A Tour De Horizon of Issues on the Agenda of the Mercenaries Working Group
23 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2013 Last revised: 18 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 13, 2013
UN Working Group established by the Commission on Human Rights on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination is mandated to address human rights, humanitarian law and other legal consequences of the use of mercenaries and private military and security contractors (PMSCS) that offer services on the international market. This paper highlights the activities of the Working Group, including its country visits, its promotion of a new international convention governing PMSCs and its activities in connection with other related initiatives, including the International Code of Conduct (ICoC) for PMSCs, the Montreux Document setting out rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and best practices applicable to PMSCs operating in armed conflict, and developments in national law. These initiatives are meant to address vetting, training, scope of permissible activities, accountability and remedies for victims of violations committed by PMSC personnel.
PMSCs may be located in one country, may recruit personnel from another and may conduct operations in yet another, creating jurisdictional gaps and uncertainty about the application of substantive law. The potential for PMSCs to be implicated in human rights violations is significant, particularly when they operate in contexts of conflict, In the absence of a comprehensive international scheme of regulation and accountability, human rights violations by PMSC personnel persist.
Keywords: Mercenaries, Private Military Security Contractors, International Code of Conduct, Montreux Document, Mercenaries Working Group
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