Are Private Military Contractors Mercenaries

Little is known about the caged world of mercenaries. Government intelligence agencies ignore them. The research of journalists and academics is anemic because the industry is mediaphobic due to the secretive nature of its work. Journalists are rarely able to interview mercenaries and can only record events around the industry. Scientists rely almost exclusively on the work of journalists for their analyses and too often distort their results with inappropriate theory. The corporate nature of PMSCs (Private Military and Security Contractors) is an obstacle to their accountability for violations of international law (Crow & John, 2017). No international tribunal has jurisdiction over these companies, and there is no pre-existing mechanism required by international law to account for and administer the use of force by PMSCs. However, there are some soft law instruments in which these companies are held liable to some extent for their legal status. A favourable argument for PMSCs is that they have the skills and expertise to provide in a short period of time the capacity to provide a wide range of services (Malamud, 2014).

However, outsourcing carries the risk of a lack of transparency in the selection process for third-party staff. In addition, the United Nations is responsible for ensuring its own human rights record and maintaining a gold standard for missions involving the use of private contractors. States often have no control over these operations. In many cases, there are doubts as to whether or not the work of private contractors falls within the limits of Article 47 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as the protection of international armed conflicts of 1977 (Karska & Karski, 2014). Although in 2012, the UN Department of Security issued a new directive on the use of armed private contractors. The UN is also considering the development of a convention dealing with PMSCs. Clear criteria must be established to determine when and for what activities these companies can be used. Criteria such as transparent decision-making procedures, sound review and review measures, and standard operating procedures. There is a consensus based on private military security companies and their employees as civilians (non-combatants) under existing international humanitarian law (IHL). Ultimately, this law distinguishes between civilians and combatants and serves as a regulatory framework for determining how a person should behave when in a war zone.

In most cases, the word “mercenary” is considered pejorative, especially by those in industry. Whether you want to call these former members of the military hired directly or through a company “mercenaries” or “private military contractors,” they all exist to wage wars for money. When I was in the industry, I worked with former special forces from countries like the Philippines, Colombia and South Africa. We did the same missions, but they got development salaries and not me. Mercenaries are like t-shirts; They are cheaper in developing countries. Call it the globalization of private violence. What is important for the future of the industry is that these foreigners have gained valuable business knowledge that can be exported around the world in search of new customers once the United States does not renew their contract. This spreads mercenarism. So, whether mercenaries are legal or not? The answer is – it depends on the country. The use of PMD and mercenaries is legal in countries that have not signed the UN treaty. If a professional soldier is hired by a sovereign nation to fight for him, then he is legal for that country. But if they are captured by the government of the opposing country or another country party to the UN treaty, they would be considered illegal.

The popes even hired mercenaries and used them to eliminate enemies and cleanse infidels. In 1209, Pope Innocent III launched a crusade against the Cathars, a heretical sect in southern France that today would resemble a war of terror. When his army of mostly mercenaries stormed the town of Béziers, Orthodox and heretical Christians fled to the church to seek refuge. The papal legate in charge, Arnaud Amalric, ordered the army to seal and burn it, saying: “Kill them all, God will know his own.” The papacy still employs a Swiss Guard, once a formidable mercenary unit, but now part of the Swiss army, with halberds and tights. The exodus of more than 6 million military personnel from Western military personnel in the 1990s expanded the recruitment pool for PMCs. Due to pressure from the US armed forces, the US State Department and the Pentagon have also outsourced advanced military training in Africa to three companies: Military Professional Resources Inc. (M.P.R.I.), DFI International and Logicon (now owned by Northrop Grumman). [35] This is not the case in the private sector. Private military companies hide behind “proprietary knowledge” and claim that every piece of information is a trade secret. Even employee emails are considered owners, no matter how trivial they may be. These companies fire employees who speak to the press, and sometimes large corporations threaten the media with multi-million dollar lawsuits to cool the free press. Government agencies do not, as shown by the landslide of military memoirs about covert operations during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soon, Iraq and Afghanistan together became the “long war,” as journalists called it, and the all-volunteer U.S. force discovered it couldn`t recruit enough volunteers to support them. This left three terrible options open to decision-makers. First, they were able to retreat and concede defeat in disgrace. Second, they could reintroduce national conscription to fill ranks, as they did during the Vietnam War. That would be political suicide. Third, they could use contractors to fill the ranks, relying mainly on them for non-lethal tasks. Not surprisingly, policymakers have chosen entrepreneurs. Founded in 1955, ASIS is a company of individual security professionals dedicated to increasing the efficiency and productivity of security professionals through the development of educational programs and materials.

ASIS is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, and within ASIS, the ASIS Standards and Guidelines Commission works with national and international standards bodies and industry representatives to develop voluntary standards and guidelines for security professionals.

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