The 2004-5 Equatorial Guinea mercenary scandal is itself an example of the new trend of previously obscure countries now getting on to the international stage because they are oil rich.
Mercenary activities are particularly appealing to people (usually young males) who have difficulty coping with demobilization and who still yearn for a life of excitement.
The most extraordinary thing about the definition(s) of 'mercenary' employed in the Bill (and taken from the text of the Convention) is that it has now been comprehensively repudiated by the parties to the Convention itself.
As the Commentary in the select committee report puts it, 'being a mercenary is not in itself an offence; some other conduct is required for criminal liability'.
The traditional understanding of the term 'mercenary' is much broader than that employed in the Anti-Mercenary Convention (new or old definitions), and in the Bill, and this is another source of considerable anxiety.
The discipline and behaviour of mercenary forces in these earlier African wars was generally poor and the situation seemed to attract social misfits and psychopaths.
The consequence of all this was a strong adverse reaction to mercenary activity generally.
It is interesting, though, that the proposed new definition of 'mercenary' (suggested by the expert group convened by the states who were party to the Convention) includes the possibility that a mercenary may be 'a national of the country affected by the crime' who is 'hired to commit the crime in his country of nationality'.
But assuming that these mercenary companies are the target, it is important to be sure that they are the unmitigated evil that proponents of the Convention have portrayed them.
(6) This may or may not have been true of white mercenaries supporting separatist forces in the 1960s and 1970s, but it is not evidently true of the modern mercenary company.
In the Sierra Leone case mentioned above, the RUF rebels controlled diamond-producing regions and their restoration to government hands provided the basis for paying the mercenary fee.