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From Mercenaries to MarketThe Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies$
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Simon Chesterman and Chia Lehnardt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228485

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228485.001.0001

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Weak governments in search of strength

Weak governments in search of strength

Africa's experience of mercenaries and private military companies

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Weak governments in search of strength
Source:
From Mercenaries to Market
Author(s):

Angela McIntyre

Taya Weiss

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228485.003.0005

Although one of the main concerns with PMCs today is that they constitute a threat to the state's monopoly of violence, the involvement of PMC Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone and Angola in the mid-1990s tells a different story. The firm is credited with supporting governments challenged by powerful rebel groups and reconfirming the state's control by temporarily questioning it. This use of PMCs points to a shift in the role of private military forces in Africa, though their support came at a hefty price. Contrary to the frequent assumption that the African experience of mercenaries and PMCs are aberrations of the past, this chapter demonstrates that the problems arising out of private military involvement in African conflicts continue to have implications for the discussion of regulation. It concludes that shifts in political and commercial accountability, rather than legislative action, have been instrumental in the transition from mercenaries to PMCs in Africa.

Keywords:   private military company, PMC, Sierra Leone, Angola, political accountability, commercial accountability

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