This research programme is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation under its multiannual call for proposals. The project began in July 2007 with the objective to define and analyze the legal framework of private military companies operating in period of armed conflict. It is carried out under the supervision of Prof. Marco Sassoli and Prof. Vincent Chetail.
Given the increasingly significant role of private companies in contemporary armed conflicts, it is more important than ever to determine the basis on which international humanitarian law can be applied to them. This research also aims at defining the content of the norms by which they may be bound as well as the accountability mechanisms that could be engaged in case of violations of international humanitarian law. The research will result in the publication of a monograph written in English in 2011.