Pan African Security Association (PASA) – Code of Principles and Code of Conduct
The Code of Principles refers to the obligations of companies at different
stages of entering a contract as well as their obligations towards their personnel
(e.g. labour rights).
The Code of Conduct refers to the obligations of security operators and other
personnel (both employees and contractors) during an operation. The Code of Conduct
is therefore primarily concerned with human rights and, where appropriate, international
humanitarian law (IHL).
Both Codes are living documents and will be amended over time by the PASA membership.
They will also be supplemented by more detailed country-specific guidelines (in
accordance with existing regulation/legislation in that country).
Purpose of the Association and Benefits of Membership
The objective of PASA is to ensure that security and related contracts in Africa
are solely discharged by legitimate companies complying with internationally accepted
regulatory standards and the laws and regulations of African States. PASA also endeavours
to represent members in cases where government lobbying is required.
Companies applying for membership have to undergo a thorough vetting process. Upon
admission as members companies have to pledge to adhere to the PASA Code of Principles,
Code of Conduct and any other rules and procedures governing the Association.
Terms and Definitions1
Private Security Company (PSC) – are private business entities that provide
duly authorized (i.e. based on a legitimate contractual agreement according to the
jurisdiction of the host country) security services. Security services include,
in particular, armed guarding and protection of persons and objects, such as convoys,
buildings and other places; maintenance and operation of weapons systems; logistical
support; and advice to or training of local forces and security personnel.
Home State – are States of nationality of a PSC, i.e. where a PSC is registered
Territorial State – are States on whose territories PSCs operate (aka Host
Contracting State – are States that directly contract the services of PSCs,
including sub-contracted PSCs
Member personnel – are persons directly employed by or under a contract with
a member company.
Member company – is a formally registered company providing services as specified
in the Membership criteria on the African continent and complying with the Membership
1 The definitions are largely drawn from the Montreux Document, UN Doc
I. Code of Principles
1. Legal Obligations
Members must operate in accordance with
- - the national law of their home state;
- - the national law of the territorial state within which they operate;
- - international law;
- - appropriate voluntary codes and standards.
These include but are not limited to international humanitarian law (IHL), international
human rights law (IHRL), criminal law, tax law, immigration law, labour law, sanctions
policies, procurement law, regulations on the export of arms, and any specific rules
and regulations on private security services. Members shall also contract exclusively
with established legal entities.
Local licensing rules for the import, acquisition, storage and use of weapons must
be adhered to.
Members shall undertake to have good corporate governance and act according to the
principles of good faith and integrity in their business dealings.
3. Compliance in Accepting Contracts
Members shall not accept contracts or act in such manner which might prejudice the
security and stability of the host country or which might be viewed as such.
Members shall ensure that a comprehensive due diligence process takes place before
they enter any contractual obligations. This is to prevent Members from unwittingly
becoming involved in adverse, harmful or illegal operations.
4. Recruitment and Vetting/Screening
Members shall require any applicant to provide proof of a criminal record check
or a police clearance certificate proving that the individual has not been found guilty of
Members shall require every applicant to provide proof of verifiable professional
Members shall ensure that existing and future personnel are legally allowed by their
home state to carry out the tasks required to fulfil their contractual obligations.
Members shall be in a position to provide evidence that their personnel are suitably
trained to fulfil their contractual obligations.
Additional and ongoing operational and other training (internal and external) shall
be performed by accredited trainers and organisations only.
Members shall provide training regarding
6. Health and Safety
- - the legal rights and obligations in the host country;
- - any applicable international and human rights law;
- - the rules for the use of force (RUF);
- - cultural awareness
Members shall be in a position to provide evidence that appropriate and sufficient
health and safety measures for their personnel and the project as a whole are in
place. Members' health and safety policies shall cover, amongst other things:
7. Human Resources Policies
- - protective equipment for personnel;
- - medical assistance;
- - drugs and alcohol policies;
- - weapons and ammunitions management.
Members shall develop and implement a general and host country specific HR policy
covering, amongst other things:
- - obligations towards personnel;
- - disciplinary procedures;
- - grievance procedures.
Members shall brief their personnel on contractual obligations and best practice
regarding any potential moves from one employer to another.
8. Insurance Protection for Personnel, Third Parties and Assets
Members must be compliant with all relevant legal requirements regarding the maintenance
of valid insurance. Their insurance policies must cover all aspects of their operations
and potential liabilities. This includes appropriate insurance cover for personnel
and consultants, including but not limited to medical evacuation and repatriation.
The insurance cover must be commensurate with the range of operational duties and
must be reviewed on a regular basis. Members shall also assist personnel and consultants
in enhancing any existing personal cover where necessary and in the event of a host
country change or take out alternative insurance policies to ensure adequate cover.
When choosing a sub-contractor Members shall conduct an appropriate due diligence
process to ensure that the sub-contractor is in the position to deliver the tasks
and fulfil all of the requirements agreed upon in the main contract.
10. Incidents and Accountability
Members must set up and implement internal procedures for dealing with lethal
or non-lethal incidents whenever they constitute a breach of the law, inclusive
of but not limited to those involving civilian casualties.
In the event such an incident a company must fully cooperate with and assist local
(or in the case of an ongoing armed conflict: international) investigating authorities.
In the event of an incident a company shall ensure that a comprehensive de-briefing
takes place and that records be kept and made available for potential investigations
conducted by the host country, international authorities or PASA.
At the request of a Member, PASA may assist in the investigation of an incident
to determine whether the company has followed due process.
Members shall operate with transparency and, where appropriate, actively engage
with international organisations (IOs), governments, non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), and private and public bodies with whom they share common concerns or interests.
Members are encouraged to share and discuss any media enquiries with PASA to ensure conherent
II. Code of Conduct
As far as the conduct of Member personnel in a host country is concerned, the guiding
principles are the host country's local laws, regulations customs.
Members must develop, implement and enforce guidelines regarding the Rules for
the Use of Force (RUF) governing any tasks Member personnel are required to fulfil
in the context of specific contracts. The RUF have to cover but are not limited
to the following issues:
- - the minimum use of force;
- - measures to minimise loss of life and damage to property and other assets;
- - the general rules of social conduct in host societies.
The Code of Conduct is a working document and will be further expanded over time
with direct input by the Members of PASA.
III. Compliance and Implementation
This section will cover the mechanisms necessary to operationalise and enforce this
The PASA Board will review any complaints about the conduct of a member company
(including where there has been an alleged breach of the law) and issue recommendations.
In the event of an investigation PASA will appoint an appropriate case officer to
act on behalf of the Member with the purpose of resolving the matter.
IV. Review of PASA Rules and Regulations
PASA rules and regulations will be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis.