Oud Programma

Violence for hire? The (Inevitable?) Rise of Private Military Companies in Modern Conflicts

The Netherlands Atlantic Youth organized an online program called:


Violence for hire? The (Inevitable?) Rise of Private Military Companies in Modern Conflicts


In the past years, there has been a substantial increase in the activities of Private Military Companies (PMCs). States, multinationals and terror organizations are increasingly resorting to the usage of private soldiers. Stories of foreign mercenaries and private military company personnel roaming around in conflict areas like Libya, Ukraine, Yemen and Mozambique are increasingly making up the headlines. Why are these ‘soldiers of fortune’ so important now? Do they challenge the authority of states, and how can human rights be preserved when such oftenly illicit actors are present in modern conflicts?


This event shed a light on these issues. It featured an online panel discussion concerning the recent history, present-day activities and future of PMCs. Special attention was paid to the increase in legal and moral concerns regarding the activities of such companies. Moreover, the discussion addresses the question whether the recent surge in PMCs activities poses a threat to the state’s monopoly on the use of force and the broader implications of a more widespread use of military contractors.


The event featured Ms. Jelena Aparac, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Dr. Sean McFate, who currently works as professor of strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has served in the U.S. military and as a private military contractor before that and Dr. Kai Hebel, who works as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Leiden University.



Photo: Justin Connaher/ U.S. Air Force

Watch the program here:

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