Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Private military corporations, Human rights violations, Iraq


Since wars have existed, there have been soldiers for hire. As the state evolved, originating during the peace of Westphalia, and matured, the definition and the business of mercenarism have gone through many mutations. Today, and particularly since the 1970s, mercenaries have banded together, incorporating themselves as private military firms, some of which are units of multinational corporations. Private Military Corporations (PMCs) offer expertise ranging from construction to logistics but a number of contractors have been accused of human rights violations, particularly in the current theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The theme of this thesis is that PMCs need to be regulated globally in order to prevent the prolongation of conflicts and the instability stemming from human rights violations. In considering this theme, this thesis employs three case studies of civil wars in which PMCs were heavily involved. It concludes that a variety of existing domestic, regional and international regulations can be expanded and strengthened in order to provide a robust regulative regime.



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