It is common to complain that the while the use of private military contractors (PMC) has grown rapidly in the past decade, the legal apparatus to hold them accountable has failed to keep pace. But that is not as true as it once was. In fact, there are at least four distinct sources of criminal law that can hold contractors accountable for their actions: (1) international law, (2) host-nation law, (3) U.S. civilian law, and (4) U.S. military law. Of course, all of these have their own limitations and problems, such as jurisdiction and applicability.
But military law, at least for the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer of PMC services, military law shows increased promise.