Sunday, February 21, 2010

New publication on private military companies...

The issues surrounding the use of private military companies have long been of more than tangential interest to the field of global administrative law; it represents in many ways the paradigmatic example of "outsourcing" of public functions (indeed, the public function par excellence) to private actors.

The recent volume edited by Simon Chesterman and Angelina Fisher, Private Security, Public Order: The Outsourcing of Public Services and its Limits (OUP, November 2009) deals squarely with the GAL aspects of this issue. The introductory chapter is available in full here. This is the second edited volume emerging from New York University School of Law's Institute for International Justice project on private military and security companies; the first, From Mercenaries to Market: The Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies, edited by Chesterman and Chia Lehnardt, was published by OUP in 2007.

Here is the (edited) blurb from the new volume:

Private actors are increasingly taking on roles traditionally arrogated to the state. Both in the industrialized North and the developing South, functions essential to external and internal security and to the satisfaction of basic human needs are routinely contracted out to non-state agents. In the area of privatization of security functions, attention by academics and policy makers tends to focus on the activities of private military and security companies, especially in the context of armed conflicts, and their impact on human rights and post-conflict stability and reconstruction...

[This volume] looks at the transformations in the nature of state authority. Drawing on insights from work on privatization, regulation, and accountability in the emerging field of global administrative law, the book examines private military and security companies through the wider lens of private actors performing public functions. In the past two decades, the responsibilities delegated to such actors - especially but not only in the United States - have grown exponentially. The central question of this volume is whether there should be any limits on government capacity to outsource traditionally "public" functions. Can and should a government put out to private tender the fulfillment of military, intelligence, and prison services? Can and should it transfer control of utilities essential to life, such as the supply of water? This discussion incorporates numerous perspectives on regulatory and governance issues in the private provision of public functions, but focuses primarily on private actors offering services that impact the fundamental rights of the affected population.

And the table of contents:

Introduction — Simon Chesterman & Angelina Fisher

Part I: Accountability gaps
1. The privatization of violence — Michael Likosky
2. The responsibility of states — Olivier De Schutter
3. Accountability to whom? — Angelina Fisher

Part II: Lessons from other sectors
4. The privatization continuum — Daphne Barak-Erez
5. Private prisons and the democratic deficit — Alfred C. Aman, Jr.
6. Regulatory choices in the privatization of infrastructure — Mariana Mota Prado
7. Human rights and self-regulation in the apparel industry — Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt

Part III: Limits
8. Police informants — Jacqueline Ross
9. Intelligence services — Simon Chesterman
10. Peacekeeping — Chia Lehnardt

11. Conclusion: Private security, public order — Simon Chesterman & Angelina Fisher

Essential reading for those working in this particular field, and well worth a look for anyone interested in the public/private nexus within the field of GAL.


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