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Guidelines for security firms in war zones set

Published on 18/09/2008

18 September 2008

GENEVA — Seventeen countries, including the US, Britain and Afghanistan, have agreed on guidelines that private security companies should follow in war zones.

The international Red Cross says such companies should be licensed and held accountable for abuses. The rules are not legally binding.

Security firms have come under scrutiny since being implicated last year in the killing of civilians in Iraq.

The UN has called them a new form of mercenary activity, a claim the US has rejected.

The Red Cross said in a statement Wednesday that the companies must comply with international law. It says countries have an obligation to prosecute abuses.

The guidelines were agreed after a three-day meeting at the Lake Geneva resort of Montreux.

[AP / Expatica]