However, the emergence of private military and security companies raises the problem of legitimacy of their use of violence. In fact, the use of violence by private military and security companies is a serious problem because their employees are armed and they can use their weapon to fulfill the contract with the government or companies that hire them. However, the question concerning their right to use force is unclear (Krahmann, 2007). Being employees of their companies, they are just regular citizens, who cannot use excessive violence to perform their functions. Moreover, they can use violence in self-defense only but, as they operate in areas of military operations, they are always vulnerable to external threats. Therefore, employees tend to use violence in areas of military conflicts, where there are few effective methods of control, whether they use force legitimately or not (Spearin, 2005). In other words, there is a question of legitimacy of using violence by private military and security companies and their employees.
In this regard, the question of the involvement of private military and security companies in military conflicts arises. In fact, private military and security companies can hardly stay aside of military conflicts because they are involved in areas, where military operations are conducted. Therefore, even when they perform defensive functions, they are vulnerable to attacks of parties involved in military conflicts (Singer, 2001-2002). In addition, employees working in private military and security companies have to perform military functions as they are hired by a government or a company. In such a situation, willingly or not, they participate in military operations.
Hence, another issue of legitimacy of private military and security companies arises, the question of their legal status. The legal status of private military and security companies in military conflicts’ areas is uncertain and unclear. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions distinguishes between persons taking active part in armed conflicts and those who do not. This distinction is grounded on the fact that the distinction creates legal rights and obligations for entities that are not party to the treaty, which was concluded by states. To put it more precisely, Article 3 imposes legal obligations on non-state movements and groups, which often play an important part in contemporary military operations. Human rights also fail to create legal obligations and ground for operations conducted by private military and security companies. Therefore, private military and security companies face the problem of the lack of the legal ground for their operations.
Moreover, the poor accountability of private military and security companies is another serious challenge to their further development and operations. In fact, they operate in areas, where military conflicts occur (O’Brien, 2007). Therefore, there are often problems with the maintenance of the legitimate power and local governments may fail to control actions of private military and security companies. At the same time, international organizations also fail to control operations conducted by private military and security companies. In fact, private military and security companies have poor accountability, which make their operations unclear and not transparent for the public eye. Therefore, private military and security companies can conduct operations which are not legitimate but the poor accountability prevents any legal action being undertaken against such companies. At this point, the regulation of legal norms concerning operations conducted by private military and security companies and their activities is very poor.