Saving the sum of things for pay

Date & time

10–11.30am Monday 14 August 2017

Venue

Moot Court

Level 3, ANU College of Law, 5 Fellows Road, The Australian National University

Speakers

David Mason, ANU College of Law

Accommodation

For interstate visitors, we offer suggestions for accommodation near ANU.

Contact

Ying Kang
PhD oral presentation
David Mason

MERCENARIES AND INTERNATIONAL ARMED CONFLICT: IS THE USE OF MERCENARIES LAWFUL AT INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW?

David's thesis asks “Is the use of mercenaries in international armed conflict lawful under International Humanitarian Law?”

David's response is that it is time for new thinking about mercenaries. Much of the law and commentary is ill-conceived and flawed. It is time for a return to pragmatism, away from often unarticulated or unacknowledged ideological prejudices. He argues that cognitive dissonance has led some commentators, some academics and even the International Committee of the Red Cross to legal elisions and overt or implicit editing of work on mercenaries.

Too often work appears to be dominated by one guiding axiom and paradigm: because commentators believe mercenaries are inherently immoral their use in armed conflict is unlawful. This axiom or paradigm means that the very word “mercenary”, used in the context of armed conflict, has become a trope, a stereotype or cliché that is not founded in law, but in subjective bias.

The doctoral thesis will:

  • Demonstrate current writing about mercenaries is descriptive, flawed and incorrect
  • Demonstrate there is not a norm against mercenary use
  • Demonstrate that at international humanitarian law motivations of a mercenary are irrelevant
  • Demonstrate current treaties and commentary do not stand up to positivist and inductive reasoning
  • Propose an original simplified definition of a mercenary in international armed conflict : “combatant capability” – leading to what this thesis concludes is the future of mercenary engagement – the acronym “RC3”, Responsible Contracting of Combatant Capability
  • Demonstrate how new thinking and a proposed change to current law would assist States and uniformed commanders in an operational and tactical context.

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