International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages
United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, Historical Archives, 2014
12 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 9, 2014
The International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages 1979 (‘Hostages Convention’) was negotiated in the context of proliferating incidents of hostage-taking in the 1970s, often connected with national liberation struggles in pursuit of self-determination from colonial regime. This article, prepared for the Historical Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, examines the drafting history of the Hostages Convention; explains its principal provisions (including the ‘prosecute or extradite’ principle underpinning the Convention); discusses the relationship of the Convention’s offences to hostage-taking in armed conflict governed by international humanitarian law; and reviews state practice and case law since the adoption of the Convention, which has influenced diverse legal contexts including criminal, extradition, civil, administrative, human rights, and refugee law.
Keywords: hostage-taking, hostages, terrorism, self-determination, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, armed conflict
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation