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Public Presentation


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 protected]

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