Train-the-trainer Workshop on PSSA at Swissmem

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Train-the-trainer Workshop on PSSA at Swissmem

Tobias Vestner trains Swiss industry for compliance with the PSSA

21 May 2019

Train-the-trainer Workshop on PSSA at Swissmem

Tobias Vestner trains Swiss industry for compliance with the PSSA

On 7 March 2019, the Security and Law team at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy organised a ‘Train-the-trainer Workshop on PSSA’ in Zürich. The workshop was delivered by Tobias Vestner, Head of Security and Law, and was organised together with Swissmem (the Swiss association of mechanical and electrical engineering industries) in collaboration with the Private Security Services Section (PSSS) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). It was conceived as a support for Swiss private security companies to fulfil the obligations introduced by the Swiss Federal Act on Private Security Services provided Abroad (PSSA).

The workshop took place at Swissmem’s headquarters in Zürich and welcomed 26 participants, mainly senior compliance officers and managers from defence industry and small and middle size enterprises in Switzerland.

The training modules were based on the newly published ‘Weapons Systems Supply and Operational or Logistical Support under the PSSA. A Training Guide to Comply with the Swiss Federal Act on Private Security Services provided Abroad’. The guide is co-authored by Tobias Vestner and Alessandro Mario Amoroso and was published in March by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

“The Training Guide is tailored to the needs of companies operating and maintaining weapons systems and/or providing installation services, trainings, and/or operational or logistical support to armed forces”, says Tobias Vestner. “Our goal is to enable company leadership and staff to familiarize with key concepts and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law, and to avoid the risk of direct participation in hostilities and serious violations of human rights.”

The Guide also includes thirty practical scenarios for training on the risk and avoidance of direct participation in hostilities. The practical scenarios include answers on permitted and prohibited conduct, and warnings for conducts at a high risk of being considered DPH. This is a new tool for Swiss private security companies, which reflects the GCSP’s contribution to support compliance with the PSSA.

The Training Guide therefore provides the necessary knowledge and tools to train company personnel to identify, prevent, and report activities that can constitute direct participation in hostilities or complicity in human rights and international humanitarian law violations.