The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) articulates a set of standards for companies providing private security services to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law. The Code requires signatory companies to comply with these obligations regardless of the national laws and the legal situation in the countries concerned. The Code was finalized in October 2010 and first signed by private security companies in November 2010.
In addition to establishing industry standards, the ICoC aims to improve accountability of the PMSC industry by establishing an independent oversight mechanism. As a minimum, the Code states that the mechanism is to include certification, auditing, monitoring and reporting. A Steering Committee of representatives from three stakeholder groups—signatory companies, governments and civil society—met regularly through 2010-2011 to develop a proposal for this mechanism. Committee members met in plenary sessions and in smaller working groups. In January 2012, the Committee released the Draft Charter for the Oversight Mechanism of the ICoC and a period of stakeholder review and comment on the Draft Charter began.
In September 2013, the ICoC Association (ICoCA) was established during a launch conference in Geneva, Switzerland to ensure effective implementation of the ICoC and promote the responsible provision of private security services. The ICoCA is governed by a Board of Directors with equal representation from the three stakeholder pillars. Its main functions are to provide and support certification, monitoring and complaints resolution. Since its launch, six states - the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Australia, and Switzerland - 13 civil society organizations, and 157 private security companies have joined the Association as of April 8, 2014. More information can be found on the ICoCA website.
International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) articulates a set of standards for private security companies to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law. This Code requires signatory companies to comply with these obligations regardless of the national laws and the legal situation in the countries concerned. The Code was finalized in October 2010 and first signed by private security companies in November 2010.
The Draft Charter for the ICoC, released in January 2012, was open for public comment from release until 31 March 2012. Comments were received from nearly 40 organisations or individuals. The type of comments received ranged from those proposing minor editorial changes to those raising substantive issues. The feedback will be used by the drafters of the Charter to create a final version, to be issued in late 2012/early 2013.
As a result of a lengthy, participatory process from governments, civil society, and companies, the ICOC developed and agreed upon this Oversight Mechanism for member organizations. The 'Articles of Association' provides a mechanism to monitor members for compliance with the Code and take action against violations.
In advance of the Drafting Conference for the ICOC oversight mechanism (the "Articles of Association"), the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) released this statement. Within it, they outline the additional need for human rights protection, Secretariat authority, steps for disciplinary action, and avenues of legal accountability.
Writing in advance of the conference on the ICoC oversight mechanism (the "Articles of Association"), the civil society groups issued this statement. In the statement, they outline 5 additional steps that must be taken in order for the Articles to be effective.
This draft charter establishes the oversight mechanism for the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC). The purpose of the ICoC is to promote better governance, compliance and accountability for private security companies operating in complex environments. The draft charter is the first attempt at creating an external, independent mechanism to provide governance and oversight of the ICoC. It was released in January 2012 and open for public comment for three months. The comments are now under review and a final version of the charter is expect to be released in later 2012/early 2013.
The second draft charter of the Oversight Mechanism describes the new methods the ICoC seeks to adopt to enhance company compliance with the code. The second draft represents the comments and suggestions taken from external parties and the stakeholders of the ICoC. In this draft, the new Articles of Association would require members to be certified as compliant with the code and be subject to sanction or suspension by the Association if found in violation. The draft charter also outlines a third party grievance process for parties to report violations of the Code of Conduct.
When it released the Draft Charter for the oversight mechanism of the ICoC, the Temporary Steering Committee received frequent questions regarding the potential costs of the mechanism. The Committee therefore compiled this document and the accompanying tables, which set forth possible budget models for the ICoC oversight mechanism. This was not meant to be a definitive budget, but rather an outline of possible budgetary approaches in order to facilitate multi-stakeholder review of the Draft Charter.
As the ICoCA is responsible for certifying that the systems and policies of member companies meet the ICoC's principals, the Association adopted in July of 2015 a formal Certification Procedure. Under the Procedure, the Board Directors assesses and recognizes standards that are consistent with the Code and defines, for each standard, additional information relative to the human rights and humanitarian law impact of PSC operations that it needs to assess whether a company's systems and policies meet the requirements of the Code. While the Procedure was approved in the summer of 2015, the title of this document has not be amended to reflect this change and remains as a "draft" certification procedure.
Steering Committee Rules of Procedure and Meeting Minutes
Per the ICoC Steering Committee Rules of Procedure, decisions are made through consensus, with voting possible in those rare cases where consensus cannot be reached. The Committee was formed on 9 November 2011. Before the creation of the Committee a Temporary Steering Committee was in place.
At this meeting, the Committees work plan was discussed, as was the development of ASIS/ANSI standards in the U.S. and the need to track this process to make sure the standards were consistent with the ICoC.
At this meeting, the Committee discussed the elements to be contained in the oversight mechanism for the ICoC, a document in the drafting stages. Logistical issues discussed in depth, such as where the mechanism was located, and how it would be funded. It was agreed that the re-worked draft would be circulated and that the TSC would meet by phone on December 8, 2011 to discuss outstanding issues, including liability, termination and the name of the mechanism.
On this teleconference, the Committee continued work on the draft charter of the oversight mechanism that was circulated in advance of the meeting, containing amendments made at the last Steering Committee meeting and new text prepared by the drafting committee (Joshua Dorosin, Sylvia White and Meg Roggensack) and DCAF.
At this meeting, the Committee discussed the Draft Charter, revisions to be made, and outstanding issues to be resolved. By day five of the meeting, the draft was ready to be released, and a timeline was set for accepting public comment and issuing a final, revised version.
During two meetings of May 2012, the Steering Committee planned for upcoming town halls in London. The town halls were designed to be a forum for listening to attendees concerns and explaining the role of the new oversight mechanism for signatory companies.
In a series of three meeting during April of 2012, the ICoC Steering Committee discussed the need to review public commentary on the draft Charter and provide comments from each stakeholder group. Each set of stakeholders planned to present the notes from their groups to the TSC as a whole during the London meeting in May 2012.
At this meeting, the full Committee heard detailed reports from its three Working Groups. The first report was from Working Group #3 on the oversight mechanism structure, governance, and funding. Working Group #2 then reported on the resolution of third-party grievances. Working Group #1 reported last on assessment, reporting and internal and external oversight. At the meeting, there was also discussion about standing up multi-stakeholder initiatives.
At this meeting in Washington, DC, the TSC discussed the process towards drafting a second version of the oversight mechanism charter. The TSC also discussed the gaps between the ANSI standard PSC.1 and the possible draft charter. Finally, the TSC conducted a detailed examination of all the parts of the second draft charter, from certification of companies to provisions on including maritime security companies.
On this teleconference, the Committee discussed the draft of the charter for the oversight mechanism, and raised a number of issues that needed to be resolved by the Committee and included in the draft. On the call, the Committee discussed what to include in the Preamble/General Provisions and Governance Annual Plenary sections of the draft.
At this meeting held in Washington DC, the Committee discussed the draft of the oversight mechanism that was circulated in advance, including how compliance with the ICoC would be monitored in the field; verification audits; sanctions for noncompliance; and third-party complaint procedures.
In this meeting, the Committee discussed the implications of adding non-state clients into the process of the Committee and the need to broaden non-state clients to beyond the extractive industry. Committee members agreed to start writing 'concept papers' upon central issues facing the ICoC, including the non-state client issue, but also covering core areas such as certification, monitoring, third parties, governance, and affiliation criteria.
At this meeting in Washington DC, the ICoC Working Groups discussed their progress on developing the ICoC oversight mechanism. A number of issues were identified, and on the second day a framework for the draft charter of the oversight mechanism was discussed
At this meeting held in London, the proposal for the charter of the oversight and governance mechanism was discussed. Government, industry and civil society participation criteria were debated, as were funding, location and legal status of the mechanism.
On this teleconference, the Committee worked through sections of a draft of the charter of the oversight mechanism that was circulated in advance of the meeting, containing amendments made at the last Steering Committee meeting and new text prepared by the drafting committee (Joshua Dorosin, Sylvia White and Meg Roggensack) and DCAF.
Working Group Meeting Minutes
Group 1: Assessment, Reporting and Internal & External Oversight
On this teleconference, the Working Group heard from its sub-parts that delved into (1) the development of ASIS/ANSI standards in the U.S.; (2) monitoring/assessment of human rights performance; and (3) the question how to become a signatory company to the ICoC.
At this meeting, the Working Group discussed monitoring human rights standards and performance in the field. Experts Rachelle Jackson, Specialized Technology Resources and Carrie George, U.S. Department of State spoke on this topic to the Group.
The minutes for this meeting are grouped according to a read-ahead email that was sent to the Working Group, asking the Group to discuss the development of ASIS/ANSI standards in the U.S.; the certification and compliance requirements of the ICoC; harmonizing the ICoC processes with national standards; how monitoring ICoC compliance will occur; and the major costs of its proposals.
On this first teleconference of the Working Group, members discussed their mission and work plan, and decided to divide the group into three sub-groups based on the categories of (1) assessment, (2) reporting, and (3) internal and external oversight.
On this call, Rachel Davis, the Legal Adviser to UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, discussed the UN Framework and Guiding Principles developed by the Special Representative, and in particular the portions of the guiding principles that address effectiveness criteria for non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
This teleconference was dedicated to learning about two existing grievance mechanisms: the National Contact Points for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that provides a mediation and conciliation platform for resolving issues that arise with the implementation of the Guidelines, and the Fair Labor Associations third-party complaint system.
At this meeting, member Rachel Davis discussed the recently-released UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which identifies benchmarks a non-judicial grievance mechanism should meet. The remainder of the call focused on the potential functions the ICoC complaints mechanism would perform.
At this meeting the Working Group discussed potential elements of the grievance mechanism to be contained in the ICoC governance and oversight document. The Group considered Rachel Davis Informal note for ICoC Working Group 2: Examples of relevant grievance mechanisms at the international and industry levels as part of this discussion.
The discussion at this meeting focused around five non-exhaustive potential functions of an ICoC grievance mechanism: referral, fact-finding, arbitration, mediation and special audit. Each participant was invited to comment on the various potential functions.
This meeting was the final time for Working Group members to discuss ICoC oversight mechanism funding before the drafting of the Groups final report. Members were asked to comment on funding and cost issues.
On this call, Tyler Giannini and Amelia Evans of Harvard Law School discussed the Harvard Project on Multi-stakeholder Initiatives (MSI). Through this project, they developed a comprehensive set of quantitative tools to assist both formation and assessment of MSIs.
The purpose of this teleconference was to consider various legal regimes and methods of incorporation for the eventual international governance and oversight mechanism of the ICoC. There was a short presentation of an Excel spreadsheet (appended to the minutes) comparing different legal entities in the U.S., UK and Switzerland.
This meeting began with an overview of the Steering Committee meeting in Washington DC on 13-14 July. Working Group members then discussed plans for the general governance structure of the oversight mechanism, including the roles and responsibilities of the potential plenary, board, and secretariat, and how the stakeholder groups would fit within or interact with these entities.
Working Group members discussed the contents of the final report the Group was preparing for the Steering Committee. Items including the venue and legal form of the ICoC oversight mechanism were discussed, as were governing bodies and stakeholder participation.
This document lists the companies as of 1 September 2013 that are Signatories to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. The document also includes a brief description of each company.
Companies wishing to become a signatory must draft a letter of application to the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers with their company details, places of operation and incorporation, and the intention to comply with all ICoC requirements. Compliance with the Code of Conduct means the company must agree to honor international human rights and humanitarian law regardless of host country laws.
ICoC Signatory Company Data and Statistics
The Code of Conduct has a constantly expanding number of signatory companies. Data on the companies, where they are headquartered, what services they provide, and when they signed has been compiled by DCAF and represented below.
The first Annual Report covers the activities of the ICoCA from September 2013 to September 2015. It provides an update on the status of the association's registration with the Registry of Commerce in Geneva and the Swiss government. It covers issues of governance, budgetary development, membership growth, and outreach to external stakeholders.
This Annual Report covers the activities of the ICoCA from October 2015 to September 2016. It covers issues of governance, budgetary development, membership growth, and outreach to external stakeholders.
At this meeting of the ICoCA Board of Directors, attendees reviewed working group updates and heard reports about the status of the three pillars. They also discussed ways to improve awareness regarding the ICoCA.
At this meeting of the ICoCA Board of Directors, attendees finalized the budget, discussed marketing and fundraising strategies, and reviewed seven new applications for membership. They also reviewed the findings of several working groups.
At this meeting of the ICoCA Board of Directors, attendees reviewed applications and the draft budget for 2016. They also discussed compliance standards and systems for complaints to be made through the organization.
At this meeting of the ICoCA Board of Directors, attendees reviewed funding streams, including a grant from th Swiss government. They also discussed working group findings and membership structure updates.
The ICoCA Board of Directors had their most recent meeting in June 2014. Concerns were raised by member companies about the requirements for membership and requested clarity on several points. A review of outreach efforts was also presented to the board. The ICoCA additinally took the first steps toward requesting privileges and immunities from the Swiss government.
The ICoCA Board of Directors had their most recent meeting in February 2014. Concerns were raised by member Civil Society Organization (CSOs) about the International Organization for Standards' (ISO) new ISO/PAS 28007 standard for private maritime security companies. ICoCA has formally requested to become a Liaison Organization to the ISO. The Board agreed that ANSI PSC.1-2012 and ISO 28000/PAS 28007 will be the first international standards assessed for ICoCA recognition in accordance with its Articles of Association.
At this first meeting of the ICoCA Board of Directors, attendees focused on housekeeping issues, among these membership requirements for each of the three pillars and procedures for inviting observer groups.