Magazine article New Internationalist

Hired Guns: Privatization of Warfare Continues, despite UN Efforts

Magazine article New Internationalist

Hired Guns: Privatization of Warfare Continues, despite UN Efforts

Article excerpt

For more than a decade now, the United Nations has been trying without success to outlaw mercenaries. The International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries needs 22 ratifications by national governments to enter into force but as yet only 19 have been counted. Of those states that have acceded to the UN Convention, all but one (Italy) is a non-Western developing country. Ratification, says the human-rights organization International Alert, 'comes from those that are affected by mercenaries rather than those that are responsible for supplying them'.

There are a few striking absentees in the list of ratifiers. Britain, which officially states the Convention would be 'very difficult to apply in the UK courts', is a major supplier of mercenaries. The Russian Federation, which has mercenaries fighting in Georgia, officially is 'not able at this point' to answer why it has not ratified. …

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