Mercenaries in the International Law System

Document Type : Original Article


Abstract:                                                                                  One of the issues raised in the law of armed conflicts is the use of mercenaries by parties to conflicts. Analysis of the global situation indicates that mercenaries have been used for a very long time in the past. However, although the use and recruitment of mercenaries has been usual for a long time, the practice of mercenaries especially in Africa during the period of decolonization lead to a change international approach towards this phenomenon. The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council has passed resolutions against the use of mercenaries according to threats resulting from their activities. States in international society have also adopted a regional Convention and a universal Convention to combat this phenomenon while international humanitarian law has been no mere spectator and has also laid down rules in this area, although very briefly.  In parallel with these measures, some States have adopted regulations in their national legal systems concerning mercenaries. Despite existence of rules regulating the use of mercenaries in the international law system, it seems that the existing rules have not been much welcomed by States. For this reason and according to appearance of private military and security companies, it seems necessary to codify new and comprehensive documents in this area.                       Keywords: Mercenary, Armed conflict, Use of mercenaries, International law, Convention