The private military company complex in Central and Southern Africa : the problematic application of international humanitarian law
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Washington university global studies law review, Vol. 12, issue 1, 2013, p. 205-226
There is some debate as to whether or not IHLs apply to PMCs in the same fashion they can at times apply to sovereigns. IHLs do not explicitly refer to PMCs, and most attempts to retroactively fit PMCs into IHL interpretations have been problematic. International legislation is also partially responsible for the difficulties in applying IHLs to PMCs due to the combination of a lack of time, effort, and political motivation for some sovereigns to address the issues. As a result, PMC activities potentially fall into a troublesome gray area with respect to human rights protections in armed conflict. Africa has been a point of considerable interest and curiosity with respect to PMC involvement. Africa has been considered a potential stage for increasing PMC involvement for a few reasons. First, the conflicts both in and between the various countries of Africa would provide a business opportunity for PMCs. Second, many of the leading PMCs originated from Africa and already possess regional geographic familiarity. Third, some African countries have already encouraged the use of PMCs by allowing the legislature to regulate their activities. These factors contribute to the notion that Africa is particularly susceptible to, if not in some places inviting, PMC activity. This article first looks at how contemporary IHL has attempted to tackle the existence of PMCs and "mercernarism" then it compares and contrasts the different approaches of these Central and Southern African countries in regards to regulation of PMC activity. At the end of the analysis, this Note will synthesize the ramifications that each country’s legislation may have on the international community.
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