The Blackwater “incident,” several civilian contactor MEJA cases, have caused concern about the role and ability to control civilian contractors in a war zone.
The international community will have the opportunity to take on  definitional challenges within the next several years. The United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries as a Means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination—in consultation with researchers, watchdog groups, industry representatives, and other civil society groups—has issued a Draft International Convention on the Regulation, Oversight and Monitoring of Private Military and Security Companies.
Margaret Maffai, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, writes on Closing the Loophole: Private Military Contractors and Rights Violations, on JURIST.
Ms. Maffai notes the limited scope and application of MEJA, and the apparent exemption or lack of coverage to State Department contractors such as Blackwater. She further notes the potential unconstitutionality of MEJA under such cases as Reid v. Covert.