Module 1: Overview of the Swiss Federal Act on Private Security Services Abroad (PSSA), human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL)
As a requirement by the Swiss Government, private security service providers and other entities engaged in connected services, and their personnel must comply with and be trained on the provisions of the Federal Act on Private Security Services Abroad (PSSA).
Excel Security Training has designed a well-researched course to help security service providers and their employees comply with these obligations.
Private actors, especially those with activities in complex environments should make themselves and their employees aware of the implications of their activities abroad. Some of them are unaware of the legality of their activities in such contexts, and the legal obligations they have including the need to comply with international and domestic laws in the countries in which they operate.
This Module is particularly addressed to companies with activities abroad and their personnel, including security guards, team leaders, technicians/ engineers, management involved in authorising activities, senior management and compliance officers.
By the end of this course the learner should be able to:
Understand the key human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) standards of relevance to security personnel;
Understand the link between security management and human rights;
Be aware of the responsibility to implement human rights in security management;
Be aware of the responsibility of the PSSA’s impact on the provision of security services, especially prohibited ones; and
Apply this knowledge at work.
*The course does not require prior knowledge of law, international humanitarian law or human rights.
The Overview of the PSSA, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a 1-hour course targeting personnel of private security service providers and companies providing connected services, particularly those with activities abroad.
In this course, the learner will gain knowledge on the requirements and prohibited activities under the PSSA, as well as obligations arising out of human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL).
The course is divided into 4 parts, broken down to digestible content and real-life examples for easy learning. After each part, the learner will complete an evaluation to assess their knowledge of the content before moving on to the next part.
A certificate will be issued after successful completion of the course.
* The course can be taken online or offered in a class-room setting.
Overview of the PSSA
This part of the Course offers the learner a brief yet practical overview of the content of the Swiss Federal Act on Private Security Services Abroad (PSSA). The PSSA contains provisions on what constitutes prohibited activities and imposes penalties for violations of the Act. The Act targets Swiss security service providers and their personnel, Swiss residents and federal authorities.
Human rights apply both in peace time and during an armed conflict. For security service providers and their personnel, compliance with human rights is a requirement both at the national and international levels. This part of the course provides the learner with basic understanding of human rights, especially the standards that apply in respect of use of force, which has an impact on the right to life. This part also covers the issue of accountability for human rights violations, including reporting requirements.
International Humanitarian Law
International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law applicable in armed conflict situations. In this part of the Course, the leaner will be able to differentiate between international and non-international armed conflict. The learner will also gain an understanding of key concepts under IHL, including the definition of a civilian, the concept of direct participation in hostilities, and the potential risks that come with civilian participation in hostilities.
The Interplay Between IHL and Human Rights
International humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights are distinct bodies of law but they complement each other in some ways. This part of the module explains this relationship and how to apply each body in the context of an armed conflict.
- 1.01. Introduction
- 1.02. Overview of the PSSA
- 1.03. What are ‘private security services’ under the PSSA?
- 1.04. Activities constituting ‘services in connection with private security services’ under the PSSA
- 1.05. International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) prohibitions under the PSSA
- 1.06. Part 2 International humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) prohibitions under the PSSA
- 1.07. Obligations of Private Security Service Providers under the PSSA
- 1.08. Activities subjected to thorough review
- 1.09. Activities prohibited in full or part
- 1.10. Penalties
- 1.11. Part 2 Penalties
- 1.12. Opportunities for private security service providers
- 1.13. Summary
- 1.14. Evaluation
- 1.15. Resources
- 1.16. End of part 1
- 2.01. Human Rights
- 2.02. The concept of human rights
- 2.03. Prohibition of human rights violations and international crimes
- 2.04. Part 2 of Prohibition of human rights violations and international crimes
- 2.05. Prohibition of human trafficking, sexual exploitation,sexual abuse and gender-based violence
- 2.06. Avoidance of violations of major labour laws
- 2.07. Parameters of the use of force (provision of security services)
- 2.08. Avoidance of use force and precaution against harmful effects on bystanders
- 2.09. Decision-making in respect of use of force
- 2.10. Part 2 of Decision-making in respect of use of force
- 2.11. Use of apprehension/detention
- 2.12. Respect for dignity & humane treatment of detainees and vulnerable groups
- 2.13. Reporting requirements for violations of the law
- 2.14. Individual identification & promotion of accountability
- 2.15 Summary
- 2.16. Evaluation
- 2.17. Resources
- 2.18. End of part 2
- 3.01. International Humanitarian Law
- 3.02. International humanitarian Law (IHL) scope
- 3.03. What is armed conflict?
- 3.04. International armed conflict (IAC)
- 3.05. Part 2 of International armed conflict (IAC)
- 3.06. Part 3 of International armed conflict (IAC)
- 3.07. Part 4 of International armed conflict (IAC)
- 3.08. Part 5 of International armed conflict (IAC)
- 3.09. Examples of international armed conflicts (IACS) in the world
- 3.10. Non-international armed conflict
- 3.11. Part 2 Non-international armed conflict
- 3.12. Part 3 of Non-international armed conflict
- 3.13. Part 4 of Non-international armed conflict
- 3.14. Non-international armed conflict (NIAC) - Conditions
- 3.15. International humanitarian law (IHL)
- 3.16. Purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL)
- 3.17. Protection of civilians and civilian objects (principle of distinction)
- 3.18. Prohibition of violations of international humanitarian law (IHL)
- 3.19. Examples of IHL violations
- 3.20. Definition of ‘civilian’ in armed conflict
- 3.21. Concept of direct participation in hostilities (DPH)
- 3.22. Potential risks
- 3.23. Loss of civilian protection
- 3.24. Key principles of international humanitarian law (IHL)
- 3.25. Part 2 of Key principles of international humanitarian law (IHL)
- 3.26. Summary
- 3.27. Evaluation
- 3.28. Resources
- 3.29. End of part 3
- 4.01. Interplay between IHL & Human Rights
- 4.02. International humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law
- 4.03. Complementarity of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law
- 4.04. Part 2 of Complementarity of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law
- 4.05. Non-derogable human rights
- 4.06. Did you know?
- 4.07. Non-derogability of international humanitarian law (IHL)
- 4.08. Summary
- 4.09. Evaluation
- 4.10. Resources
- 4.11. End of Module 1
- 4.12. Feedback