The Secretary Will Deny All Knowledge of Your Actions: The Use of Private Military Contractors and the Implications for State and Political Accountability

This article argues that the main issue regarding the use of private military contractors (PMCs) is that of accountability. It begins by exploring the status of mercenaries in international law, as reflected in various conventions, protocols, and state practice. It maintains that contrary to popular belief, the use of PMCs or mercenaries–no matter how defined–is not a violation of international law. However, their use has serious political implications at both the domestic and state levels because it obfuscates the issue of ultimate responsibility.

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