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Private Military Company Industry


On the 8th of June, SIB Groningen organizes an evening about the Private Military Company (PMC) Industry. In October 2014 four Blackwater Worldwide guards were convicted by a U.S. federal jury for the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians. This shooting that happened in 2007 in Baghdad, capital of Iraq, sparked a worldwide outcry that questioned the use of private military companies for security purposes.

Nowadays, the PMC Industry is worth over more than 100 billion. The services of private contractors are used around the world. P. W. Singer, author of ‘Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry’ says “In geographic terms, it operates in over 50 different countries. It’s operated in every single continent but Antarctica.” Singer states that in the 1990s there used to be 50 military personnel for every 1 contractor, now the ratio is 10 to 1.

However, many question the legality of the use of private military personnel. The hiring of mercenaries is prohibited by the United Nations Mercenary Convention; the United Kingdom and United States are not signatories to the convention, and the United States has rejected the UN’s classification of PMCs as mercenaries. Regarding the state’s monopoly on violence and the use of these PMC’s abroad they step into a grey legal area.

Rene Hiemstra will be the speaker of tonight. He will tell us more about the currently operating PMCs, the work they do, the reasons governments contract PMCs and the controversies surrounding it.