1 thought on “Mercenaries in Yemen”

  1. The term mercenary is now highly charged and usually derogatory. It is also widely and inaccurately used.
    The “International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries” (http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/44/a44r034.htm) defines a mercenary as;
    “1. A mercenary is any person who:
    (a) Is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an
    armed conflict;
    (b) Is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the
    desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party
    to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that
    promised or paid to combatants of similar rank and functions in the armed
    forces of that party;
    (c) Is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of
    territory controlled by a party to the conflict;
    (d) Is not a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict; and
    (e) Has not been sent by a State which is not a party to the conflict on
    official duty as a member of its armed forces.”
    Very few of those fighting on either side in Yemen fall under this definition. Most are either foreign regular(ish) soldiers; or Yemenis fighting for one or other (of several) causes. Some Yemenis are fighting for pay, but that is mostly since the economy has been destroyed and there is little other work.
    Even the Colombians and their foreign commanders are probably not mercenaries, since they signed fixed duration contracts at a regular rate of pay. They are thus probably no more mercenaries than the French or Spanish Foreign Legions, the Swiss Guard – or the British or Indian Gurkhas.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top

Access provided by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford