‚ÄúTransparency, clarity and accountability‚Äù
From the outset, the objective of the 100 Series Rules for the Use of Force (RUF)¬†(‚Äúthe Rules‚Äù) was to provide ‚Äúan international model set of RUF as against which, Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) may be professionally trained, Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) may be audited and operator actions both measured and judged by competent authorities‚Äù.¬†The Rules were to be transparent in their development, clear as to their meaning and accountable as to their use.
This objective has not changed. The continued open-source provision of the 100 Series Rules remains the core focus for 2014, for the benefit of all who wish to voluntarily use and refer to this vanguard work encapsulating the lawful use of force at sea through the individual right of self-defence.
Since May 2013, the Rules have been available to the international community. The Rules document has been downloaded over 8,000 times and the website has had over 30,000 unique hits. Since being first published on the 3 May 201 3, the Rules appear to have survived Initial engagement with and use by the maritime industry and interested third parties.
While recognised as a voluntary reference document, the shear presence of the Rules within the maritime industry, combined with steadily growing international support and recognition as exampled by the 2013 Lloyds List Global Awards, has reinforced growing customary use of the Rules to what may possibly become, the internationally recognized benchmark for lawful and graduated use of force at sea in the commercial environment.
With the onset of the New Year, the intent for the Rules in 2014 is four-fold.
Firstly, review and refinement of the Rules reflecting valuable international feedback and maritime industry comment over the last eight months.
An improved and updated 2014 version of the Rules should be expected and which will be promulgated, both through the official website and Supporting Entities.
Secondly, integration alongside and use with ISO PAS 28007, as a core document developing, aiding and maintaining maritime industry standards and accountability.
Thirdly, production of a hard-copy, waterproof plain-English 100 Series Rules immediate reference guide; to be made availableat minimal cost.
Fourthly, development of associated Human Rights awareness, use and accountability at sea as part of corporate responsibility, due diligence and maintenance of professional standards.
In sum, the future for the 100 Series Rules is bright. It has fulfilled the very
Necessary requirement for plugging a previously perverse lacuna in terms of
the lack of an available open-source benchmark and best practice for maritime
Rules for the Use of Force. This is in an environment where up-to-and-including lethal force may be used, resulting in the taking of potentially innocent human life and where previously, few, if any international rules existed.
Stakeholders continue to and in many cases, are expanding their support for¬†this key maritime initiative. 2014 will be the time to build upon that valuable¬†support and deliver an improved set of Rules that will continue to be transparent, clear and accountable for the benefit of the entire maritime industry.
Barrister and author
100 Series Rules
9 Bedford Row International
6 January 2014