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Enhancing Accountability for Private Security Contractors at War
Friday, February 8th, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Capitol Building, Senate Side, Room SC4, Washington, DC
Panelists will discuss the current lack of accountability private security contractors operating on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, and offer a number of practical recommendations for addressing and correcting this increasingly dangerous situation.
Kevin Lanigan, Director, Human Rights First’s Law & Security Program
Scott Horton, Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia University
James Cockayne, International Peace Academy
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USAR (Ret.)
Kevin Lanigan and Scott Horton are the authors of a recent Human Rights First report, “Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity” (January 2008). James Cockayne, who formerly served as Director of the Australian Attorney-General’s Transnational Crime and Extradition Units and has worked on war crimes trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and in Sierra Leone, has been involved in research and policy development initiatives on the private security sector for four years, and currently co-manages the International Peace Academy’s Coping with Crisis research and policy-development program. Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USAR (Ret.), former Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, currently practices law in New York City with Anderson, Kill & Olick, P.C.
The panelists will present a briefing on the basic legal framework under which private security contractors operate; impediments to holding contractors criminally responsible for serious crimes committed abroad; the institutional failures of the U.S. government to establish an effective system for holding contractors legally accountable; and the consequences of these failures to U.S. national security, and to the safety of local civilians, American troops and the contractors themselves. The panelists will also discuss several immediate, practical recommendations for addressing these failures, as well as broader issues posed by the U.S. government’s increasing reliance on private security contractors.
For additional information or media inquiries, please contact:
Devon Chaffee, (202) 370-3306, email@example.com
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”