Practice Relating to Rule 108. Mercenaries
Section A. Definition of mercenaries
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) defines mercenaries as “persons who are specially recruited at home or abroad to fight for pay during an armed conflict”.
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Non-Combatants”, states: “A mercenary is a person who is specially recruited at home or abroad to fight for remuneration during an armed conflict.”
The manual also states:
A mercenary refers to any person:
a) who is specifically recruited in a State party to a conflict or abroad to fight in an armed conflict and who effectively and directly takes part in hostilities;
b) who is not a national of a party to the conflict, nor resident of the territory controlled by a party to the conflict, nor a member of the armed forces of a party to the conflict.
His essential motivation is personal gain which is generally superior to the remuneration granted to members of the armed forces of the State party which has recruited him who have a similar rank and fulfil similar functions.
At the CDDH, Cameroon suggested that the definition of a mercenary in Article 42 quater
of the draft Additional Protocol I (now Article 47) would have been improved by the deletion of the condition of a promise of “material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions” in paragraph 2(c) because “it would be very difficult to prove that a mercenary received exorbitant pay”.