This research, carried out by the Novact, together with Jordi Palou-Loverdos and Leticia Armendáriz, is an important contribution to the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries’ task.

These kinds of partnerships are very important for the monitoring of the activities of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs). Some light needs to be shed on the activities performed by these PMSCs to end impunity and generate conditions of accountability for human rights’ abuses elsewhere, combining the strengths of the UN resources and the resources of the International community.

It is worth mentioning the synergy between the international team members in relation to this very complex question, more specifically between the Iraqi researchers who gathered information in the field in Iraq, and the international researchers who collected and interpreted dates and information.

This research is rigorous and well structured. The main subject is the violation of human rights by PMSCs in Iraq. Each fact is well documented with sources, and includes an analysis of the facts regarding national and international PMSC activities in Iraq. It also includes resource-extraction companies and construction companies which are related in some way to PMSCs and possibly related to human rights’ violations. The reader will find it very easy to access the sources; in fact each annex contains the link to the main original article or source.

This document represents a great symbiotic integration of theory and practice and contains very detailed information on the normative elements, resolutions and the judicial decisions by courts of justice.

From a theoretical point of view it is worth mentioning that the research covers the international standard and the international convention project for controlling PSMCs activities, as well as the laws of the USA and Iraq, and an analysis of the human rights’ impact of these companies over the Iraqi people and society.

As was reported by the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries in 2011, “in recent decade Iraq has been a major theatre of operations for private military and security companies. A series of high-profile incidents involving such companies, such as the Nissour Square shooting in 2007, have focused attention on the negative impact of their activities on human rights. Such incidents have prompted efforts to ensure that security companies and their personnel are held responsible for violations of human rights”.

Although very hard to accomplish, research in a conflict zone is vital in order to inform the international community of the violation of international human rights by PMSCs. This is the added value of this research.

Given the impunity and the international legal emptiness in the theatre of operations of PMSCs, it is essential that UN Members adopt an international instrument in order to control and regulate the action of PMSCs.

José L. Gómez del Prado, Member (and former Chairperson-Rapporteur) United nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries

 About the researchers: 


Lawyer, Mediator and national and international conflict resolution Consultant, J. Palou- Loverdos holds a Lawyer Degree, a Master in Criminal Law from the University of Barcelona (currently he is preparing the PhD), and a Master in Mediation and Conflict Resolution from the Ramon Llull University of Barcelona (Spain). He is co-director of AEQUITAS – Mediation and Alternative Conflict Resolution (ACR) Service Office. He lectures Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Transitional Justice at various Universities. He is member of the Barcelona ́s BAR (and executive member of its International Criminal Justice Section). He is also member of the International Criminal BAR and lawyer at the International Criminal Court based in Den Haag. He was granted with honourable mention to the 2009 Peace Price of the Catalan Government for his research International justice, plunder in war, human rights and multinationals, by The Office for the Promotion of Peace and Human Rights, Generalitat de Cataluña, 2010. Complementary to the above, some of the main researches he published are Objection, a pacifist revolution, Columna (1998); War crimes against Spanish, Rwandese and Congolese in Central Africa, Revista Electronica de Estudios Internacionales (2007); Mediation and Transitional Justice: global approaches aimed at establishing harmony and featuring the involvement of victims and civil society – (Courts and mediation: New Paths for Justice), European Press Academic Publishing (2011).

He got interested in the defence of Human Rights of individuals and collectives in unfavourable social situations at an early age. As head and coordinator in the pacifist civil disobedience campaign of conscientious objectors to Compulsory Military Service, organized by the Association of Conscientious Objectors, he took on the legal defence and assistance in oral trials of about 50 conscientious objectors until the abolition of the compulsory military service in Spain was achieved. With more that 20 year of practice in Law, he heads several theoretical and practical initiatives and investigations in the field of Justice, Human Rights, accountability and multinational corporations, Mediation and Peaceful Conflict Resolution. In the last decade, he has participated -through justice and mediation projects- in several processes of peaceful conflict resolution related to situations in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Guantánamo and Afghanistan. Since 2001 he has assumed the legal representation of Catalan, Spanish, Rwandese and Congolese victims in the Conflict in Central Africa so as to succeed in an international action in favour of truth and justice before courts. Since 2004, J. Palou Loverdos is also a facilitator and responsible of the Intra-Rwandese Dialogue (IRD).


She is consulting lecturer in law -Public International Law and Human Rights Law- at the Open University of Catalunya (UOC). Doctor in Law from the UOC. PhD’thesis focused on war crimes in internal armed conflicts. She was visiting professional at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2008-2009). She also held research residences at the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) – Columbia University (2006), and the Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas (IIJ) – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (2004). Among her publications and presentations are “The formulation of International Humanitarian Law applicable to non-international armed conflicts” (trans), in Revista Española de Derecho Militar (2008), and Peace Agreements: Dealing with Past Abuses. Responsible Peacemaking: A Critical Evaluation of Scholarly Contribution in Conflict Prevention, Peace Negotiations and Peacebuilding, 48th International Studies Association Annual Convention (2007).