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The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (the Code) is the fruit of a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by Switzerland, with the over-arching objectives to articulate human rights responsibilities of private security companies (PSCs), and to set out international principles and standards for the responsible provision of private security services, particularly when operating in complex environments. Over the course of an 18-month process, Switzerland brought together private security companies, states (including Australia, United Kingdom and the United States of America), civil society organisations and academics to elaborate a code of conduct for the private security industry, based on international human rights and humanitarian law standards. The Code was finalized in November 2010, at which time it was signed by 58 PSCs. By September 2013, 708 companies had formally committed to operate in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

At the same time, the Code of Conduct constituted the first step in a broader process to create better governance, compliance and accountability of PSCs. From the beginning, the process foresaw the establishment of an independent mechanism for governance and oversight. The development of this oversight mechanism was led by a multi-stakeholder temporary steering committee which held numerous meetings and workshops with various stakeholders. This inclusive process culminated in the adoption of the Articles of Association in February 2013. The Articles of Association is the founding document of the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA), which was established in September 2013 as a Swiss non-profit association.