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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the use of private military companies (PMCs) to deal with international armed conflicts and the prohibition of the use of force in relation to such entities. It considers the jus ad bellum implications of private military contracting in international law and international relations. The chapter explains what PMCs are and what they do, drawing a distinction between mercenaries and various terms used to refer to private companies hired by states in lieu of armed forces. It presents case studies where PMCs have engaged in prohibited or lawful use of force at the behest of a state, or where they may be used by a state in situations that run counter to jus ad bellum. Three real-world examples are highlighted. The chapter concludes by assessing the implications of using PMCs in armed conflicts for state responsibility with respect to the prohibition on the use of force.

Keywords: private military company, armed conflict, use of force, jus ad bellum, international law, international relations, mercenaries, Croatia, Iraq, state responsibility

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