Related Rule
France
Practice Relating to Rule 108. Mercenaries
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states:
A mercenary is a person who:
a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
c) 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 ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
d) is neither a national of a party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
f) 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. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 81.
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2003, provides:
Chapter VI
Participation in mercenary action
Article 436-1. – Punished with five years of imprisonment and a fine of 75 000 EUR is the act:
1° by any person, specially recruited in order to fight in an armed conflict, who is neither a national of a State party to that conflict, nor a member of the armed forces of that State, nor has been sent on official duty as a member of its armed forces by a State which is not one of the parties to the conflict, of taking, or trying to take, a direct part in the hostilities, motivated by the desire for private gain or for a compensation substantially in excess of that paid or promised to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the party for which the person is to fight;
2° by any person, specially recruited for the purpose of participating in a concerted act of violence aimed at overthrowing the institutions or undermining the territorial integrity of a State, who is neither a national of the State against which that act is directed, nor a member of the armed forces of that State, nor has been sent on official duty by a State, of taking, or trying to take, part in such an act, motivated by the desire for a significant private gain or compensation. 
France, Penal Code, 1992, as amended in 2003, Article 436-1.
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) states: “Mercenaries are not combatants and therefore shall not have the right to prisoner-of-war status.” 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, p. 2.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) states: “Mercenaries shall not have the right to combatant or prisoner-of-war status.” 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 40; see also p. 81
France’s Penal Code (1992), as amended in 2003, provides:
Chapter VI
Participation in mercenary action
Article 436-1. – Punished with five years of imprisonment and a fine of 75 000 EUR is the act:
1° by any person, specially recruited in order to fight in an armed conflict, who is neither a national of a State party to that conflict, nor a member of the armed forces of that State, nor has been sent on official duty as a member of its armed forces by a State which is not one of the parties to the conflict, of taking, or trying to take, a direct part in the hostilities, motivated by the desire for private gain or for a compensation substantially in excess of that paid or promised to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the party for which the person is to fight;
2° by any person, specially recruited for the purpose of participating in a concerted act of violence aimed at overthrowing the institutions or undermining the territorial integrity of a State, who is neither a national of the State against which that act is directed, nor a member of the armed forces of that State, nor has been sent on official duty by a State, of taking, or trying to take, part in such an act, motivated by the desire for a significant private gain or compensation.
Article 436-2. – The act of directing or organizing a group having as object the recruitment, employment, compensation, equipment or military training of a person defined in article 436-1 is punished with seven years of imprisonment and a fine of 100 000 EUR.
Article 436-3. – If the acts mentioned in the present chapter are committed abroad by a French national or by a person habitually residing in the French territory, French law is applicable by derogation from paragraph two of article 113-6, and the provisions of the second sentence of article 113-8 are not applicable. 
France, Penal Code, 1992, as amended in 2003, Articles 436-1 to 436-3.