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The Montreux Document

The Montreux Document on Pertinent International Legal Obligations and Good Practices for States Related to Operations of Private Military and Security Companies during Armed Conflict (herein after the Montreux Document) is an intergovernmental initiative, launched cooperatively by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross, supported by DCAF, to promote respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law whenever private military and security companies (PMSCs) are present in armed conflicts. The Montreux Document encourages the adoption of national regulations on PMSCs designed to strengthen respect for international law. The Montreux Document also offers practical guidance in contexts outside situations of armed conflicts as its good practices are best implemented during peacetime.

The Montreux Document was endorsed by seventeen states when it was first adopted in 2008. Six years later, 51 states and three intergovernmental organisations have endorsed the Montreux Document. Together, they represent an enormous knowledge base of good practice reflecting a variety of legal systems and different experiences of private military and security companies.

In December 2013, on the occasion of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Montreux Document, the Swiss government, the ICRC and DCAF organised a major international gathering in December 2013: the Montreux+5 Conference. The Conference was attended by approximately 80 participants, representing governments, intergovernmental organisations, academics and civil society organisations. The Conference focused on implementation challenges, outreach and possibility of institutionalising a regular dialogue to coordinate states’ efforts on the regulation of private military and security companies. Montreux Document participants thus agreed to establish the Montreux Document Forum (MDF). The forum is intended to strengthen the dialogue among participating states and international organisations. The MDF will be co-chaired by Switzerland and the ICRC, with the support of DCAF as the forum’s Secretariat.

The Montreux Document forms part of the ‘Swiss Initiative’ on private security regulation. Ît is a complementary initiative to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers with a shared goal of promoting effective regulation of the international private security industry.

Current priorities

  • Building political support for the Montreux Document amongst states and intergovernmental organisations. To support and raise awareness of the Montreux Document and its good practices, Switzerland and the ICRC, jointly with DCAF, engages in a multi-year programme of regional conferences. To date, conferences have been held in Chile (2011), Mongolia (2011), Australia (2012), Philippines (2013 and in Senegal (2014).
  • Supporting the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross with the establishment of the Montreux Document Forum. Further information on the Montreux + 5 Conference is available on the ICRC’s website.
  • Promoting the implementation of the good practices contained in the Montreux Document at international, regional and domestic levels.

Recent activities

  • Dakar regional conference: In 2014, DCAF, in collaboration with Switzerland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, the ICRC, and the Centre des hautes études du défense et securité (CHEDS), hosted a regional conference on the Montreux Document in Dakar. The report of the conference proceedings is now available.

Key publications




Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

If you are interested in endorsing the Montreux Document, would like share experience related to Montreux Document implementation and/or require specific advice on regulation of private security and military companies, please contact:

Anna-Marie Burdzy, Project Officer, Operations IV (Public-Private Partnerships)