Pressure group Campaign Against Arms Trade is to campaign for the
incoming British government to act against mercenary groups amid concern
that private armies are gaining respectability.
CAAT yesterday issued a call for a future government to sign and ratify
Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I of the Geneva Convention against
mercenary activity and to update the Parliamentary Enlistment Act of
1870 which outlaws mercenaries operating from the UK.
CAAT’s move is the first step in a broader PR campaign in which it hopes
to enlist the support of other non-governmental organisations.
It believes mercenary operations, most notoriously Executive Outcomes
and Sandline International, have used PR to achieve a facade of
CAAT is putting together examples of where mercenaries have ’undermined
governments and created chaos’.
Since August 1996 there have been a growing number of reports in the
media of the new type of mercenary operation which is trying to throw
off its ’dogs of war’ image and replace it with the concept of ’military
Evidence of mercenaries using PR was seen recently when Sandline used
Sara Pearson Associates to organise a London press conference for the
return from Papua New Guinea of its director Colonel Tim Spicer.
A spokesman for Johannesburg-based EO confirmed it did have a pro-active
PR strategy to get across its message about the ’privatisation of
security forces’. EO’s strategy includes speaking engagements for EO
chairman Eeben Barlow and plans for an EO site on the World Wide