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Working Group on the use of mercenaries

The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, who are elected by the Human Rights Council for a period of three years, which can be renewed once for an additional three years.

Current members

Ms. Jovana Jezdimirovic Ranito (Serbia), appointed in 2023

Dr. Jovana Jezdimirovic Ranito

Dr. Jovana Jezdimirovic Ranito (Serbia) is lecturer and researcher at the University College Twente in the Netherlands. She holds extensive experience as both a teacher and researcher in the domains of International Relations, private military and security company (PMSC) regulation (with an emphasis on accountability and human rights), and emerging trends in the privatization of armed conflict. She authored numerous works in these fields. She holds a Ph.D., MA, and BA in International Relations and Conflict Resolution, from the University of Coimbra, in Portugal. As a researcher, she collaborated with a variety of stakeholders to analyze the regulatory process of PMSCs. Additionally, she founded PrivSecNet, a network that brings together academics and practitioners who are interested in the PMSC phenomenon.

Mr. Ravindran Daniel (India), appointed in 2020

Mr. Ravindran Daniel is an expert in international human rights law with more than 30 years of experience working on human rights at local, regional and international levels. He specializes in conflict and post-conflict situations. He has served as the Director of the Human Rights Divisions of UN Peace Operations in East Timor, Libya and Sudan. He has held senior positions in the Cambodia and Uganda offices of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In the 80s, he worked with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva. He also served as the Secretary of the UN International Enquiry Commission on East Timor. He founded the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and was a member of the launching committee that established the International Network for Economic Social and Cultural Rights. He has conducted numerous academic training and workshops for human rights activists in various parts of the world.

Ms. Sorcha MacLeod (United Kingdom), appointed in 2018

Dr Sorcha MacLeod (United Kingdom) is a Marie Curie Fellow and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is an experienced teacher and researcher in the fields of international human rights law, business and human rights with a focus on private military and security companies, and the privatisation of armed conflicts. She has published widely in these areas. She holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow, and an LLM and LLB(Hons) from the University of Dundee. She is a Guest Lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany and previously taught at Free University Berlin and the School of Law at the University of Sheffield, UK. In addition to her teaching and research she was involved in the drafting of international standards for the security industry, including a proposed UN treaty, the Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoC) and has advised civil society, the security industry and governments on human rights compliance.

Mr. Carlos Salazar Couto (Peru), appointed in 2022 – Chairperson-Rapporteur

International consultant for companies and civil society organizations in due diligence processes in human rights, security issues, development of risk matrices and conflict prevention. Executive Director (part time) of the NGO Socios Perú (managing the organization). Trainer on issues of human rights, public security and private security companies, use of force, preparation of risk matrices and others for corporates, national police, social leaders and others. Promotor of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. Coordinator of international cooperation programs financed by the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the European Union. Lecturer in different universities in human rights, development, security, social participation, extractive sector and conflict prevention. Advisor to local civil society organization in negotiation, mediation and accompaniment to conflict resolution processes.

Michelle Small (South Africa), appointed on 1 May 2024

Dr Michelle Small is a Lecturer in International Relations (IR) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds qualifications in International Relations (IR), teaching and learning (T&L) in higher education (HE), and research ethics from the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Warwick, and Global Ethics, an INGO. Her research broadly examines the (in)security dynamics on the African continent with published works on election violence, forced migration, and her core area of focus, mercenarism and private military and security companies (PMSCs) in Africa. She is currently involved in research projects on the ICC in Africa, mapping mercenarism and foreign military and security presence in Africa, and decolonising research methods and curricula in IR, specifically in the area of peace and conflict. Dr Small previously served as the Deputy Chair and protocol reviewer for the University of the Witwatersrand’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Non-Medical (HREC-NM), a position she held for 10 years.

Previous members

  • Mr. Chris Kwaja (Nigeria)  
  • Ms. Jelena Aparac (Croatia)
  • Ms. Lilian Bobea (Dominican Republic)
  • Mr. Saeed Mokbil (Yemen)
  • Mr. Gabor Rona (United States of America)
  • Ms. Patricia Arias (Chile)
  • Mr. Anton Katz (South Africa)
  • Ms. Elzbieta Karska (Poland)
  • Ms. Faiza Patel (Pakistan)
  • Ms. Najat Al-Hajjaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)
    2005 - 2011
  • Ms. Amada Benavides de Pérez (Colombia)
    2005 - 2011
  • Mr. José Luis Gómez del Prado (Spain)
  • Mr. Alexander Nikitin (Russian Federation)
  • Ms. Shaista Shameem (Fiji)