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MercenariesThe History of a Norm in International Relations$
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Sarah Percy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214334.001.0001

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(p.244) Conclusion

Sarah Percy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a synthesis of the discussions in the preceding chapters. It shows that the norm against mercenary use has explained four different puzzles in international history. First, anti-mercenary feeling can help illustrate why states gained control over the independent mercenary and established a controlled international trade in mercenaries. Second, it can help explain why, even though the controlled trade in private fighters was effective, it was abandoned in favour of citizen armies across Europe in the 19th century. Third, it is impossible to understand why international law on mercenaries is so flawed without understanding that states were attempting to adhere to a very strong norm against mercenary use which was difficult to translate into law, and was simultaneously supported by the norms of national self-determination and undermined by the norms of state responsibility and freedom of movement. Fourth, the growth of PMCs, their disappearance, and the rise of PSCs cannot be understood without understanding the normative obstacles modern-day mercenaries face, and the international community's response to the emergence of PMCs is likewise impossible to understand without attention to widespread normative discomfort with the use of private force.

Keywords:   anti-mercenary norm, mercenaries, international law, PMC, PSC

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