South african private security contractors active in armed conflicts : citizenship, prosecution and the right to work
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Potchefstroom electronic law journal, Vol. 14, no. 7, 2011, p. 71-125
S. Bosch, M. Maritz
South Africa has arguably the most aggressive regime of domestic legislation aimed at regulating the activities of PSCs, which is not surprising after it inadvertently found that it was a major exporter of PSCs. South Africa appears to be alone in its mission to adopt such an aggressive stance towards regulating the private security industry. It is unlikely that a few pieces of domestic legislation, like those adopted by South Africa, will have any noticeable effect on the presence of PSCs as a feature of current and future armed conflicts. The unique situation posed by South Africa's legislation poses some interesting questions which the authors explore. They begin by looking at the role played by PSCs in armed conflicts, and the status afforded them by international humanitarian law (IHL). They turn then to the issue of prohibited mercenarism, investigating if the actions of PSCs serve to group them with mercenaries (as defined by Additional Protocol I [AP I] and the two international Mercenary Conventions). The article then shifts its focus to the South African situation and discusses the ambit of application of the two main regulations, exploring how these two pieces of legislation measure up to international law obligations regarding mercenarism. They discuss whether or not it is likely that these regulations might be successfully used to prosecute PSCs, and what penalties PSCs might face.