In October 2007, the United Nations published a two-year study that found that private contractors, although hired as “security forces,” performed military tasks. The report notes that the use of contractors such as Blackwater is a “new form of mercenary activity” and illegal under international law. Many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have not signed the 1989 United Nations Mercenary Convention, which prohibits the use of mercenaries. A spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations denied that Blackwater`s security forces were mercenaries, saying: “Allegations that the U.S. government-mandated security forces, regardless of nationality, are mercenaries, inaccurate and degrading to the men and women who risk their lives to protect people and facilities every day.  In 1994, Colombian President César Gaviria signed Decree 356, which allowed wealthy landowners to recruit their own private armies and liberalized the law on the installation of PMCs to fight communist FARC guerrillas (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).  As of Decree 356, 740 SGPs were operating in Colombia in 2014, more than anywhere else in the world.  Increasingly, Colombian mercenaries are hired by US PMCs because they are cheaper than US mercenaries.  The UAE government has hired Colombian mercenaries to wage its war in Yemen.
 While the United States does not recognize the PA I position as customary, it is important to remember that many U.S. allies are members of the PA I Treaty and consider it binding law. In addition, some United States partners are also parties to the 1989 International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, which extended the prohibition of mercenary groups. Understanding partner countries` different legal obligations towards mercenaries will become increasingly relevant during coalition operations. If, after an ordinary trial, a captured soldier is found to be a mercenary, he can expect to be treated as a common criminal and executed. Since mercenary soldiers cannot be considered prisoners of war, they cannot expect to be repatriated at the end of the war. The best-known example after the Second World War was on 28 June 1976, when an Angolan court sentenced three Britons, an American and nine other mercenaries to death to prison terms ranging from 16 to 30 years at the end of the Luanda trial. The four mercenaries sentenced to death were shot on 10 July 1976.  When PMC employees engage in proactive combat, the press refers to them as “mercenaries” and PMCs as “mercenary companies.” In the 1990s, the media identified four mercenary companies: The Private Military Company (PMC) is the contemporary branch of the mercenary trade, providing logistics, soldiers, military training and other services. Therefore, PMC contractors are civilians (in governmental, international and civilian organizations) who are authorized to escort an army on the ground; Hence the term civil contractor. Nevertheless, PMCs may use armed force, defined as: “legally established enterprises that make a profit either by providing services that involve the potential exercise of [weapon] violence in a systematic manner and by military means, and/or by transferring this potential to clients through training and other practices such as logistical support, equipment purchase and intelligence gathering.”  The Middle East is awash with mercenaries.
Kurdistan is a haven for makeshift researchers seeking work with Kurdish militias, oil companies defending their oil fields or those who want to kill terrorists. Some are just adventurous, while others are American veterans who have found civilian life useless. Kurdistan`s capital, Erbil, has become an unofficial market for mercenary services, reminiscent of the Tatooine bar in the Star Wars movie – full of smugglers and weapons rentals. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Mughal imperial power collapsed and other powers, including the Sikh Misls and Maratha chieftains, emerged. At that time, a number of mercenaries from several countries found work in India. Some of the mercenaries have become independent leaders. The Sikh Maharaja, Ranjit Singh, known as the “Lion of Punjab”, employed Euro-American mercenaries such as the Neapolitan Paolo Avitabile; the Frenchmen Claude Auguste Court and Jean-François Allard; and Americans Josiah Harlan and Alexander Gardner. The Sikh army, Dal Khalsa, was trained by Singh`s French mercenaries to fight the French lines alone in Napoleonic times, and according to French practice, Dal Khalsa had excellent artillery.  Singh had a low opinion of his Euro-American mercenaries and once said, “Germans, French or English, all these Europeans are the same.”  On the demand side, the availability of mercenaries means that buyers who had not previously contemplated military action can now do so. The world has already seen multinational corporations, governments and millionaires hire mercenaries over the past decade; This was not the case two decades ago. The availability of private violence reduces barriers to entry into armed conflict for those who can afford it, leading to even more war.
Tamil poems describe Greek soldiers who served as mercenaries for Indian kings as: “The brave Yavanas (Greeks) whose bodies were strong and terrible-looking.”  Things began to change in 1648. The Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years` War, one of the most destructive in European history and comparable to the First and Second World Wars for Central Europe. Nearly a third of the population of modern Germany and the Czech Republic was wiped out, and it took a century for the region to recover. Rogue mercenary units were largely responsible, and leaders of all stripes tacitly agreed to end the free market of violence by monopolizing it. That is, public armies should replace private armies, the costs are damned. With respect to U.S. citizens, a law that is part of the neutrality law makes it illegal for anyone “in the United States” to participate in a “military or maritime expedition or undertaking” conducted from the United States against a friendly country. Court rulings have ruled that the law is intended to prohibit “the use of U.S. land or waters as a base” for unauthorized military expeditions against friendly foreign powers. Attorney General Robert Kennedy said in 1961 after the Bay of Pigs attack: “There is nothing criminal about a person leaving the United States with the intention of joining an insurgent group.” As drafted, the Neutrality Act does not prohibit a U.S. mercenary from acting outside the United States unless there is evidence of a domestic act.
Second, tinkering with the definition of “defence service” in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations could risk exposing all existing legal security companies and their employees to possible criminal liability.