Soldiers of Fortune - Holding Private Security Contractors Accountable: The Alien Tort Claims Act and Its Potential Application to Abtan, et Al. V. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc., et Al

By Dahl, Matthew C. | Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

Soldiers of Fortune - Holding Private Security Contractors Accountable: The Alien Tort Claims Act and Its Potential Application to Abtan, et Al. V. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc., et Al


Dahl, Matthew C., Denver Journal of International Law and Policy


Private security contractors play a prominent role in modern military operations. Of course the use of paid forces is not a new concept. Militaries utilized paid forces for hundreds of years, but technological advances have increased the mobility and firepower of private security contractors. (2) The United States now relies heavily on the private military industry in conducting its worldwide military operations. (3) The U.S. used private security contractors to conduct narcotics intervention operations in Columbia in the 1990's. (4) During the conflict in the Balkans, the U.S. used a private security contractor to train Croat troops to conduct operations against Serbian troops. (5) Contracting out these operations allowed the U.S. to decrease its footprint in these conflicts, or leave no footprint at all. Today the U.S. has as many as 30,000 private security contractors in Iraq. (6) However, repeated reports of misconduct by private security contractors are making the industry endure a level of scrutiny never encountered before. This note will focus on the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) as a civil remedy to the misconduct by private security contractors overseas and how the case law regarding the ATCA will affect the recent lawsuit brought in the case of Abtan v. Blackwater. (7)

I. THE TREND TOWARD USING PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

Governments use private security contractors for both practical and political reasons. Private military companies provide a wide range of services from training to post-conflict/reconstruction support to direct military support. (8) On the practical side, using private security contractors allows the military to delegate certain functions it would normally have to perform on its own. This delegation allows the military to focus its forces on higher priority issues. (9) From a political perspective, using private security contractors allows countries to circumvent governmental regulations on how many troops they can send into a conflict area. (10) Governments also benefit politically by utilizing private security contractors because public opinion is less affected by the injury or death of a contractor than an enlisted soldier. (11)

Private security contractors are used in conflicts of all sizes. Governments all around the world are trending towards outsourcing military and security functions to these private security contractors. (12) Today, several hundred private security firms exist around the world and have a combined annual revenue of $100 billion. (13) Countries in Africa used them in small scale regional conflicts. For example, the government of Sierra Leone hired the South African private security firm Executive Outcomes to conduct direct military operations against a rebel group that took control of major diamond mines in the country. (14)

The U.S. continues to use them in the larger scale conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. (15) Approximately 100,000 contractors are present in Iraq and a significant number of them are security contractors (16) This number is ten times the number of contractors used by the U.S. in the first Persian Gulf War, and is almost equal to the number of active duty military personnel in Iraq. (17)

The U.S. is growing increasingly more reliant on private security contractors in its operations in Iraq. A 2007 House of Representatives memorandum noted that as of March 2006, 181 private security firms operated in Iraq, employing 48,000 employees. (18) During the reconstruction period in Iraq, the U.S. has spent $3.8 billion on security contractors. (19) Salaries for employees of these contractors can get as high as $33,000 a month. (20) These numbers account for 12.5% of U.S. government spending on reconstruction in Iraq. (21) Notwithstanding this large government expenditure on private security contractors, numerous reports of contractors' misconduct have surfaced while no legal restraints exist to control them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Soldiers of Fortune - Holding Private Security Contractors Accountable: The Alien Tort Claims Act and Its Potential Application to Abtan, et Al. V. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc., et Al
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.