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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Legalization of private military companies: the conflict with the criminal code

First Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the lower house of Parliament on state construction and legislation Mikhail Emelyanov said Wednesday that the state Duma will introduce a bill that would legalize in Russia the activities of private military companies. A day earlier about the need to protect the interests of our citizens working in PMCs abroad, said the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. By the way, this is not the first attempt to translate in a legal plane PMCs.

photo: Oleg fochkin

Why now again talking about the legalization of PMCs and how will be solved the issue with the conflict of the bill on PMCs and the Criminal code of Russia, who will be responsible for the employees of PMCs and how to buy or obtain a weapon, “MK” has learned from the expert.

Private military companies in conflicts of the 20th century have become quite familiar elements of the landscape. PMCs first appeared in Britain in the 60-ies. But were they mainly tasks for the protection of important objects and worked in the “gray area”. Western States made them a tool for solving problems where regular troops to “light up” could not.

The end of the Cold war was the beginning of the legalization of the activities of such companies. Since then, there have been attempts to legitimize PMCs, both at the level of individual States, and to prescribe their rights and obligations at the international level. The impetus for the revitalization of this activity was the scandal with the us Blackwater in Iraq. Her soldiers were accused of shooting civilians and torturing prisoners of war. In the end, the question of the responsibility of PMCs arose very sharply.

September 17, 2008 was adopted the Montreux document – a set of recommendations rather than strict rules. This was the first attempt at the international level, to register all the aspects of the activities of private military companies. According to the document “PMCs are private business entities that provide military and/or security services, irrespective of how they describe themselves. Military and security services include armed protection and the protection of people and objects, such as convoys, buildings and other places; maintenance and operation of weapons systems; detention of prisoners; and advice to or training of local soldiers and guards.” In General, anything directly on the conduct of hostilities is not stated.

In Russia, however, PMCs fall under the two articles of the criminal code: “the Mercenary” and “Organization of illegal armed formation”. To purchase weapons of war in our country is also impossible. However, the question of whether to legalize the PMC discussed for the past 6 years. In 2012 Vladimir Putin emphasized the necessity of such structures, and even started an active discussion of the bill in the state Duma, however on the last stage of its “wrapped”. Until now it was nearly four attempts to translate the private military companies in Russia on a legal basis.

Apparently, we now ignore media reports about activities of Russian PMCs Wagner and alleged battalion “Turan” operating in Syria, has become, to put it mildly, difficult. According to one of the authors of the bill, Mikhail Yemelyanov, PMC have proved to be excellent in Syria and are ideal for the protection of the interests of the allied States against external aggression and participation in anti-terrorist operations. That is, we officially designate that the PMC will conduct combat actions. However, apparently only by invitation and through any formal structure.

While the bill is still at the stage of preparation. However, it is already clear what the problem it needs to solve and what are the conflict points remove. “MK” talked with Vladimir Neelov, expert of the Center for strategic market of the future bill and issues in its preparation.

– How to solve the conflict with the criminal code of Russia? In fact, according to him, PMC is governed by two articles.

– I think that the conflict now is only because there is no law about PMC, there is no concept of “employee PMC”. Now, according to the criminal code, all those involved in armed conflicts, a number of features fall under the definition of “mercenaries”. This happens, again, just due to the fact that the concept of PMCs and their activities are not legalized. The adoption of the law essentially introduces a new category and as a result will remove a number of questions. The concept of “mercenary” and “PMC employee” will be divided, most likely.

According to the Montreux document, PMC directly not participating in the fighting. Rather, they perform the functions of the security company or provide services of consultants. We seem to be trying to make the staff of PMCs full-fledged combatants. What can this entail?

Such an interesting pattern can be traced. All attempts to legalize the activities of PMCs came from the spravedlivorosami. And this case was no exception. By the way, Michael Emelyanov — a lawyer by training and a team that is working on similar bills, all too well aware of the international impact of the adoption of such a document. I can’t draw any conclusions because the bill still impossible to read. Judging by the statements Yemelyanov, we decided to rely on it to recognize the PMC combatants. And you need to take into account that international law in this area is not developed, Russia will be able to nominate their initiatives. Such experience in the working groups of the UN are already there. It seems to me that the team working on the bill, will make the wording streamlined.

– How the problem will be solved with the purchase of weapons, because in Russia you can buy it officially, too, is impossible?

– I think this is resolved by using the licensing of all the activities of PMCs. I think this procedure should also be outlined in the bill. Assume that would be spelled out a list of weapons that will be available PMCs requirements for staff. In this regard, the question arises, “Who will deal with the licensing?”. There is three structures, the FSB, the defense Ministry and the interior Ministry. Or the interdepartmental Commission.

– What social guarantees, in your opinion, should be spelled out in the contracts? As in the case of conflict the PMC with other social institutions abroad should behave in the country, whose citizens are in this PMC work?

– I think there’s functions will be split between the state and the company. At the global level — the protection of the rights of citizens-employees of PMCs will be provided by the state. For example, in the case of getting captured. The perfect model of behavior in such situations in the United States — they first take out their nationals on their territory, and then deal with them (or do not understand, as it often happened in Iraq). There is another option of the situation — if the PMC hires a multinational Corporation. Then it turns out that the responsibility should be borne by the company-employer. And from the point of view of social guarantees, they are likely to fall on the shoulders of the PMC. Likely to be procedure of life insurance, the health of the employee.

– Why talk about it already in fact at the stage of completion of the campaign in Syria?

– If you look globally, the involvement of Russia in conflicts around the world increases every year. And each time to start the operation with the use of the armed forces, firstly, expensive and secondly, the society is unhappy, because the burden of financing will fall on the shoulders of citizens. You can’t forget about the interests of Russian companies interested in operating on the African continent. And they also need security in this troubled region. And then PMCs can provide it. Speaking specifically of countries, in our interests in the Sudan. Though no less urgent is the problem with Afghanistan is actively negotiating for the Taliban. There is a vital history of drug trafficking from Afghanistan.

By the way, as a source told “MK”, close to the PMC in Syria, most likely so active on the topic of the legalization of PMCs began to develop because of the needed presence in Africa.

– The army will not be there. Will PMC — said the source.


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