The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 101
CONVENTION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF
MERCENARISM IN AFRICA

Adopted by the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, at Libreville, 3 July 1977

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Efforts to prohibit the use of mercenaries started in 1961, when Katanga was aided by mercenaries in its attempt to secede from the newly independent Congo (see Security Council Resolutions 161 A of 21 February 1961, and 169 of 24 November 1961). African governments became particularly active in combating the use of mercenaries, mercenaries being primarily employed against liberation movements and developing states. A committee of experts of the OAU, charged with drafting a convention on mercenaries, presented a report and a draft convention to the OAU's Council of Ministers in 1972. A further draft was prepared in 1976 by an international commission of enquiry that had attended judicial procedings in Luanda against thirteen mercenaries who had taken part in the civil war against the government of Angola. The Government of Angola presented this draft to the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government whereupon a committee of experts prepared the present Convention. The Convention was adopted on 3 July 1977, a few weeks after the adoption of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions of 10 June 1977 (No. 56), whose Article 47 also deals with mercenaries. Article 47, however, seemed not to be sufficiently stringent for African states.

ENTRY INTO FORCE: 22 April 1985

AUTHENTIC TEXT: Arabic, English, French. The text below is reproduced in the Organization of African Unity, Doc. Cm/817 (XXXIX), Annex II, Rev. 1, pp. 1–7.

TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Document of the Organization of African Unity, Doc. CM/817 (XXXIX), Annex II, Rev. 1, pp. 1–7 (Arabic, English, French), Droit des conflits armés, pp. 1281–1287 (French); ICRC website: www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf (Engl., French).

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Articles
Preamble
Definition1
Aggravating circumstances2
Status of mercenaries3
Scope of criminal responsibility4
General responsibility of States and their representatives5
Obligations of States6
Penalties7
Jurisdiction8
Extradition9
Mutual assistance10

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