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Ghosts in the Machine: Some Legal Issues Concerning US Military Contractors in Iraq

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Chapter Summary

This chapter offers an overview of some of the most important legal issues raised in connection with the use of military contractors (focusing on the case of Iraq). Estimations put the number of private individuals employed on contingency contracts for the Coalition Forces in Iraq at anywhere from 20,000-30,000. As for the applicable law, the chapter is concerned primarily with the use of private contractors to perform mainly military, but also security functions, in a country where there has at all relevant times been an armed conflict, the law of armed conflict (LOAC), otherwise known as international humanitarian law (IHL), applies as the lex specialis. Private military companies (PMCs) are companies registered under the applicable domestic company law. As PMCs are incorporated in states, they are subject to all of the relevant national law (company law, tax law, contract law, etc.) rather than international law.

Keywords: Coalition Forces in Iraq; domestic company law; international humanitarian law (IHL); Iraq; law of armed conflict (LOAC); legal issues; private military companies (PMCs); US military contractors



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