Practice Relating to Rule 108. Mercenaries
Section B. Status of mercenaries
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) states: “Mercenaries do not have the right to be combatants or PW [prisoner of war].”
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
Mercenaries are not entitled to be PW [prisoners of war], although their captors may afford them the protection of such status. Even if not treated as PW, captured mercenaries remain entitled to fundamental guarantees provided by G. P. I. [1977 Additional Protocol I].
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
At the CDDH, Australia stated that it held the view that “mercenaries, who are in the hands of a Party to an armed conflict to which draft Protocol I applies, are entitled to the benefits of the treatment provided for by Article 65 [now Article 75] of that Protocol”.