 66. Back

162   In the United States, contracts with NATO countries and Sweden do not require assessments before export licences for arms or armed services are granted. Countries under embargo are automatically rejected. There is also a "presumption of denial" for the provision of military services which would lead to a lethal outcome. See Regulating Private Military Companies: options for the UK Government. Chaloka Beyani and Damian Lilly, International Alert, August 2001, p.32 (ISBN: 1-898702-07-3).  Back

163   See paras. 119-120 above. Back

164   See Ev 66. Back

165   See Ev 1. Back

166   See Second Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 1998-1999, Sierra Leone, HC 116-I, para. 26 and Evidence QQ 782-778, 803, 805-7, 8530-7, 912-928, 932-952, 1044-7.  Back

167   See Ev 21. Back

168   See for example 'Review of airport security firm shows security breaches continue,' CNN, 17 October 2001, available at: Back

169   Green Paper para. 75. Back

170   See Ev 1; see also Ev 21. Back

171   Green Paper para. 70. Back

172   Q180. Back

173   See Second Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 1998-1999, Sierra Leone, HC 116-I, para. 96. Back

174   The Government defines trafficking as the "involvement in buying and/or selling goods," and brokering as "acting as an agent in putting a deal together between supplier and customer or making the practical arrangements for the supply of the goods." Strategic Export Controls, Cm 3989, July 1998.  Back

175   See Second Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 1998-1999, Sierra Leone, HC 116-I, para. 95. Back

176   Ibid. Back

177   Ibid., para. 96. Back

178   The Government replied that it was "committed to introducing legislation to implement proposals in the White Paper on Strategic Export Controls" and stated that "The Committee's support for the introduction of legislation to extend controls on brokering and trafficking is welcome." Back

179   Letter from the Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, Foreign Secretary, to Donald Anderson MP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, 18 May 1999.  Back

180   See Ev 13. Back

181   Q47. Back

182   Sandline International shipped weapons from a company in Belarus to Papua New Guinea via Bulgaria (Ev 13), and was involved in the supply of military equipment from Bulgaria to Sierra Leone.  Back

183   Q48. ITAR, described in paragraphs 26-28 above, implements the Arms Export Control Act.  Back

184   See Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2000-2001, Draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill, HC 445. Back

185   Official Report, 9 July 2001, col. 570.  Back

186   The dummy secondary legislation relating to the trafficking and brokering of arms was published on 9 October 2001 (Dep 01/1714).  Back

187   Lords Official Report, 18 April 2002, c.1136; 'The Export Control Bill Revisited,' House of Commons Library paper, 13 June 2002, and Times Guide to the House of Commons, June 2001, p.345. Jenny Tonge MP, in the Committee Stage in the Commons, also stated her concern that "the Government's manifesto commitment was to control the activities of arms brokers and traffickers wherever they were located. There was no intention, in the Labour Party's manifesto, to limit the legislation to these shores" (House of Commons Standing Committee B, 16 October 2001).  Back

188   Jenny Tonge MP argued that "it is now the easiest thing in the world, if a person's activities as an arms broker are banned in, say, Surrey, for them to nip across to their house in the Caribbean or in mainland Europe and carry on their activities there. It seems extraordinary that the Government should not want to include the activities of arms brokers-wherever they are-in the scope of the Bill." Jenny Tonge proposed that extraterritoriality should be applied in United Kingdom anti-brokering legislation as it is in the United States. Nigel Griffiths replied that enforcement of such a measure would be very difficult to implement: "We plan through the Bill to crack down on the abuses and abusers within our jurisdiction ... [but] it is pointless having a regime such as that of the US ... if the enforcement regime is weak." House of Commons Standing Committee B, 16 October 2001.  Back

189   Lords Official Report 18 April 2002 c1137. Back

190   UK Working Group on Arms is a coalition of six non-governmental organisations: Amnesty International, BASIC, Christian Aid, International Alert, Oxfam and Saferworld.  Back

191   See Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2000-2001, Draft Export Control and Non- Proliferation Bill, HC 445. Minutes of Evidence-Memorandum submitted by UKWG, p.7, Q12. Back

192   See Seventh Report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2001-2002, Foreign Policy Aspects of the War Against Terrorism, HC 384, paras 22, 30, 52, 56, 101. Back

193   See Ev 1. Back

194   Q177. Back

195   It should not be assumed that the staff of humanitarian organisations or UN agencies would be opposed to the work of PMCs, and therefore would prove unreliable witnesses. As the Green Paper points out, it is "striking that a number of those who are prepared to consider a role for PMCs are people who have had experience in humanitarian operations or UN work" (para 56). Those who have worked in international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations should be well aware of the need to maintain security in unstable environments, and of the constraints which prevent national armed forces from fulfilling these security requirements. Many such international staff could be expected to respond in a balanced way to requests for information by the British Government, if doing so would help to regulate the environment in which they work. Back

196   See Ev 21. Back

197   Green Paper para. 77. Back

198   See Ev 79. Back

199   See Ev 13. Back

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