The United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed UT lecturer Jovana Jezdimirovic Ranito as an expert for its Working Group on the use of mercenaries. The Working Group examines the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of people to self-determination. The appointment was approved by the UN Human Rights Council on 13 October 2023, during the fifty-fourth session of the Council.
This Working Group was established in July 2005 and consists of five independent international experts from different geographical regions, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council for a period of six years. It is tasked with:
- Monitoring mercenaries and mercenary-related activities in all their forms.
- Researching and identifying sources, causes, emerging issues, manifestations, and trends related to mercenaries, mercenary-related activities, and private military and security companies and their impact on human rights, particularly the right to self-determination.
- Continuing the work of previous mandate holders to strengthen the international legal framework for preventing and sanctioning the recruitment, use, financing, and training of mercenaries.
- Actively participating in other Human Rights Council subsidiary bodies that deal with issues related to mercenaries, mercenary-related activities, and private military and security companies.
Jovana, originally from Serbia, works as a lecturer at the University College Twente since 2020. She obtained her PhD in International Relations at the University of Coimbra in Portugal in 2016. On her appointment, she says: “The UN mandate serves as a reminder of the major problems facing our planet as well as an unparalleled opportunity to have a meaningful impact. I am determined to do my part to carry out this responsibility and support the UN's effort to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Over the past fifteen years, I have devoted my attention to comprehending the phenomenon of the private use of violence, including its various manifestations that defy the UN's existing definition of mercenaries and, as a result, lie beyond the existing scope of international law. I'm excited to support global human rights protection and contribute to strengthening the international legal framework governing the private use of force in peace and conflict situations.”