Practice Relating to Rule 96. Hostage-Taking
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IMT Charter (Nuremberg)
Under Article 6(b) of the 1945 IMT Charter (Nuremberg) “killing of hostages” is a war crime. 
Charter of the International Military Tribunal for Germany, concluded by the Government of the United States of America, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, acting in the interests of all the United Nations and by their representatives duly authorized thereto, annexed to the London Agreement, London, 8 August 1945, Article 6(b).

Geneva Conventions (1949)
Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states that the taking of hostages is and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever. 
Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 3; Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 3; Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 3; Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 3.

Geneva Convention IV
Article 34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV states that the taking of hostages is prohibited. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 34.

Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV states that hostage-taking is a grave breach of the Convention. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 147.

Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons
Article 2(1)(a) and (2) of the 1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons obliges States Parties to make punishable an “attack upon the person or liberty of an internationally protected person”. 
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 3166 (XXVIII), 14 December 1973, Article 2(1)(a) and (2).

Additional Protocol I
Article 75(2)(c) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I states that the taking of hostages is an act which is and “shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents”. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 75(2)(c). Article 75 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VI, CDDH/SR.43, 27 May 1977, p. 250.

Additional Protocol II
Article 4(2)(c) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II states that the taking of hostages is prohibited. 
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), Geneva, 8 June 1977, Article 4(2)(c). Article 4 was adopted by consensus. CDDH, Official Records, Vol. VII, CDDH/SR.50, 3 June 1977, p. 90.

International Convention against the Taking of Hostages
The 1979 International Convention against the Taking of Hostages criminalizes hostage-taking. Article 1 provides:
Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as “hostage”) in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organisation, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons to do or to abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage, commits the offence of taking of hostages. 
International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 34/146, 17 December 1979, Article 1.

Article 12 of the 1979 International Convention against the Taking of Hostages specifies that the Convention is not applicable to acts of hostage-taking committed in armed conflicts if the 1949 Geneva Conventions or the 1977 Additional Protocols thereto are applicable in so far as the Conventions require States to prosecute or hand over the hostage-takers. 
International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 34/146, 17 December 1979, Article 12.

ICC Statute
Pursuant to Article 8(2)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, the “[t]aking of hostages” constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, Rome, 17 July 1998, UN Doc. A/CONF.183/9, Article 8(2)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii).

Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
Article 3(c) of the 2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone provides that “[t]he Special Court shall have the power to prosecute persons who committed or ordered the commission of serious violations of article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the Protection of War Victims, and of Additional Protocol II thereto of 8 June 1977”, which include “[t]aking of hostages”. 
Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, annexed to the 2002 Agreement on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Freetown, 16 January 2002, annexed to Letter dated 6 March 2002 from the UN Secretary-General to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/2002/246, 8 March 2002, p. 29, Article 3(c).

UN-Cambodia Agreement Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea
Article 9 of the 2003 UN-Cambodia Agreement Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea provides:
The subject-matter jurisdiction of the Extraordinary Chambers shall be the crime of genocide as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, crimes against humanity as defined in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and such other crimes as defined in Chapter II of the Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as promulgated on 10 August 2001. 
Agreement between the UN and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, Phnom Penh, 6 June 2003, Article 9.

In accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement, Cambodia’s Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001), as amended, further implements these provisions. 
Agreement between the UN and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, Phnom Penh, 6 June 2003, Article 2.

Kampala Convention
Article 9(1) of the 2009 Kampala Convention states:
State Parties shall protect the rights of internally displaced persons regardless of the cause of displacement by refraining from, and preventing, the following acts, amongst others:
c. … abduction. 
African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, adopted in Kampala, Uganda, 23 October 2009, Article 9(1)(c).

A corresponding obligation for members of armed groups, defined as “dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of the state”, is provided in the Article 7(5)(f), which states: “Members of armed groups shall be prohibited from: … kidnapping, abduction or hostage taking”. 
African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, adopted in Kampala, Uganda, 23 October 2009, Article 7(5)(f).

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Allied Control Council Law No. 10
Article II(1)(b) of the 1945 Allied Control Council Law No. 10 provides that “killing of hostages” is a war crime. 
Allied Control Council Law No. 10: Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes, Crimes against Peace and against Humanity, enacted by the Allied Control Council of Germany, composed of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Berlin, 20 December 1945, Article II(1)(b).

Nuremberg Principles
Principle VI of the 1950 Nuremberg Principles adopted by the International Law Commission provides that “killing of hostages” is a war crime. 
Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, adopted by the International Law Commission, UN Doc. A/1316, New York, 5 June–29 July 1950, Principle VI.

UN Command Rules and Regulations
Under Rule 4 of the 1950 UN Command Rules and Regulations, Military Commissions of the UN Command had jurisdiction over offences such as the improper treatment of hostages. 
Rules of Criminal Procedure for Military Commissions of the United Nations Command, Tokyo, 22 October 1950, Rule 4.

ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1991)
According to Article 22(2)(a) of the 1991 ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, “acts of … taking of hostages” are considered as an exceptionally serious war crime and as a serious violation of the principles and rules of international law applicable in armed conflict. 
Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, adopted by the International Law Commission, reprinted in Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-third session, 29 April–19 July 1991, UN Doc. A/46/10, 1991, Article 22(2)(a).

Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 4 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requires that all civilians be treated in accordance with Article 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 4.

Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Under Paragraph 1 of the 1992 Agreement on the Application of IHL between the Parties to the Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the parties committed themselves to respect and ensure respect for common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Paragraph 2.3 requires that all civilians be treated in accordance with Article 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Agreement between Representatives of Mr. Alija Izetbegović (President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action), Representatives of Mr. Radovan Karadžić (President of the Serbian Democratic Party), and Representative of Mr. Miljenko Brkić (President of the Croatian Democratic Community), Geneva, 22 May 1992, §§ 1 and 2.3.

ICTY Statute
Under Article 2(h) of the 1993 ICTY Statute, the Tribunal is competent to prosecute the taking of civilians as hostages. 
Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, adopted by the UN Security Council, Res. 827, 25 May 1993, as amended by Res. 1166, 13 May 1998 and by Res. 1329, 30 November 2000, Article 2(h).

ICTR Statute
Under Article 4(c) of the 1994 ICTR Statute, the Tribunal is competent to prosecute violations of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including the taking of hostages. 
Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994, adopted by the UN Security Council, Res. 955, 8 November 1994, as amended by Res. 1165, 30 April 1998, and by Res. 1329, 30 November 2000, Article 4(c).

ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1996)
According to Article 20(a)(viii) of the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, the “[t]aking of hostages” is regarded as a war crime. Under Article 20(f)(iii), “[t]aking of hostages” constitutes a war crime in conflicts not of an international character. 
Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, adopted by the International Law Commission, reprinted in Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session, 6 May–26 July 1996, UN Doc. A/51/10, 1996, Article 20(a)(viii) and (f)(iii).

Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL in the Philippines
Article 3(1) of Part IV of the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL in the Philippines provides that all acts of violence, including hostage-taking, shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to persons hors de combat. 
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, The Hague, 16 March 1998, Part IV, Article 3(1).

UN Secretary General’s Bulletin
According to Section 7.2 of the 1999 UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin, the taking hostage of persons not, or no longer, taking part in military operations and persons placed hors de combat is prohibited at any time and in any place. 
Observance by United Nations Forces of International Humanitarian Law, Secretary-General’s Bulletin, UN Secretariat, UN Doc. ST/SGB/1999/13, 6 August 1999, Section 7.2.

UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15
The UNTAET Regulation No. 2000/15 establishes panels with exclusive jurisdiction over serious criminal offences, including war crimes. According to Section 6(1)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii), the “[t]aking of hostages” constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Regulation on the Establishment of Panels with Exclusive Jurisdiction over Serious Criminal Offences, UN Doc. UNTAET/REG/2000/15, Dili, 6 June 2000, § 6(1)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii).

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Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) and Law of War Manual (1989) prohibit the taking of hostages. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, §§ 4.012 and 8.001; Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, §§ 4.15, 4.29, 7.04 and 8.03.

Australia
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) provides that “taking protected persons as hostages” is a crime likely to warrant institution of criminal proceedings. 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 1305(c).

Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides that hostage-taking is prohibited. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, §§ 953 and 1315.

Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states:
The following acts are prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:

• the taking of hostages …; and

• threats to commit any of the foregoing acts. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 9.46; see also § 9.58.

In its chapter on “Compliance”, the manual states:
Grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions consist of any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Convention:

• taking hostages. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 13.25.

The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Belgium
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) prohibits hostage-taking and adds that it constitutes a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Belgium, Droit Pénal et Disciplinaire Militaire et Droit de la Guerre, Deuxième Partie, Droit de la Guerre, Ecole Royale Militaire, par J. Maes, Chargé de cours, Avocat-général près la Cour Militaire, D/1983/1187/029, 1983, pp. 50 and 55.

Belgium’s Teaching Manual for Soldiers explains that the prohibition on taking hostages is a necessary corollary of the obligation to respect the civilian population. 
Belgium, Droit de la Guerre, Dossier d’Instruction pour Soldat, à l’attention des officiers instructeurs, JS3, Etat-Major Général, Forces Armées belges, undated, pp. 10, 14 and 41 and slide 1/7.

Benin
Benin’s Military Manual (1995) states that the taking of hostages is prohibited in international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Benin, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Forces Armées du Bénin, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1995, Fascicule I, p. 17, Fascicule II, p. 19 and Fascicule III, p. 4.

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s Disciplinary Regulations (1994) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Burkina Faso, Règlement de Discipline Générale dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 94-159/IPRES/DEF, Ministère de la Défense, 1994, Article 35(2).

Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “[c]ivilian persons must be … treated with humanity (… prohibition on hostage taking)”. 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 55; see also Part I bis, p. 2 and 53.

The Regulations also lists the “taking of hostages” as a “grave breach” of IHL. 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, pp. 26–27; see also Part I bis, pp. 46, 67, 82 and 115.

Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline dans les Forces Armées, Décret No. 75/700, 6 November 1975, Article 32.

Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (1992) explicitly forbids civilian hostage-taking. 
Cameroon, Droit international humanitaire et droit de la guerre, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les Forces Armées, Présidence de la République, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-major des Armées, Troisième Division, Edition 1992, p. 151, § 421(1).

Cameroon
Cameroon’s Instructor’s Manual (2006), under the heading “Rules for Conduct in Combat” and referring to “civilians”, states: “The taking of hostages is prohibited.” 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 31; see also pp. 51, 77 and 107.

The manual also states that “the taking of hostages” constitutes a grave breach of IHL. 
Cameroon, Droit des conflits armés et droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces de défense, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 295, § 661.

Cameroon
Cameroon’s Disciplinary Regulations (2007) states:
Article 32: Prohibitions
It is prohibited to soldiers in combat:

- to take hostages, to engage in reprisals or collective punishments. 
Cameroon, Règlement de discipline générale dans les forces de défense, Décret N° 2007/199, Président de la République, 7 July 2007, Article 32.

Canada
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) prohibits the taking of hostages in international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Level, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 1999, p. 11-4, §§ 33(e) and 63(c), p. 16-3, § 14(e) and p. 17-2, §§ 10 and 21.

Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power and, more specifically, in a section entitled “Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories”, states:
[The 1949 Geneva Convention IV] prohibits taking any measure, which will cause physical suffering to protected persons or will lead to their extermination. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishment, mutilation or medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other form of brutality, whether applied by civilians or by military personnel. The following are expressly prohibited:

e. the taking of hostages. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1121.2.e.

In the same chapter, in a section entitled “Additional Protocol I”, the manual states:
1. [The 1977 Additional Protocol I] provides that all persons in the power of a party to the conflict are entitled to at least a minimum of humane treatment without adverse discrimination on grounds of race, gender, language, religion, political discrimination or similar criteria. It states in part:
2. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents:

c. the taking of hostages;

e. threats to commit any of the foregoing acts. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1135.1, 2.c and e.

In its chapter on “War crimes, individual criminal liability and command responsibility”, the manual states: “In the case of civilians in the hands of the adverse party, it is also a grave breach: … e. to take hostages”. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1607.6.e.

In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual restates the provisions of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions:
By Common Article 3, the parties to a non-international armed conflict occurring in the territory of a party to the Conventions are obliged to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
a. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, gender, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following are at any time and in any place prohibited with regard to such persons:

ii taking of hostages. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1708.1.

In the same chapter, the manual also states:
Although [the 1977 Additional Protocol II] contains no provisions relating to enforcement or punishment of breaches, it does contain a statement of fundamental guarantees prohibiting at any time and anywhere:

c. taking of hostages;

g. threats to commit any of the foregoing. 
Canada, The Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels, Office of the Judge Advocate General, 13 August 2001, § 1713.1.c and g.

Canada’s Prisoner of War Handling and Detainees Manual (2004) states: “Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and [the 1977 Additional Protocol I] include any of the following actions[:] … Taking hostage protected persons.” 
Canada, Prisoner of War Handling, Detainees, Interrogation and Tactical Questioning in International Operations, B-GJ-005-110/FP-020, National Defence Headquarters, 1 August 2004, Annex G, “Guidance for the Employment of Prisoners of War”.

Central African Republic
The Central African Republic’s Instructor’s Manual (1999) states in Volume 1 (Basic and team leader instruction) that “the taking of hostages … [is] prohibited.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 1: Formation élémentaire toutes armés (FETA), formation commune de base (FCB), certificat d’aptitude technique No. 1 (Chef d’équipe), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter III, Section IV; see also Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 2: Formation pour l’obtention du certificat technique No. 2 (Chef de Groupe), du certificat Inter-Armé (CIA), du certificat d’aptitude de Chef de Patrouille (CACP), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter V, Section II, § 8.

In Volume 3 (Instruction for non-commissioned officers studying for the level 1 and 2 certificates and for future officers of the criminal police), the manual states: “Causing harm to life, health or physical or mental well-being, for example through … hostage-taking … , is prohibited.” 
Central African Republic, Le Droit de la Guerre, Fascicule No. 3: Formation pour l’obtention du Brevet d’Armes No. 1, du Brevet d’Armes No. 2 et le stage d’Officier de Police Judiciaire (OPJ), Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Centrafricaines, 1999, Chapter I, Section I.

The Central African Republic’s Disciplinary Regulations (2009) states: “During combat, it is also prohibited for servicemen to … take hostages”. 
Central African Republic, Décret 09.411 portant règlement de discipline générale dans les Armées, Ministre de la Défense Nationale, des Anciens Combattants, des Victimes de Guerre, du Désarmement et de la Restructuration de l’Armée, 10 December 2009, Article 12(11).

Chad
Chad’s Instructor’s Manual (2006) prohibits “hostage-taking”. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 92; see also pp. 26 and 47.

The manual also states that “hostage-taking” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and thus a war crime. 
Chad, Droit international humanitaire, Manuel de l’instructeur en vigueur dans les forces armées et de sécurité, Ministère de la Défense, Présidence de la République, Etat-major des Armées, 2006, p. 108; see also p. 78.

Colombia
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) prohibits the taking of the civilian population as hostages. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 30.

Congo
The Congo’s Disciplinary Regulations (1986) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Congo, Décret No. 86/057 du 14 janvier 1986 portant Règlement du Service dans l’Armée Populaire Nationale, 1986, Article 32(2).

Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book I (Basic instruction):
Lesson 3. Rules on behaviour in combat

I.1 Basic rules

[Basic Rule No. 8]:
Do not take hostages.

[Observation]:
These acts are inconsistent with a humane treatment of persons in your power …

I.2 Specific rules

Civilians

12. Protect them against ill-treatment
- Acts of revenge and taking of hostages are prohibited.

Lesson 4. Breaches and repression of violations of IHL

I. Grave violations

They are enumerated by the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols, as well as by the Ivorian Penal Code.
They are:

- taking of hostages. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre I: Instruction de base, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 21–22, 23, 26 and 29; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre II: Instruction du gradé et du cadre, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 16; Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 39; Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 66.

In Book II (Instruction of non-commissioned officers and officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
I.1.1. War crimes
They are grave violations of IHL mentioned in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, committed during armed conflict.
Examples: … taking of hostages, etc. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre II: Instruction du gradé et du cadre, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 28.

In Book III, Volume 2 (Instruction of second-year trainee officers), the Teaching Manual provides:
Lesson 2. Protection

I.1. Protection of the civilian population

Geneva Convention IV prohibits using the civilian population as a shield … Pillage, hostage-taking and reprisal measures against civilians are equally prohibited.

I.2. Protection of combatants and associated personnel

A person hors de combat must be collected and protected in conformity with the provisions of Geneva Convention I for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick. In this respect, they must not be the object:

- of hostage-taking,

Lesson 4. Violations and repression

I.3. War crimes

This is by far the breach which can take the most varied forms. It relates to the grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, namely the following acts directed against the persons or objects protected by these acts:

- taking civilians as hostages. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 2: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 2ème année, Manuel de l’instructeur, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, pp. 21, 23 and 43–45.

Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that “hostage-taking” is a grave breach of IHL and a war crime. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, Annex 9, p. 56.

Croatia’s Soldiers’ Manual (1992) explicitly forbids civilian hostage-taking. 
Croatia, Rules of Conduct for Soldiers, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1992, p. 5.

Djibouti
Djibouti’s Manual on International Humanitarian Law (2004) states with regard to civilians that “taking hostages” is “prohibited”. 
Djibouti, Manuel sur le droit international humanitaire et les droits de l’homme applicables au travail du policier, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Direction Générale de la Police, 2004, p. 7.

The manual also states that the following “are currently considered as war crimes … if committed against any person not or no longer participating in hostilities: … taking hostages”. 
Djibouti, Manuel sur le droit international humanitaire et les droits de l’homme applicables au travail du policier, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Direction Générale de la Police, 2004, p. 50.

Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s Military Manual (1980) provides: “It is a breach of the laws of war to take civilians as hostages.” 
Dominican Republic, La Conducta en Combate según las Leyes de la Guerra, Escuela Superior de las FF. AA. “General de Brigada Pablo Duarte”, Secretaría de Estado de las Fuerzas Armadas, May 1980, p. 10.

Ecuador
Ecuador’s Naval Manual (1989) provides: “Enemy civilians may not be interned as hostages.” 
Ecuador, Aspectos Importantes del Derecho Internacional Marítimo que Deben Tener Presente los Comandantes de los Buques, Academia de Guerra Naval, 1989, § 11-9.

France
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, prohibits hostage-taking. 
France, Règlement de Discipline Générale dans les Armées, Decree No. 75-675 of 28 July 1975, replacing Decree No. 66-749, completed by Decree of 11 October 1978, implemented by Instruction No. 52000/DEF/C/5 of 10 December 1979, and modified by Decree of 12 July 1982, Ministère de la Défense, Etat-Major de l’Armée de Terre, Bureau Emploi, Article 9 bis (2).

France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) states that the taking of hostages is a war crime under the law of armed conflict. 
France, Fiche de Synthèse sur les Règles Applicables dans les Conflits Armés, Note No. 432/DEF/EMA/OL.2/NP, Général de Corps d’Armée Voinot (pour l’Amiral Lanxade, Chef d’Etat-major des Armées), 1992, § 3.4.

France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides that neither prisoners of war nor any protected persons shall be used as hostages and that hostage-taking is a violation of the laws of armed conflict. 
France, Fiche didactique relative au droit des conflits armés, Directive of the Ministry of Defence, 4 January 2000, annexed to the Directive No. 147 of the Ministry of Defence of 4 January 2000, pp. 3, 5 and 7.

France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. It adds that hostage-taking is expressly prohibited by the law of armed conflict and has been considered a war crime since 1949. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, pp. 45 and 51.

The manual also states that one of the three main principles common to IHL and human rights is the principle of security, which prohibits the taking of hostages. 
France, Manuel de droit des conflits armés, Ministère de la Défense, Direction des Affaires Juridiques, Sous-Direction du droit international humanitaire et du droit européen, Bureau du droit des conflits armés, 2001, p. 101.

Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) states: “The taking of hostages is prohibited.” It also states that hostage-taking is prohibited in case of occupation. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, §§ 508 and 537.

The manual further provides that hostage-taking is a grave breach of IHL. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, August 1992, § 1209.

Germany’s Soldiers’ Manual (2006) states: “Reprisals against the civilian population are prohibited, likewise taking of hostages, collective penalties, pillage as well as measures of intimidation or terrorization.” 
Germany, Druckschrift Einsatz Nr. 03, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Grundsätze, Erarbeitet nach ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten Konflikten – Handbuch, DSK SF009320187, Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, R II 3, August 2006, p. 4.

Greece
The Hellenic Territorial Army’s Internal Service Code (1984), as amended, provides: “It is forbidden for members of the armed forces: … To take hostages.” 
Greece, Hellenic Territorial Army Regulation of Internal Service Code, Presidential Decree 130/1984 (Military Regulation 20-1), as amended, Article 15(e).

Guinea
Guinea’s Soldier’s Manual (2010) states that “taking hostages [is] prohibited.” 
Guinea, Soldier’s Manual, Ministry of National Defence, 2010, p. 10; see also p. 15.

Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that hostage-taking is a grave breach of IHL and a war crime. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 90.

Ireland
Ireland’s Basic LOAC Guide (2005) states that the “taking of hostages” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV relating to the treatment of civilians. 
Ireland, Basic Guide to the Law of Armed Conflict, TP/TRG/01-2005, Director of Defence Forces Training, Department of Defence, July 2005, p. 12.

Italy
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) prohibits hostage-taking and states that the taking of hostages is a war crime. 
Italy, Manuale di diritto umanitario, Introduzione e Volume I, Usi e convenzioni di Guerra, SMD-G-014, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, Vol. I, §§ 20, 41(f), 48(6) and 84.

Italy’s LOAC Elementary Rules Manual (1991) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Italy, Regole elementari di diritto di guerra, SMD-G-012, Stato Maggiore della Difesa, I Reparto, Ufficio Addestramento e Regolamenti, Rome, 1991, § 17.

Italy’s Combatant’s Manual (1998) instructs: “Do not take hostages”. 
Italy, Manuale del Combattente, SME 1000/A/2, Stato Maggiore Esercito/Reparto Impiego delle Forze, Ufficio Dottrina, Addestramento e Regolamenti, 1998, § 250.

Kenya
Kenya’s LOAC Manual (1997) lists as one of the soldier’s rules for behaviour in combat: “Do not take hostages.” 
Kenya, Law of Armed Conflict, Military Basic Course (ORS), 4 Précis, The School of Military Police, 1997, Précis No. 2, pp. 5–6 and Précis No. 3, p. 14, § 2.

Madagascar
Madagascar’s Military Manual (1994) states that the taking of hostages is prohibited. 
Madagascar, Le Droit des Conflits Armés, Ministère des Forces Armées, August 1994, Fiche No. 3-O, § 17, Fiche No. 4-T, § 23 and Fiche No. 5-T, § 8.

Mali
Mali’s Army Regulations (1979) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Mali, Règlement du Service dans l’Armée, 1ère Partie: Discipline Générale, Ministère de la Défense Nationale, 1979, Article 36.

Mexico
Mexico’s Army and Air Force Manual (2009) states: “The States party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions undertake to: … prohibit … hostage-taking.” 
Mexico, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para el Ejército y la Fuerza Área Mexicanos, Ministry of National Defence, June 2009, § 80(C); see also § 85(B), §§ 104, 107(B) and 224(B).

Mexico’s IHL Guidelines (2009) states: “War crimes include … the taking and execution of hostages”. 
Mexico, Cartilla de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, Ministry of National Defence, 2009, § 5.

Morocco
Morocco’s Disciplinary Regulations (1974) prohibits hostage-taking. 
Morocco, Règlement de Discipline Général dans les Forces Armées Royales, Dahir No. 1-74-383 du 15 rejeb 1394, 5 August 1974, Article 25(2).

Netherlands
The Military Manual (1993) of the Netherlands restates the prohibition of hostage-taking found in common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Article 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I and Article 4 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II.  
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, pp. VIII-3, XI-1 and XI-4.

The manual further provides that hostage-taking is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I. 
Netherlands, Toepassing Humanitair Oorlogsrecht, Voorschift No. 27-412/1, Koninklijke Landmacht, Ministerie van Defensie, 1993, p. IX-5.

The Military Manual (2005) of the Netherlands states that “kidnapping and deportation are forbidden”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0224(f).

In its chapter on the protection of the civilian population, the manual states that “hostage-taking [is] prohibited”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0808.

The manual refers to hostage-taking as an act that is “prohibited at all times”. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 0810.
(emphasis in original)
In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states: “Acts of terror and hostage-taking are prohibited.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1039.

In its chapter on non-international armed conflict, the manual states:
It is expressly prohibited to carry out the following acts against the civilian population or individual civilians, wounded, sick or prisoners:

- hostage-taking;

- threatening anyone with the above-mentioned acts or treatment. 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1051.

In its chapter on peace operations, under the heading “Protection and treatment of civilians”, the manual states: “Any form of physical violence, hostage-taking, collective punishments or threats of these are strictly prohibited.” 
Netherlands, Humanitair Oorlogsrecht: Handleiding, Voorschift No. 27-412, Koninklijke Landmacht, Militair Juridische Dienst, 2005, § 1228.

New Zealand
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) restates Article 75(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, which provides for the prohibition of “the taking of hostages” at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1137.2.

The manual also states that “the taking of hostages is now forbidden by treaty”. 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1607.

The manual further provides that it is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV “to take a protected civilian hostage” (Article 147). 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1702.3(e).

The manual prohibits hostage-taking in non-international armed conflicts and explains: “It has now become accepted, in international conflicts at least, that the taking of hostages is an offence under customary law and most systems of national law forbid such actions.” 
New Zealand, Interim Law of Armed Conflict Manual, DM 112, New Zealand Defence Force, Headquarters, Directorate of Legal Services, Wellington, November 1992, § 1812.1(c), including footnote 35, and § 1807.1.

Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s Military Manual (1996) prohibits the taking of hostages, including the threat to commit such acts. 
Nicaragua, Manual de Comportamiento y Proceder de las Unidades Militares y de los Miembros del Ejército de Nicaragua en Tiempo de Paz, Conflictos Armados, Situaciones Irregulares o Desastres Naturales, Ejército de Nicaragua, Estado Mayor General, Asesoría Jurídica del Nicaragua, 1996, Articles 7(2) and 14(35).

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Manual on the Laws of War provides that hostage-taking is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and is considered a serious war crime. 
Nigeria, The Laws of War, by Lt. Col. L. Ode PSC, Nigerian Army, Lagos, undated, § 6(c).

The manual also specifies that “killing of hostages” is a war crime. 
Nigeria, The Laws of War, by Lt. Col. L. Ode PSC, Nigerian Army, Lagos, undated, § 6(17).

Peru
Peru’s IHL Manual (2004) states: “Hostage taking is prohibited.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 32.k.

In situations of non-international armed conflict, the manual states that the “taking of hostages” committed against persons taking no active part in hostilities or placed hors de combat is prohibited. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial Nº 1394-2004-DE/CCFFAA/CDIH-FFAA, Lima, 1 December 2004, § 71.a.(2).

Peru’s IHL and Human Rights Manual (2010) states: “Hostage taking is prohibited.” 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 33(k), p. 251; see also p. 419.

In situations of non-international armed conflict, the manual states that the “taking of hostages” committed against persons taking no active part in hostilities, or placed hors de combat, is prohibited. 
Peru, Manual de Derecho Internacional Humanitario y Derechos Humanos para las Fuerzas Armadas, Resolución Ministerial No. 049-2010/DE/VPD, Lima, 21 May 2010, § 72(a)(2), p. 270.

Philippines
The Soldier’s Rules (1989) of the Philippines instructs soldiers: “Do not take hostages.” 
Philippines, Soldier’s Rules, in Handbook on Discipline, Annex C(I), General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, 1989, § 8.

Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea’s Military Regulation 187 (1991) provides that taking hostages is an “unjustifiable crime”. 
Republic of Korea, Military Regulation 187, 1 January 1991, § 4.2.

Romania
Romania’s Soldiers’ Manual (1991) provides that hostage-taking of civilians and captured combatants is prohibited. 
Romania, Manualul Soldatului, Ghid de comportare în luptă, Asociaţia Română de Drept Umanitar (ARDU), 1991, pp. 15 and 34.

Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Military Manual (1990) prohibits “the taking of hostages” as a method of warfare. 
Russian Federation, Instructions on the Application of the Rules of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the USSR, Appendix to Order of the USSR Defence Minister No. 75, 1990, § 5(m).

The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states:
Under any circumstances international humanitarian law ensures humane treatment during an armed conflict, of persons not directly involved in combat operations … In particular, the following shall be prohibited with regard to such persons: … taking of hostages … [and] threats to commit any of the above acts. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 4.

The Regulations further states: “The prohibited methods of warfare include … taking of hostages.” 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 7.

With regard to the behaviour of forces in occupied territory, the Regulations provides: “It is prohibited … in the occupied territory … to take hostages.” 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 75.

With regard to internal armed conflict, the Regulations further provides:
The following acts against [all persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities] are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever: … taking of hostages [and] threats to commit any of the foregoing acts. 
Russian Federation, Regulations on the Application of International Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 8 August 2001, § 81.

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) provides: “Do not take hostages.” 
Sierra Leone, The Law of Armed Conflict. Instructor Manual for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Armed Forces Education Centre, September 2007, p. 34.

Senegal
Senegal’s IHL Manual (1999) restates common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and prohibits the taking of hostages. 
Senegal, Le DIH adapté au contexte des opérations de maintien de l’ordre, République du Sénégal, Ministère des Forces Armées, Haut Commandement de la Gendarmerie et Direction de la Justice Militaire, Cabinet, 1999, pp. 4 and 23.

South Africa
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that the “taking of hostages” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 40.

South Africa’s Revised Civic Education Manual (2004) provides that the taking of hostages is a grave breach of the law of armed conflict and a war crime. 
South Africa, Revised Civic Education Manual, South African National Defence Force, 2004, Chapter 4, § 57.

Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) prohibits the taking of hostages among the civilian population. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 7.3.a.(1); see also § 10.6.b.(4) and 10.8.b.

The same prohibition applies to prisoners of war. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 8.2.c.

Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) states:
[N]o person who is captured or detained in relation to an armed conflict remains unprotected under the law of armed conflict and is entitled, at all times, to minimum guarantees. [These include] … prohibition of the following acts at any time and in any place, whether committed by civilian or military agents:

l. the taking of hostages. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 8.2.c; see also § 10.3.e.(1).

The manual also prohibits the taking of hostages among the civilian population. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 7.3.a.(1).

Sweden
Sweden’s IHL Manual (1991) considers that the fundamental guarantees for persons in the power of one party to the conflict as contained in Article 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I are part of customary international law. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 2.2.3, p. 19.

The manual also provides that “taking hostages” is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Sweden, International Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict, with reference to the Swedish Total Defence System, Swedish Ministry of Defence, January 1991, Section 4.2, p. 93.

Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) prohibits the taking of hostages and any order given to that end. It specifies that the taking of protected civilians as hostages is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Articles 147(d)–(e), 154 and 192(1)(c).

Togo
Togo’s Military Manual (1996) states that hostage-taking is prohibited in international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Togo, Le Droit de la Guerre, III fascicules, Etat-major Général des Forces Armées Togolaises, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 1996, Fascicule I, p. 18, Fascicule II, p. 19 and Fascicule III, p. 4.

Ukraine
Ukraine’s IHL Manual (2004) states:
1.3.2. The following methods of warfare shall be prohibited:

- taking hostages.

1.8.5. Serious violations of international humanitarian law directed against people include:

- taking hostages. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, §§ 1.3.2 and 1.8.5.

The manual further states that “taking of hostages”, or threats of such action, against the following persons is prohibited in non-international armed conflicts:
- persons taking no active part in the hostilities;
- members of armed forces who have laid down their arms;
- those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause. 
Ukraine, Manual on the Application of IHL Rules, Ministry of Defence, 11 September 2004, § 1.4.10.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) forbids the taking hostage of the civilian population, whether in an occupied territory or not. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 42, 131, 554 and 650.

The manual specifies that “the taking of hostages” among persons protected by the 1949 Geneva Convention IV is a grave breach of that Convention. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 625(c).

The manual also mentions the killing of hostages in its list of war crimes. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 626(q).

The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) prohibits the taking of hostages, including in non-international armed conflicts. 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 35, § 9 and Section 12, p. 42, § 2; see also Annex A, p. 48, § 20.

The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states in its chapter on the protection of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict: “The following acts are prohibited “at any time and in any place whatsoever”: … c. the taking of hostages.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.4.

In its chapter on internal armed conflict, the manual restates the provisions of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions:
Under the terms of Common Article 3, the parties to a non-international armed conflict occurring in the territory of a party to the Conventions are obliged to apply “as a minimum”, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(b) taking of hostages. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.4.

In its chapter on enforcement of the law of armed conflict, the manual states:
In earlier times, hostages were often taken, given or exchanged to ensure observance of treaties, armistices and other agreements. The taking of hostages, whether civilian or military, is now prohibited. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.1.3.

The manual further notes:
Grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions consist of any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant convention:

h. taking hostages. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 16.24.

United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) restates common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and provides that the “taking of hostages” is a war crime under the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, §§ 11 and 502(c).

The US Air Force Pamphlet (1976) states that hostage-taking is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
United States, Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law – The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, US Department of the Air Force, 1976, § 15-3(c).

The US Instructor’s Guide (1985) prohibits hostage-taking and specifies that it is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
United States, Instructor’s Guide – The Law of War, Headquarters Department of the Army, Washington, April 1985, p. 8.

The US Naval Handbook (1995) provides: “Enemy civilians may not be interned as hostages.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-2.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Transportation, US Coast Guard, October 1995 (formerly NWP 9 (Rev. A)/FMFM 1–10, October 1989), § 11-8.

The US Manual for Military Commissions (2007), Part IV, Crimes and Elements, includes in the list of crimes triable by military commissions:
TAKING HOSTAGES.
a. Text. “Any person subject to this chapter who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commission under this chapter may direct.”
b. Elements.
(1) The accused seized, detained, or held hostage one or more persons;
(2) The accused threatened to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons;
(3) The accused intended to compel a State, an international organization, a natural or legal person, or a group of persons, to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person; and
(4) The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with armed conflict.
c. Comment. This offense cannot be committed by lawfully detaining enemy combatants or other individuals as authorized by law of armed conflict.
d. Maximum punishment. Death, if the death of any person occurs as a result of the hostage taking. Otherwise, confinement for life. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, 10 U.S.C. §§ 948a, et seq., 18 January 2007, Part IV, § 6(7), p. IV-6.

The US Naval Handbook (2007) states that “the following acts are prohibited with respect to detainees in DOD [Department of Defense] custody and control: … Taking of hostages”. 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 11.2.

The Handbook further states: “Civilians of an enemy nation may not be interned as hostages.” 
United States, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, NWP 1-14M/MCWP 5-12.1/COMDTPUB P5800.7, issued by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Headquarters, US Marine Corps, and Department of Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, July 2007, § 11.5.

The US Manual on Detainee Operations (2008) states:
As a subset of military operations, detainee operations must comply with the law of war during all armed conflicts …

… Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as construed and applied by U.S. law, establishes minimum standards for the humane treatment of all persons detained by the United States, coalition, and allied forces. Common Article 3 prohibits at any time and in any place: “… taking of hostages … ”. 
United States, Manual on Detainee Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 30 May 2008, pp. I-2–I-3.

The manual further states:
DODD 2310.01E [Department of Defense Directive, The Department of Defense Detainee Program] requires that all DOD [Department of Defense] personnel and contractors will apply, without regard to a detainee’s legal status, at a minimum, the standards articulated in Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 …
Article 3 Common to the Geneva Convention of 1949
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities … shall in all circumstances be treated humanely …
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(b) taking of hostages. 
United States, Manual on Detainee Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 30 May 2008, pp. III-11–III-12.

The US Manual for Military Commissions (2010), Part IV, Crimes and Elements, includes in the list of crimes triable by military commissions:
TAKING HOSTAGES.
a. Text. “Any person subject to this chapter who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commission under this chapter may direct.”
b. Elements.
(1) The accused seized, detained, or held hostage one or more persons;
(2) The accused threatened to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons;
(3) The accused intended to compel a State, an international organization, a natural or legal person, or a group of persons, to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person; and
(4) The conduct took place in the context of and was associated with hostilities.
c. Maximum punishment. Death, if the death of any person occurs as a result of the hostage taking. Otherwise, confinement for life. 
United States, Manual for Military Commissions, published in implementation of Chapter 47A of Title 10, United States Code, as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C, §§ 948a, et seq., 27 April 2010, § 5(7), pp. IV-6 and IV-7.

Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) forbids civilian hostage-taking. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Propisi o Primeri Pravila Medjunarodnog Ratnog Prava u Oruzanim Snagama SFRJ, PrU-2, Savezni Sekretarijat za Narodnu Odbranu (Pravna Uprava), 1988, § 253(3).

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Code of Conduct for Combatants (1993) states that “taking hostages [is] forbidden.” 
Zimbabwe, Code of Conduct for Combatants, Joint publication of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Delegation in Harare, 1993, p. 11.

The Code of Conduct also states: “As a State party to the [1949] Geneva Conventions … your country is bound by these treaties … Article 3 common to all four Geneva Conventions, which regulates non-international armed conflicts, … prohibits taking of hostages”. 
Zimbabwe, Code of Conduct for Combatants, Joint publication of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Delegation in Harare, 1993, pp. 14–15; see also p. 16.

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Armenia
Under Armenia’s Penal Code (2003), “taking hostages” during an armed conflict constitutes a crime against the peace and security of mankind. 
Armenia, Penal Code, 2003, Article 390.2(5).

Australia
Australia’s Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 2002, provides: “A person who, in Australia or elsewhere, commits a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions … is guilty of an indictable offence.” 
Australia, Geneva Conventions Act, 1957, as amended in 2002, Section 7(1).

The grave breaches provisions in this Act were removed in 2002 and incorporated into the Criminal Code Act 1995.
Australia’s Criminal Code Act (1995), as amended in 2007, states with respect to war crimes that are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I:
268.34 War crime – taking hostages
(1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator seizes, detains or otherwise holds hostage one or more persons; and
(b) the perpetrator threatens to kill, injure or continue to detain the person or persons; and
(c) the perpetrator intends to compel the government of a country, an international organisation or a person or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for either the safety or the release of the person or persons; and
(d) the person or persons are protected under one or more of the Geneva Conventions or under Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions; and
(e) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the factual circumstances that establish that the person or persons are so protected; and
(f) the perpetrator’s conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 17 years.
(2) Strict liability applies to paragraph (1)(d). 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended on 1 November 2007, taking into account amendments up to Act No. 177 of 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.34, p. 325.

The Criminal Code Act also states with respect to war crimes that are serious violations of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and are committed in the course of a non-international armed conflict:
268.75 War crime – taking hostages
(1) A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator seizes, detains or otherwise holds hostage one or more persons; and
(b) the perpetrator threatens to kill, injure or continue to detain the person or persons; and
(c) the perpetrator intends to compel the government of a country, an international organisation or a person or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for either the safety or the release of the person or persons; and
(d) the person or persons are not taking an active part in the hostilities; and
(e) the perpetrator knows of, or is reckless as to, the factual circumstances establishing that the person or persons are not taking an active part in the hostilities; and
(f) the perpetrator’s conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an armed conflict that is not an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 17 years.
(2) To avoid doubt, a reference in subsection (1) to a person or persons who are not taking an active part in the hostilities includes a reference to:
(a) a person or persons who are hors de combat; or
(b) civilians, medical personnel or religious personnel who are not taking an active part in the hostilities. 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended on 1 November 2007, taking into account amendments up to Act No. 177 of 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.75, p. 352.

Australia’s ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act (2002) incorporates in the Criminal Code the war crimes defined in the 1998 ICC Statute, including “taking hostages” in both international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Australia, ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act, 2002, Schedule 1, § 268.34 and 268.75.

Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War (1995) provides that in international and non-international armed conflicts, the hostage-taking of civilians is prohibited. 
Azerbaijan, Law concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons and the Rights of Prisoners of War, 1995, Article 17(3).

Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code (1999) provides that the taking hostage of protected persons is a violation of the laws and customs of war. 
Azerbaijan, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 115.2.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the killing of hostages is a war crime. It adds that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(d) and (e).

Barbados
The Geneva Conventions Act (1980) of Barbados provides:
A person who commits a grave breach of any of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 … may be tried and punished by any court in Barbados that has jurisdiction in respect of similar offences in Barbados as if the grave breach had been committed in Barbados. 
Barbados, Geneva Conventions Act, 1980, Section 3(2).

Belarus
Belarus’s Criminal Code (1999) provides that the capture and detention of persons as hostage who have laid down their arms or who are defenceless, the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, medical and religious personnel, prisoners of war, the civilian population in an occupied territory or in the conflict zone or other persons enjoying international protection is a violation of the laws and customs of war. 
Belarus, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 135(2).

Belgium
Belgium’s Penal Code (1867), as amended in 2003, provides:
War crimes envisaged in the 1949 [Geneva] Conventions … and in the [1977 Additional Protocols I and II] … , as well as in Article 8(2)(f) of the [1998 ICC Statute], and listed below, … constitute crimes under international law and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the present title … :

11. hostage-taking. 
Belgium, Penal Code, 1867, as amended on 5 August 2003, Chapter III, Title I bis, Article 136 quater, § 1(11).

The Penal Code further states:
In the case of an armed conflict as defined in … Article 3 common [to the (1949) Geneva Conventions], the grave breaches of [common] Article 3, … listed below, shall constitute crimes under international law and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the present title, when such breaches endanger, by act or omission, persons protected by these Conventions, without prejudice to criminal provisions applicable to breaches committed out of negligence:

3. hostage-taking. 
Belgium, Penal Code, 1867, as amended on 5 August 2003, Chapter III, Title I bis, Article 136 quater, § 2(3).

Belgium’s Law concerning the Repression of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols (1993), as amended in 1999, provides that hostage-taking constitutes a crime under international law. 
Belgium, Law concerning the Repression of Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, 1993, as amended in 1999, Article 1(3)(7).

Belgium’s Law relating to the Repression of Grave Breaches of International Humanitarian Law (1993), as amended in 2003, provides:
War crimes envisaged in the 1949 [Geneva] Conventions … and in the [1977 Additional Protocols I and II] … , as well as in Article 8(2)(f) of the [1998 ICC Statute], and listed below, … constitute crimes under international law and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the present title … :

7. hostage-taking. 
Belgium, Law relating to the Repression of Grave Breaches of International Humanitarian Law, 1993, as amended on 23 April 2003, Article 1 ter, § 1(7).

The Law further states:
In the case of an armed conflict as defined in … Article 3 common [to the (1949) Geneva Conventions], the grave breaches of [common] Article 3, … listed below, shall constitute crimes under international law and shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the present title, when such breaches endanger, by act or omission, persons protected by these Conventions, without prejudice to criminal provisions applicable to breaches committed out of negligence:

3. hostage-taking. 
Belgium, Law relating to the Repression of Grave Breaches of International Humanitarian Law, 1993, as amended on 23 April 2003, Article 1 ter, § 2(3).

Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (1998) provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federation, Criminal Code, 1998, Article 154(1).

The Republic Srpska’s Criminal Code (2000) contains the same provision. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Criminal Code, 2000, Article 433(1).

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (2003) states that, in time of war, armed conflict or occupation, ordering or committing the “taking of hostages”, in violation of international law, constitutes a war crime. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code, 2003, Article 173(1)(e).

The Criminal Code also states:
Whoever unlawfully confines, keeps confined or in some other manner deprives another person of freedom of movement, or restricts it in some way, or seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain as a hostage, with an aim to compel a State or an international intergovernmental organization, to perform or to abstain from performing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of a hostage,
shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of between one and ten years. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code, 2003, Article 191(1).

The Criminal Code, as amended in 2004, further states:
Whoever unlawfully confines, keeps confined or in some other manner deprives an internationally protected person of freedom of movement, or restricts it in some way, with the aim to force him or some other person to do or to omit or to bear something, or perpetrates some other violence against such a person or his liberty … likely to endanger his person or liberty,
shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of between one and ten years. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Criminal Code, 2003, as amended in 2004, Article 192(1).

Botswana
Botswana’s Geneva Conventions Act (1970) punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside Botswana, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, any such grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] conventions”. 
Botswana, Geneva Conventions Act, 1970, Section 3(1).

Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s Penal Code (1968), as amended in 1999, provides that ordering or carrying out the taking of a civilian hostage is a war crime. 
Bulgaria, Penal Code, 1968, as amended in 1999, Article 412(b).

Burundi
Burundi’s Law on Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (2003) states:
[The following are] considered as war crimes:
A. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 8 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts aimed at persons or objects protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions:

h) taking of hostages;

C. In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no direct part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and persons placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:

c) taking of hostages. 
Burundi, Law on Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, 2003, Article 4(A)(h) and (C)(c).

Burundi’s Penal Code (2009) states:
“War crimes” means crimes which are committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes, in particular:
1. Any of the following grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions … :

8°. Taking of hostages.

3. In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions … , namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:

3°. Taking of hostages. 
Burundi, Penal Code, 2009, Article 198(1)(8°) and 3(3°).

Cambodia
Cambodia’s Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001) provides:
The Extraordinary Chambers shall have the power to bring to trial all suspects who committed or ordered the commission of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention[s] of 12 August 1949 … which were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. 
Cambodia, Law on the Establishment of the ECCC, 2001, Article 6.

Cambodia’s Law on the Establishment of the ECCC (2001), as amended in 2004, provides:
The Extraordinary Chambers shall have the power to bring to trial all Suspects who committed or ordered the commission of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, such as the following acts against persons or property protected under provisions of these Conventions, and which were committed during the period 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979:

- taking civilians as hostages. 
Cambodia, Law on the Establishment of the ECCC, 2001, as amended in 2004, Article 6.

Canada
Canada’s Geneva Conventions Act (1985), as amended in 2007, provides: “Every person who, whether within or outside Canada, commits a grave breach [of the 1949 Geneva Conventions] … is guilty of an indictable offence.” 
Canada, Geneva Conventions Act, 1985, as amended in 2007, Section 3(1).

Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act (2000) provides that the war crimes defined in Article 8(2) of the 1998 ICC Statute are “crimes according to customary international law” and, as such, indictable offences under the Act. 
Canada, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, 2000, Section 4(1) and (4).

China
China’s Law Governing the Trial of War Criminals (1946) provides that the “killing of hostages” constitutes a war crime. 
China, Law Governing the Trial of War Criminals, 1946, Article 3, § 2.

Colombia
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) imposes a criminal sanction on anyone who, during an armed conflict, orders or carries out the taking of hostages. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 148.

Congo
The Congo’s Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act (1998) defines war crimes with reference to the categories of crimes defined in Article 8 of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
Congo, Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity Act, 1998, Article 4.

Cook Islands
The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols Act (2002) of the Cook Islands punishes “any person who in the Cook Islands or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Cook Islands, Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols Act, 2002, Section 5(1).

Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Penal Code (1981), as amended in 1995, provides that in time of war or occupation, the organizing, ordering or carrying out of hostage-taking constitutes a “crime against the civilian population”. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Penal Code, 1981, as amended in 1995, Article 138(5).

Croatia
Croatia’s Criminal Code (1997) provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Croatia, Criminal Code, 1997, Articles 158 and 171.

Cyprus
Cyprus’s Geneva Conventions Act (1966) punishes “any person who, whatever his nationality, commits in the Republic or outside the Republic, any grave breach or takes part, or assists or incites another person in the commission of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions”. 
Cyprus, Geneva Conventions Act, 1966, Section 4(1).

Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Military Penal Code (2002) provides:
Article 165
Crimes against humanity are grave violations of international humanitarian law committed against any civilian population before or during war.
Crimes against humanity are not necessarily linked to the state of war and can be committed not only between persons of different nationality, but even between subjects of the same State.
Article 166
The grave breaches listed hereafter, affecting, by action or omission, the persons and objects protected by the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977, constitute crimes against humanity, repressed according to the provisions of the present Code, without prejudice to more severe penal provisions provided by the ordinary Penal Code:

6. Taking of hostages;

Article 167
The offences contained in the preceding article are punished with penal servitude for life.
If those contained in points 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 to 14 of the same article lead to the death or cause grave injury to the physical integrity or health of one or several persons, the perpetrators are liable to the death penalty. 
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Military Penal Code, 2002, Articles 165–167.

Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).

Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).

El Salvador
Under El Salvador’s Penal Code (1997), “the killing of hostages” during an international or a civil war is a crime. 
El Salvador, Penal Code, 1997, Article 362.

El Salvador’s Penal Code (1997), as amended in 2008, states:
Art. 149.- Anyone who deprives a person of his or her individual freedom in order to obtain their rescue, the accomplishment of a specific condition, or so that the public authority carries out or refrains from carrying out a specific act, will be punished with thirty to forty years in prison. … [I]n no case can conditional release or early conditional release be granted.
Art. 149-A.- Soliciting the commission of, and conspiring to commit, any of the acts described in the previous two articles [Art. 148 Deprivation of Liberty and Art. 149 Kidnapping] will be in the latter case sanctioned with one to three years of prison, and in the former with ten to twenty years of prison.
Aggravated Interference with Individual Freedom
Art. 150.- The corresponding sentence for the offences described in the previous articles will increase by a third of the maximum [amount] in the following cases:

7) If [the offence] is carried out [against] a person that is owed special protection by El Salvador according to the rules of international law. 
El Salvador, Penal Code, 1997, as amended in 2008, Articles 149–150.

Estonia
Estonia’s Penal Code (2001) provides that hostage-taking of civilians is a war crime. 
Estonia, Penal Code, 2001, § 97.

Ethiopia
Under Ethiopia’s Penal Code (1957), in time of war, armed conflict or occupation, the organizing, ordering or carrying out of hostage-taking of civilians constitutes a war crime. 
Ethiopia, Penal Code, 1957, Article 282(g).

Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Article 270.- War Crimes against the Civilian Population.
Whoever, in time of war, armed conflict or occupation organizes, orders or engages in, against the civilian population and in violation of the rules of public international law and of international humanitarian conventions:

(g) … the taking of hostages…

is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to twenty-five years, or, in more serious cases, with life imprisonment or death. 
Ethiopia, Criminal Code, 2004, Article 270.

The Criminal Code of 2004 repealed Ethiopia’s Penal Code of 1957.
Finland
Finland’s Criminal Code (1889), as amended in 2008, provides that any person who “takes persons as hostages … or uses other means of warfare prohibited in international law” shall be “sentenced for a war crime to imprisonment for at least one year or for life”. 
Finland, Criminal Code, 1889, as amended in 2008, Chapter 11, Section 5(1)(13).
(emphasis in original)
Georgia
Under Georgia’s Criminal Code (1999), hostage-taking is a crime in international and internal armed conflicts. 
Georgia, Criminal Code, 1999, Article 411(2)(g).

Germany
Germany’s Law Introducing the International Crimes Code (2002) provides for the punishment of anyone who, in connection with an international or non-international armed conflict, “takes hostage a person who is to be protected under international humanitarian law”. 
Germany, Law Introducing the International Crimes Code, 2002, Article 1, § 8(1)(2).

India
India’s Geneva Conventions Act (1960) provides: “If any person within or without India commits or attempts to commit, or abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions he shall be punished.” 
India, Geneva Conventions Act, 1960, Section 3(1).

Iraq
Under Iraq’s Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (2005), the “[t]aking of hostages” constitutes a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Iraq, Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, 2005, Article 13(1)(I).

The Law identifies the “taking of hostages” as a war crime in any armed conflict when “committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, injury, detention or any other cause”.  
Iraq, Law of the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, 2005, Article 13(3)(C).

Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 3(1).

In addition, any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of common Article 3 and Article 34 of the Geneva Convention IV, and of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, including violations of Article 75(2)(c), as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 4(2)(c), are also punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).

Israel
Israel’s Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law (1950) includes “killing of hostages” in its definition of war crimes. 
Israel, Nazis and Nazi Collaborators (Punishment) Law, 1950, Section 1(b).

Italy
Italy’s Wartime Military Penal Code (1941), as amended in 2002, states:
Any military person who violates the prohibition of hostage taking established by the rules on international armed conflicts is to be punished with two to ten years military imprisonment. 
Italy, Wartime Military Penal Code, 1941, as amended on 31 January 2002, Article 184-bis.

Jordan
Jordan’s Military Penal Code (2002) states that the “taking of hostages” shall be deemed a war crime when committed in the event of armed conflict. 
Jordan, Military Penal Code, 2002, Article 41(a)(6).

Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s Penal Code (1997) provides that hostage-taking is a crime. 
Kazakhstan, Penal Code, 1997, Article 229.

Kenya
Kenya’s Geneva Conventions Act (1968) punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether within or outside Kenya commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of any grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Kenya, Geneva Conventions Act, 1968, Section 3(1).

Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan’s Criminal Code (1997) provides that hostage-taking is a punishable offence. 
Kyrgyzstan, Criminal Code, 1997, Article 224.

Lithuania
Under Lithuania’s Criminal Code (1961), as amended in 1998, hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Lithuania, Criminal Code, 1961, as amended in 1998, Article 336.

Luxembourg
Luxembourg’s Law on the Punishment of Grave Breaches (1985) provides that hostage-taking is a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Luxembourg, Law on the Punishment of Grave Breaches, 1985, Article 1(8).

Malawi
Malawi’s Geneva Conventions Act (1967) punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether within or without Malawi commits or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of any such grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Malawi, Geneva Conventions Act, 1967, Section 4(1).

Malaysia
Malaysia’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962) punishes “any person, whatever his citizenship or nationality, who, whether in or outside the Federation, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of any such grave breach of any of the … [1949 Geneva] conventions”. 
Malaysia, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, Section 3(1).

Mali
Under Mali’s Penal Code (2001), hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Mali, Penal Code, 2001, Article 31(h).

Mauritius
The Geneva Conventions Act (1970) of Mauritius punishes “any person who in Mauritius or elsewhere commits, or is an accomplice in the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Mauritius, Geneva Conventions Act, 1970, Section 3(1).

Mexico
Mexico’s Code of Military Justice (1933), as amended in 1996, criminalizes the taking of hostages. 
Mexico, Code of Military Justice, 1933, as amended in 1996, Article 215.

Netherlands
Under the International Crimes Act (2003) of the Netherlands, “the taking of hostages” is a crime, whether committed in an international armed conflict (as a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions) or in a non-international armed conflict (as a violation of Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions). 
Netherlands, International Crimes Act, 2003, Articles 5(1)(h) and 6(1)(b).

New Zealand
New Zealand’s Geneva Conventions Act (1958), as amended in 1987, provides that “any person who in New Zealand or elsewhere commits, or aids or abets or procures the commission by another person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions … is guilty of an indictable offence”. 
New Zealand, Geneva Conventions Act, 1958, as amended in 1987, Section 3(1).

Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
New Zealand, International Crimes and ICC Act, 2000, Section 11(2).

Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s Military Penal Code (1996) provides that hostage-taking is an offence against the laws and customs of war, in both international and non-international conflicts. 
Nicaragua, Military Penal Code, 1996, Articles 48 and 49; see also Article 58.

Niger
According to Niger’s Penal Code (1961), as amended in 2003, hostage-taking of persons protected under the 1949 Geneva Conventions or their Additional Protocols of 1977 is a war crime. 
Niger, Penal Code, 1961, as amended in 2003, Article 208.3(7).

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Geneva Conventions Act (1960) punishes any person who “whether in or outside the Federation, … whatever his nationality, commits, or aids, abets or procures any other person to commit any such grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Nigeria, Geneva Conventions Act, 1960, Section 3(1).

Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.

Norway’s Penal Code (1902), as amended in 2008, states: “Any person is liable to punishment for a war crime who in connection with an armed conflict … takes a protected person hostage.” 
Norway, Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 2008, § 103(e).

The Penal Code further states: “A protected person is a person who does not take, or who no longer takes, active part in hostilities, or who is otherwise protected under international law.” 
Norway, Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 2008, § 103.

Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s Geneva Conventions Act (1976) punishes any “person who, in Papua New Guinea or elsewhere, commits a grave breach of any of the Geneva Conventions”. 
Papua New Guinea, Geneva Conventions Act, 1976, Section 7(2).

Peru
Peru’s Regulations to the Law on Internal Displacement (2005) states: “Internally displaced persons shall not be taken hostage during armed conflicts or situations derived from them.” 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on Internal Displacement, 2005, Article 6(j).

Peru’s Code of Military and Police Justice (2006) states:
Any member of the military or police who in the context of an international or non-international armed conflict:

2. Takes hostage a person protected by international humanitarian law shall be imprisoned for a period of no less than ten and no more than 20 years. 
Peru, Code of Military and Police Justice, 2006, Article 90(2).

This article is no longer in force. Along with certain other articles in this legislation, it was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court (en banc decision for case file No. 0012-2006-PI-TC, 8 January 2007) because it does not stipulate a crime committed in the line of duty that would fall under the jurisdiction of a military court pursuant to Article 173 of Peru’s Constitution.
Peru’s Military and Police Criminal Code (2010) states:
A member of the military or the police shall be punished with deprivation of liberty of not less than three and not more than five years if, in a state of emergency and when the Armed Forces assume control of the internal order, … he or she uses a person protected by International Humanitarian Law as hostage. 
Peru, Military and Police Criminal Code, 2010, Article 88.

The Code defines persons protected by international humanitarian law as follows:
The following are persons protected by International Humanitarian Law:
1. In an international armed conflict, the persons protected by the Geneva Conventions I, II, III and IV of 12 August 1949 [and] Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 8 June 1977.
2. In a non-international armed conflict, the persons who benefit from protection under Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and, where relevant, the Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 8 June 1977.
3. In international and non-international armed conflicts, members of the armed forces and persons who directly participate in hostilities who have laid down their arms or for any other reason find themselves defenceless. 
Peru, Military and Police Criminal Code, 2010, Article 75.

Poland
Poland’s Penal Code (1997) provides for the punishment of any person who, in violation of international law, takes hostage persons hors de combat, protected persons and persons enjoying international protection. 
Poland, Penal Code, 1997, Article 123(2).

Portugal
Portugal’s Penal Code (1996) provides for the punishment of anyone who, in violation of international law, in times of war, armed conflict or occupation, takes hostage the civilian population, the wounded and sick, or prisoners of war. 
Portugal, Penal Code, 1996, Article 241(1)(d).

Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea’s ICC Act (2007) provides for the punishment of anyone who commits the war crime of “[t]aking hostage a person who is to be protected under international humanitarian law” in both international and non-international armed conflicts. 
Republic of Korea, ICC Act, 2007, Article 10(2)(1).

Republic of Moldova
The Republic of Moldova’s Penal Code (2002) punishes the hostage-taking of protected persons. 
Republic of Moldova, Penal Code, 2002, Article 137(2)(b).

Romania
Romania’s Penal Code (1968) punishes the hostage-taking of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, members of civil medical services, the Red Cross or similar organizations, prisoners of war, or of all persons in the hands of the adverse party. 
Romania, Penal Code, 1968, Article 358(b).

Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Criminal Code (1996) punishes “the capture or detention of a person as a hostage committed with a view to compel a State, an organization or a person to accomplish or to abstain from a certain action as a condition for release of the hostage”. 
Russian Federation, Criminal Code, 1996, Article 206.

Rwanda
Rwanda’s Law Repressing the Crime of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes (2003) provides:
Article: 8
A war crime is one of the following acts, committed during armed conflicts against persons or property protected under the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and its Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977:

8° taking of hostages and their subjection to acts of terrorism;

Article: 9
Shall be punished by one of the following penalties any person having committed one of the war crimes provided for in Article 8 of this law:

2° imprisonment for ten (10) to twenty (20) years where he has committed a crime provided for in point 6°, 7°, 8°, 10° or 12° of Article 8 of this law. 
Rwanda, Law Repressing the Crime of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, 2003, Articles 8–9.

Senegal
Senegal’s Penal Code (1965), as amended in 2007, states:
[a)] Any of the following acts constitutes a war crime if it concerns members of the armed forces, the wounded, sick or shipwrecked, prisoners of war or civilians or objects protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949:

7. taking of hostages;

c) in case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no direct part in hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms and persons placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause [also constitute war crimes]:

3. taking of hostages. 
Senegal, Penal Code, 1965, as amended in 2007, Article 431-3(a)(7) and (c)(3).

Serbia
Serbia’s Criminal Code (2005) states that, in time of war, armed conflict or occupation, ordering or committing the “taking of hostages” from among the civilian population, in violation of international law, constitutes a war crime. 
Serbia, Criminal Code, 2005, Article 372(1).

Seychelles
The Geneva Conventions Act (1985) of the Seychelles punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who whether in or outside Seychelles, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, any such grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Seychelles, Geneva Conventions Act, 1985, Section 3(1).

Singapore
Singapore’s Geneva Conventions Act (1973) punishes “any person, whatever his citizenship or nationality, who, whether in or outside Singapore, commits, aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of any such grave breach of any [1949 Geneva] Convention”. 
Singapore, Geneva Conventions Act, 1973, Section 3(1).

Slovenia
Slovenia’s Penal Code (1994) provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Slovenia, Penal Code, 1994, Article 374(1).

South Africa
South Africa’s ICC Act (2002) reproduces the war crimes listed in the 1998 ICC Statute, including “taking hostages” when committed against persons protected under the 1949 Geneva Conventions in international armed conflicts or against persons “taking no active part in the hostilities” in non-international armed conflicts. 
South Africa, ICC Act, 2002, Schedule 1, Part 3, §§ (a)(viii) and (c)(iii).

Spain
Under Spain’s Military Criminal Code (1985), hostage-taking of nationals of the State with which Spain is at war is an offence against the laws and customs of war. 
Spain, Military Criminal Code, 1985, Article 77(6).

Spain’s Penal Code (1995) punishes anyone who, in time of armed conflict, takes any protected person hostage. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, Article 611(4).

Spain’s Penal Code (1995), as amended in 2003, states:
Any person who [commits any of the following acts] during armed conflict is punished with 10 to 15 years’ imprisonment, without prejudice to a penalty for the results of such acts:

4. … [T]aking a protected person hostage. 
Spain, Penal Code, 1995, as amended on 25 November 2003, Article 611(4).

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s Geneva Conventions Act (2006) includes the “taking of hostages”, a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, as an indictable offence. 
Sri Lanka, Geneva Conventions Act, 2006, Schedule IV: Article 147.

Tajikistan
Tajikistan’s Criminal Code (1998) provides for the punishment of hostage-taking in international or non-international armed conflicts. 
Tajikistan, Criminal Code, 1998, Article 403(2)(g).

Thailand
Thailand’s Prisoners of War Act (1955) provides a punishment for “whoever takes a hostage” in a non-international armed conflict. 
Thailand, Prisoners of War Act, 1955, Section 19.

Uganda
Uganda’s Geneva Conventions Act (1964) punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether within or without Uganda commits or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of any grave breach of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Uganda, Geneva Conventions Act, 1964, Section 1(1).

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 1995, punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] conventions”. 
United Kingdom, Geneva Conventions Act, 1957, as amended in 1995, Section 1(1).

Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(a)(viii) and (c)(iii) of the 1998 ICC Statute. 
United Kingdom, ICC Act, 2001, Sections 50(1) and 51(1) (England and Wales) and Section 58(1) (Northern Ireland).

United States of America
Under the US War Crimes Act (1996), violations of common Article 3 and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions are war crimes. 
United States, War Crimes Act, 1996, Section 2441(c).

The US War Crimes Act (1996), as amended by the US Military Commissions Act (2006), includes in its definition of war crimes any conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions:
§ 2441. War crimes

(c) Definition.—As used in this section the term “war crime” means any conduct—

(3) which constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 (as defined in subsection (d)) when committed in the context of and in association with an armed conflict not of an international character; or

(d) Common Article 3 Violations.—
(1) Prohibited conduct.—In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:

(I) Taking hostages.—The act of a person who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons.

(4) Inapplicability of taking hostages to prisoner exchange.—Paragraph (1)(I) does not apply to an offense under subsection (a) by reason of subsection (c)(3) in the case of a prisoner exchange during wartime.
(5) Definition of grave breaches.—The definitions in this subsection are intended only to define the grave breaches of common Article 3 and not the full scope of United States obligations under that Article. 
United States, War Crimes Act, 1996, 18 United States Code Sec. 2441, as amended by Military Commissions Act, 2006, 17 October 2006, § 2441 (c)(3) and (d).

In July 2006, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum to senior military and civilian personnel in the Department of Defense (DoD) on the subject of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its application to the treatment of detainees:
The Supreme Court [Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 US 557, 29 June 2006] has determined that Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 applies as a matter of law to the conflict with Al Qaeda. The Court found that the military commissions as constituted by the Department of Defense are not consistent with Common Article 3.
It is my understanding that, aside from the military commission procedures, existing DoD orders, policies, directives, execute orders, and doctrine comply with the standards of Common Article 3 … In addition, you will recall the President’s prior directive [President George W. Bush, Memorandum, Humane Treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees, 7 February 2002] that “the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely,” humane treatment being the overarching requirement of Common Article 3.
You will ensure that all DoD personnel adhere to these standards. In this regard, I request that you promptly review all relevant directives, regulations, policies, practices and procedures under your purview to ensure that they comply with the standards of Common Article 3. 
United States, Department of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England, Memorandum, Application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to the Treatment of Detainees in the Department of Defense, 7 July 2006.

The US Military Commissions Act (2006), passed by Congress following the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006, amends Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
§ 950v. Crimes triable by military commissions

(b) OFFENSES.—The following offenses shall be triable by military commission under this chapter at any time without limitation:

(7) TAKING HOSTAGES.—Any person subject to this chapter who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commission under this chapter may direct. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2006, Public Law 109-366, Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code, 17 October 2006, p. 120 Stat. 2626, § 950v (b) (7).

The Military Commissions Act also states:
Sec. 6. Implementation of Treaty Obligations

(b) REVISION TO WAR CRIMES OFFENSE UNDER FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 2441 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
(d) COMMON ARTICLE 3 VIOLATIONS.—
(1) PROHIBITED CONDUCT.—In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:

(I) TAKING HOSTAGES.—The act of a person who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2006, Public Law 109-366, Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code, 17 October 2006, p. 120 Stat. 2634, Sec. 6(b) (1) (B) (d) (1) (I).

In July 2007, and in accordance with section 6(a)(3) of the Military Commissions Act (2006), the US President issued an Executive Order which stated that a “Program of Detention and Interrogation Operated by the Central Intelligence Agency” complied with US obligations under common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Executive Order stated in part:
Sec. 3. Compliance of a Central Intelligence Agency Detention and Interrogation Program with Common Article 3.
(a) Pursuant to the authority of the President under the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including the Military Commissions Act of 2006, this order interprets the meaning and application of the text of Common Article 3 with respect to certain detentions and interrogations, and shall be treated as authoritative for all purposes as a matter of United States law, including satisfaction of the international obligations of the United States. I hereby determine that Common Article 3 shall apply to a program of detention and interrogation operated by the Central Intelligence Agency as set forth in this section. The requirements set forth in this section shall be applied with respect to detainees in such program without adverse distinction as to their race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth, or wealth.
(b) I hereby determine that a program of detention and interrogation approved by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency fully complies with the obligations of the United States under Common Article 3, provided that:
(i) the conditions of confinement and interrogation practices of the program do not include:

(B) any of the acts prohibited by section 2441(d) of title 18, United States Code, including murder, torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, rape, sexual assault or abuse, taking of hostages, or performing of biological experiments. 
United States, Executive Order 13440, Interpretation of the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 as Applied to a Program of Detention and Interrogation Operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, 20 July 2007.

The US Military Commissions Act (2009) amends Chapter 47A of Title 10 of the United States Code as follows:
§ 950t. Crimes triable by military commission
The following offenses shall be triable by military commission under this chapter at any time without limitation:

(7) TAKING HOSTAGES.—Any person subject to this chapter who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons, shall be punished, if death results to one or more of the victims, by death or such other punishment as a military commission under this chapter may direct, and, if death does not result to any of the victims, by such punishment, other than death, as a military commission under this chapter may direct. 
United States, Military Commissions Act, 2009, § 950t(7).

Uruguay
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
26.2. Persons and objects affected by the war crimes set out in the present provision are persons and objects which international law protects in international or internal armed conflict.
26.3. The following are war crimes:

8. Taking of hostages. 
Uruguay, Law on Cooperation with the ICC, 2006, Article 26.2 and 26.3.8.

Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s Geneva Conventions Act (1982) provides:
Any grave breach of the Geneva Conventions that would, if committed in Vanuatu, be an offence under any provision of the Penal Code Act Cap. 135 or any other law shall be an offence under such provision of the Penal Code or any other law if committed outside Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu, Geneva Conventions Act, 1982, Section 4(1).

Yemen
Under Yemen’s Military Criminal Code (1998), hostage-taking of civilians is a war crime. 
Yemen, Military Criminal Code, 1998, Article 21(4).

Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Penal Code (1976), as amended in 2001, provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Penal Code, 1976, as amended in 2001, Article 142(1).

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s Geneva Conventions Act (1981), as amended in 1996, punishes “any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside Zimbabwe, commits any such grave breach of [any of the 1949 Geneva] Conventions”. 
Zimbabwe, Geneva Conventions Act, 1981, as amended in 1996, Section 3(1).

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Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2006, in the Maktouf case, the Appellate Panel of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in sentencing the accused for a war crime against civilians in violation of common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, defined a hostage as:
… any person seized or detained and threatened to be killed, to be injured or continually detained by another person in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maktouf case, Judgment, 4 April 2006, p. 10.

Canada
In the Fuentes case in 2003, the Federal Court of Canada recognized that “the international community through its Convention against the taking of hostages has proscribed hostage taking and characterized it in the circumstances set out in that Convention as an act of terrorism”. 
Canada, Federal Court Trial Division, Fuentes case, Judgment, 31 March 2003, § 96.

In the Ribic case in 2005, Canada’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice stated:
[H]ostage-taking is a very serious offence under any circumstances. That Parliament has made it punishable by up to life imprisonment underscores this. The fact that Parliament has asserted worldwide jurisdiction over hostage-taking committed by a Canadian or perpetrated against a Canadian signifies, as well, how seriously our country regards this offence. Even in war between nations that is recognized as war and as governed by international standards of war, the taking of hostages and threatening the lives of combatants or of civilians is not sanctioned and is a crime. There is absolutely no basis on which to countenance the taking of anyone hostage, let alone doing that to unarmed personnel of other nations participating in the work of the United Nations and trying to bring about and maintain a peace in a vicious civil war in which innocent civilians are being subjected to atrocities on widespread basis. 
Canada, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ribic case, Reasons for Sentence and Sentence, 15 September 2005, p. 11.

Colombia
The Report on the Practice of Colombia refers to a decision by the Council of State in which the Council notes that the category of direct attacks on civilians also includes hostage-taking and that “this is especially true when the military operations are disorderly and improvised and an unwillingness to protect the hostages is combined with a total disregard for human rights and the basic principles of the law of nations”. 
Colombia, Council of State, Constitutional Case No. 9276, Judgment, 19 August 1994.

In 1995, Colombia’s Constitutional Court held that the prohibitions contained in Article 4(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II were consistent with the Constitution and practically reproduced specific constitutional provisions. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-225/95, Judgment, 18 May 1995.

In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
As members of the civilian population affected by internal armed conflicts, children and adolescents have the right to respect for the fundamental guarantees granted to all persons not actively participating in hostilities, as established by Article 3 common to the [1949] Geneva Conventions … In accordance with this article, in cases of non-international armed conflicts in the territory of one of the Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply certain minimum guarantees without affecting their legal status as parties to the conflict, including: (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities shall be treated humanely in all circumstances without adverse distinction based on discriminatory criteria; (2) To this end, the following acts are prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons (including children): … (b) Taking of hostages. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-203/05, Judgment of 8 March 2005, § 5.4.2.2.

In 2007, in the Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Taking into account … the development of customary international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflicts, the Constitutional Court notes that the fundamental guarantees stemming from the principle of humanity, some of which have attained ius cogens status, … [include] the prohibition of taking hostages. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 112; see also p. 114.
[footnote in original omitted]
The Court also held:
[T]he prohibition against the taking of hostages has been classified as an imperative norm of international law or ius cogens. In this sense, it must be taken into account that the prohibition against taking hostages under international humanitarian law in practice amounts to a number of non-derogable guarantees provided by international human rights law, including the right to life, liberty and security of person, the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as the protection against arbitrary detention. All this … is a clear indication of its imperative, peremptory nature, or ius cogens status. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 115.

The Court further stated:
There is a customary definition of the elements constituting the war crime [of taking hostages] that also form part of the Colombian constitutional framework. The taking of hostages as a war crime, in the context of non-international armed conflicts, is considered to include the following elements: (a) the detention or retention of one or more persons (the hostages), (b) a threat involving the murder, bodily harm or prolonged detention of the hostage, (c) with the intention to force a third party – which can be the State, an international organization, a natural or legal person or group of persons – to undertake or to abstain from undertaking certain acts, (d) as an explicit or implicit condition to free the hostage or to secure the hostage’s safety. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-291/07, Judgment of 25 April 2007, p. 119.

Germany
In 2010, in the Chechen Refugee case, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court was called upon to decide whether a Russian refugee claimant from Chechnya had to be excluded from refugee protection because there were serious reasons for considering that he had committed a war crime in Chechnya in 2002 by killing two Russian soldiers and taking a Russian officer hostage. The court considered who can be a victim of the war crime of taking hostages. The court held:
[Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions] inter alia criminalizes … the taking of hostages who are not directly participating in hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their weapons and persons who have been placed hors de combat by illness, injury, capture or any other reason. This provision thus also considers acts as war crimes which are directed against soldiers. 
Germany, Federal Administrative Court, Chechen Refugee case, Judgment, 16 February 2010, § 27.

The court also held:
[T]he assumption that the abduction of the Russian officer constituted the war crime of hostage taking under Art. 8 para. 2 sub-para. c no. III of the [1998] ICC Statute is difficult to sustain. … [T]aking civilians as hostages and taking members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms or who are hors de combat as hostages can constitute a war crime. … [In the present case,] the victim [a Russian officer] was not taken hostage … at a point in time when the victim had surrendered or laid down his weapons. Rather, the attack against the victim with the purpose of taking him hostage was carried out at a moment when the victim was still carrying a weapon and when the Russian soldiers accompanying the victim responded to the attack by firing their weapons. 
Germany, Federal Administrative Court, Chechen Refugee case, Judgment, 16 February 2010, § 35.

Norway
In its judgement in the Repak case in 2008, concerning crimes committed against civilian non-combatant Serbs in an internment camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, resulting from which the defendant was convicted on 11 counts of the war crime of unlawfully confining a protected person, the District Court of Oslo held:
82. … Article 3 [common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions] prohibits the taking of hostages. Depriving civilian Orthodox Serbs of their liberty, when an important purpose of this deprivation of freedom was to intern them to use them for exchanges with Croats and Bosniaks that had been interned by the Serbs, would be contrary to Article 3, both because of the ethnic selection and because there was a hostage situation in that the detainees were intended used for exerting pressure and/or for exchanges during the conflict. The defendant was aware of the unlawful purpose.

246. AA was a civilian non-combatant and was held in Dretelj [internment camp] with a view to exchange. The defendant was aware that this was unlawful. …

261. As far as the defendant Repak is concerned, the Court considers it an aggravating element that the defendant had middle leader tasks that included, inter alia, finding civilian Serbs and taking the most important of them to Dretelj primarily with the purpose of subsequent detainee exchanges. 
Norway, District Court of Oslo, Repak case, Judgment, 2 December 2008, §§ 82, 246 and 261.

Peru
In 2006, in the Lucanmarca case, the Second Provisional Criminal Chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court of Justice stated:
International human rights law, international humanitarian law and Peru’s Political Constitution recognise the right to … personal liberty and security.

In international humanitarian law, Article 3 common to the [1949] Geneva Conventions prohibits in non-international armed conflicts attempts on the life and physical integrity of civilians, in particular … hostage taking. 
Peru, Supreme Court of Justice, Second Provisional Criminal Chamber, Lucanmarca case, Case No. 560-03, Judgment of 13 October 2006, p. 209.

United States of America
In its judgement in the List case (The Hostages Trial) in 1948, the US Military Tribunal at Nuremberg considered the right to take hostages from the innocent civilian population of an occupied territory and stated:
Certain rules of customary law … lay down the rules applicable to the subject of hostages.

The term “hostages” will be considered as those persons of the civilian population who are taken into custody for the purpose of guaranteeing with their lives the future good conduct of the population of the community from which they were taken.
The Tribunal further stated:
The occupant may properly insist upon compliance with regulations necessary to the security of the occupying forces and for the maintenance of law and order. In the accomplishment of this objective, the occupant may, only as a last resort, take and execute hostages … The occupant is required to use every available method to secure order and tranquility before … taking and execution of hostages.

If attacks upon troops and military installations [continue to] occur … hostages may be taken from the population to deter similar acts in the future provided it can be shown that the population generally is a party to the offence, either actively or passively.

It is essential to a lawful taking of hostages under customary law that proclamation be made, giving the names and addresses of hostages taken, notifying the population that upon the recurrence of stated acts of war treason that the hostages will be shot … Unless the foregoing requirements are met, the shooting of hostages is … a war crime in itself. 
United States, Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, List case (The Hostages Trial), Judgment, 19 February 1948.

Venezuela
In 2001, in the Ballestas case, the Colombian government requested the preventive detention and extradition of a Colombian citizen belonging to the armed group known as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army) for the crimes of rebellion, kidnapping, wrongful death, seizure and diversion of aircraft. The Chamber of Criminal Appeals of Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice stated:
In case of national armed conflict, Article 3 [common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions] establishes as a minimum the obligation to treat non-combatants “humanely”, thus prohibiting … in particular … hostage-taking … The standards of Article 3 are considered to be a part of customary law and constitute the minimum – in terms of obligations – that belligerents must always respect.  
Venezuela, Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Ballestas case, Judgment, 10 December 2001, p. 8.

The tribunal held:
It is a firm and incontrovertible fact that political armed struggle must be governed by the laws of war. As a result, attacks against innocent [people] … are absolutely unjustified, even where a political motive is claimed.
Thus: if such an attack against innocent [persons] … is carried out with such a violence and malicious intent that it causes unnecessary suffering, havoc and terror, it would [constitute the offence of] indiscriminate terrorism, namely [those acts] that are not selective when choosing their targets and expressly target the innocent.
Terrorism, and particularly indiscriminate terrorism, ignores the requirements of Humanitarian … law; it endangers innocent human lives and many times destroys them …
Terrorism takes many forms, as it can be committed through several means. … Another is the kidnapping of persons, which is also one of the acts of which … [the accused] is criminally accused (“extortive kidnapping”) in Colombia. 
Venezuela, Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Ballestas case, Judgment, 10 December 2001, p. 9.
[emphasis in original]
In concluding whether extradition could be granted, the tribunal held:
[T]his Supreme Tribunal of Justice considers it pertinent to grant the extradition of … [the accused], requested by the Government of Colombia … for … extortive kidnapping … [which] is not [considered political] … nor connected [with a political offence] …

Similarly, Article 271 of the Constitution provides:
Article 271.- In no case can the extradition of foreigners be denied [when they are] responsible for committing the offences of … international organized crimes, acts against the public heritage of other States and against human rights.
The Chamber, in compliance with the abovementioned constitutional provision, … grants the extradition of … [the accused] for the alleged commission of the ordinary offence of extortive kidnapping, which … also constitutes, in general, [the offence of] international organized crimes, and of terrorism in particular. 
Venezuela, Supreme Tribunal of Justice, Ballestas case, Judgment, 10 December 2001, pp. 12–13.
[emphasis in original]
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Botswana
On the basis of an interview with a retired army general, the Report on the Practice of Botswana considers that should an internal conflict arise, Article 4 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II would be applied by military personnel. 
Report on the Practice of Botswana, 1998, Interview with a retired army general, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.4.

Denmark
In 2006, in a report on the detention and transfer of persons in Afghanistan in 2002, Denmark’s Ministry of Defence stated:
International humanitarian law contains in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions a series of basic fundamental guarantees which apply to any person in a conflicting party’s custody. The persons to whom it applies, for example people who do not have the status of prisoners of war, must always be treated humanly and guaranteed right to personal integrity, honour, belief and religion. The following acts, which involve violence against persons’ life, health or physical or mental well being, are without exception prohibited, this is regardless of whether they relate to civilian or military officials:

- The taking of hostages. 
Denmark, Report on Factual and Legal Matters Relating to Danish Forces’ Detention and Transfer of Persons in Afghanistan in the First Half of 2002, Ministry of Defence, 13 December 2006, p. 4.

France
According to the Report on the Practice of France, hostage-taking is inadmissible. This entails refusing any distinction as to its object, to forbid such behaviour and to refuse any condition to obtain the liberation of hostages. According to the report, diplomatic, UN and NGO personnel are particularly concerned. 
Report on the Practice of France, 1999, Chapter 5.3.

In 2009, the President of the French Republic stated:
In Sri Lanka … France has endeavoured to ensure that the civilian population is no longer being held hostage.
… No country has the right to take its people hostage. 
France, Address by the President of the French Republic on the 90th Anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 4 May 2009, pp. 2 and 5.

Germany
In 1995, in the context of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, all political parties in the German parliament requested the release of hostages. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Proposal by the CDU/CSU, SPD, the Greens and FDP, Initiative zum Karabach-Konflikt, BT-Drucksache13/1029, 30 March 1995, p. 1.

Israel
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “Civilians shall not be held [as] hostages”. 
Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Operation in Gaza 27 December 2008–18 January 2009: Factual and Legal Aspects, 29 July 2009, § 226.

Italy
In 1976, during a debate in the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, Italy stated that the odious practice of taking hostages was clearly condemned under the modern rules of war. It further stated:
Each time a hostage had been taken, those responsible have been disowned by the organisations for which they had claimed to act, showing that the practice was condemned in respect of both international and non-international armed conflict … The need was therefore not to protect any particular category of persons but simply to devise an effective ban on the practice of taking hostages as such, in view of its inhuman nature, which was an affront to the bases of the social conscience. 
Italy, Statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.6/31/SR.55, 26 November 1976, § 13.

Italy also recalled UN General Assembly Resolution 2645 (XXV) of 1970, Article 34 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and declared that the proposed convention on the taking of hostages was entirely in keeping with the evolution of IHL. 
Italy, Statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN; Doc. A/C.6/31/SR.55, 26 November 1976, §§ 14 and 15.

In 1979, during a debate in the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, Italy commented on the outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Drafting of a Convention against the Taking of Hostages and stated that the taking of hostages was one of the greatest evils of modern times and an act which, even in wartime, was considered an international crime. 
Italy, Statement before the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.6/34/SR.11, 5 October 1979, § 13.

Jordan
The Report on the Practice of Jordan states that Article 75 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I embodies customary law. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Chapter 5.

The report refers to a booklet prepared by the ICRC and notes that the Jordanian armed forces are instructed not to take civilian hostages. 
Report on the Practice of Jordan, 1997, Answers to additional questions on Chapter 1.1.

Pakistan
In 1995, the Pakistani government condemned the kidnapping of British and American nationals in the context of the conflict in Kashmir, emphasizing that it was the responsibility of the Indian government to ensure the safety of visitors to the region. 
Pakistan, Foreign Office Briefings, Transcript of the press briefing by the Foreign Office spokesman, 13 July 1995, pp. 73–80.

Sri Lanka
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated: “Recently arrests of two gangs involved in abduction for ransom in the Eastern Province contributed to a cessation of such incidents, though the need for constant vigilance continues in the context of terrorism and its aftermath.” 
Sri Lanka, Combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, 23 September 2010, UN Doc. CAT/C/LKA/3-4, submitted 17 August 2009, § 56.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “IHL requires parties to a conflict to respect and protect civilians. … [C]ivilians must not be … subjected to acts of violence such as … hostage taking.” 
United Kingdom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, March 2010, p. 4.

In 2010, in its closing submissions to the public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Baha Mousa and the treatment of those detained with him by UK armed forces in Iraq in 2003, the UK Ministry of Defence stated regarding common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions: “On its face this protection is restricted to armed conflicts not of an international character. However, it is understood to apply in all forms of armed conflict as part of customary international law to set out the irreducible minimum standard.” 
United Kingdom, Ministry of Defence, Closing Submissions to the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry on Modules 1–3, 25 June 2010, § 10.2, p. 10.

United States of America
In 1987, the Deputy Legal Adviser of the US Department of State affirmed: “We support the principle that [all persons who are in the power of a party to a conflict and who do not benefit from more favorable treatment under the Conventions] not be subjected to … the taking of hostages”. He added that “the basic core of [the 1977 Additional Protocol II] is, of course, reflected in common Article 3 of the 1949 [Geneva] Conventions and therefore is, and should be, a part of generally accepted customary law. This specifically includes its prohibitions on … hostagetaking.” 
United States, Remarks of Michael J. Matheson, Deputy Legal Adviser, US Department of State, The Sixth Annual American Red Cross-Washington College of Law Conference on International Humanitarian Law: A Workshop on Customary International Law and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, American Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 2, 1987, pp. 427 and 430–431.

In 1991, in a letter to the President of the UN Security Council, the United States protested against “the announcement of the intention of the Government of Iraq to hold prisoners of war as hostages … in flagrant violation of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949”. 
United States, Letter dated 21 January 1991 to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/22122, 21 January 1991.

In 1992, in its final report to Congress on the conduct of the Gulf War, the US Department of Defense stated:
Whatever the purpose, whether for intimidation, concessions, reprisal, or to render areas or legitimate military objects immune from military operations, the taking of hostages is unequivocally and expressly prohibited by Article 34 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV] …
The taking of hostages … constitute Grave Breaches (that is, major violations of the law of war) under Article 147 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV]. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, pp. 617–618 and 624.

The report listed Iraqi war crimes, including the taking of hostages. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 632.

The report also mentioned some specific Iraqi war crimes:
– the taking of Kuwaiti nationals as hostages … in violation of Articles 34 … and 147 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV].
– the taking of third nationals in Kuwait as hostages … in violation of Articles 34 … and 147 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV].
– the taking of third nationals in Iraq as hostages … in violation of Articles 34 … and 147 [of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV]. 
United States, Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 10 April 1992, Appendix O, The Role of the Law of War, ILM, Vol. 31, 1992, p. 634.

According to the Report on US Practice, “Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II] reflect general US policy on treatment of persons in the power of an adverse party in armed conflicts governed by common Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The report also notes: “It is the opinio juris of the US that persons detained in connection with an internal armed conflict are entitled to humane treatment as specified in Articles 4, 5 and 6 [of the 1977 Additional Protocol II].” 
Report on US Practice, 1997, Chapter 5.3.

Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
In 1991, in a document entitled “Examples of violations of the rules of international law committed by the so-called armed forces of Slovenia”, the Ministry of Defence of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia included the following example: “Taking hostages among wives and children of YPA [Yugoslav People’s Army] soldiers, they brought them in front of barracks and forced them to call upon their husbands and fathers to surrender.” 
Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of, Ministry of Defence, Examples of violations of the rules of international law committed by the so-called armed forces of Slovenia, 10 July 1991, § 1(v).

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UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1989 on incidents of hostage-taking and abduction, the UN Security Council considered that the taking of hostages and abductions were “offences of grave concern to all States” and “serious violations of international humanitarian law”. It also condemned “unequivocally all acts of hostage-taking and abduction” and demanded “the immediate safe release of all hostages and abducted persons, wherever and by whomever they are being held”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 638, 31 July 1989, preamble and §§ 1–2, voting record: 15-0-0.

In a resolution adopted in 1990 in connection with the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, the UN Security Council stated that it condemned “the actions by the Iraqi authorities and occupying forces to take third-State nationals hostage” and demanded that they immediately “cease and desist from taking third-State nationals hostage [and] mistreating and oppressing Kuwaiti and third-State nationals”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 674, 29 October 1990, preamble and § 1, voting record: 13-0-2.; see also Res. 686, 2 March 1991, § 2(c), voting record: 11-1-3, and Res. 706, 15 August 1991, § 6, voting record: 13-1-1.

In two statements by its President in 1997 and 1998 on the situation in Tajikistan, the UN Security Council denounced the taking of relief workers and others as hostages, demanded their immediate release and expressly stressed the inadmissibility of kidnapping. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1997/6, 7 February 1997; Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1998/4, 24 February 1998.

In a statement by its President in 1998, the UN Security Council condemned hostage-taking by former members of the deposed junta in Sierra Leone and called for the immediate release of all international personnel and others who had been held hostage. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1998/5, 26 February 1998.

UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1998, the UN General Assembly strongly condemned the overwhelming number of human rights violations committed by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the police and the military authorities in Kosovo, including the taking of civilian hostages, in breach of international humanitarian law, including common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol II. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 53/164, 9 December 1998, § 8, voting record: 122-3-34-26.

In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel, the UN General Assembly strongly condemned the “hostage-taking” of those participating in humanitarian operations. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/122, 17 December 2003, preamble, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel, the UN General Assembly strongly condemned the “hostage-taking” of those participating in humanitarian operations. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/211, 20 December 2004, preamble, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel, the UN General Assembly strongly condemned the “hostage-taking” of those participating in humanitarian operations. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/123, 15 December 2005, preamble, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2006 on hostage-taking, the UN General Assembly:
Taking into account the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/146 of 17 December 1979, which recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and considers the taking of hostages to be an offence of grave concern to the international community, as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the Assembly in its resolution 3166 (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973,
Bearing in mind the relevant Security Council resolutions condemning all cases of terrorism, including those of hostage-taking, in particular resolution 1440 (2002) of 24 October 2002,
Mindful of the fact that hostage-taking constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and is also a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the protection of victims of war,
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including the most recent, resolution 57/220 of 18 December 2002,
Recalling all relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights on the subject, including its most recent, resolution 2005/31 of 19 April 2005, in which it condemned the taking of any person as a hostage, as well as the statement by the President of the Human Rights Council of 30 June 2006 on the same subject,
Concerned that, despite the efforts of the international community, acts of hostage-taking in different forms and manifestations, including, inter alia, those committed by terrorists and armed groups, continue to take place and have even increased in many regions of the world,
Appealing for the humanitarian action of humanitarian organizations, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross and its delegates, to be respected, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977,
Recognizing that hostage-taking calls for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community in order, in strict conformity with international human rights standards, to bring such abhorrent practices to an end,
1. Reaffirms that hostage-taking, wherever and by whomever committed, is a serious crime aimed at the destruction of human rights and is, under any circumstances, unjustifiable;
2. Condemns all acts of hostage-taking, anywhere in the world;
3. Demands that all hostages be released immediately and without any preconditions, and expresses its solidarity with the victims of hostage-taking;
4. Calls upon States to take all necessary measures, in accordance with relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights standards, to prevent, combat and punish acts of hostage-taking, including by strengthening international cooperation in this field. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/172, 19 December 2006, preamble and §§ 1–4, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2007 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
52. Condemns all forms of violence against children, including … hostage-taking …

61. Requests the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict … to ensure between them … that the situations of all children subject to or at risk of violence are addressed, including those of armed conflict, foreign occupation, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, terrorism or hostage-taking. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 62/141, 18 December 2007, §§ 52 and 61, voting record: 183-1-0-8.

UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1992 on the situation of human rights in Iraq, the UN Commission on Human Rights strongly condemned hostage-taking. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1992/71, 5 March 1992, § 2(d), voting record: 35-1-16.

In a resolution adopted in 1992, the UN Commission on Human Rights included the taking of hostages among violations of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1992/S-1/1, 14 August 1992, § 5, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 1995, the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned hostage-taking during the internal armed conflict in Cambodia. It expressed its “grave concern over the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge including the taking and killing of foreign hostages”.  
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1995/55, 3 March 1995, § 11, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution on Cambodia adopted in 1998, the UN Commission on Human Rights endorsed the comments of the Special Representative stating that “in recent history the most serious human rights violations in Cambodia have been committed by the Khmer Rouge” and cited the taking and killing of hostages as an example. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/60, 17 April 1998, § 19, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution on Lebanon adopted in 1998, the UN Commission on Human Rights “called upon the government of Israel … to refrain from holding Lebanese detainees incarcerated in its prisons as hostages for bargaining purposes and to release them immediately”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/62, 21 April 1998, § 4, voting record: 52-1-0.

In a resolution adopted in 1998 on hostage-taking, the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned all acts of hostage-taking anywhere in the world and stated that such acts were illegal wherever and by whomever committed and that they were unjustifiable under any circumstances, as their aim was the destruction of fundamental human rights. The Commission demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/73, 22 April 1998, §§ 1–4, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2001 on hostage-taking, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Recognizing that hostage-taking calls for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community in order, in strict conformity with international human rights standards, to bring such abhorrent practices to an end,
1. Reaffirms that hostage-taking, wherever and by whomever committed, is an illegal act aimed at the destruction of human rights and is, under any circumstances, unjustifiable, including as a means to promote and protect human rights. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2001/38, 23 April 2001, preamble and § 1, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the human rights situation of the Lebanese detainees in Israel, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Expressing its indignation at the ruling handed down on 4 March 1998 by the Supreme Court of Israel permitting the Israeli authorities to retain Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons without trial and to hold them as hostages and for bargaining purposes and the recent renewal of their incommunicado detention, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the principles of human rights,

2. Also calls upon the Government of Israel to refrain from holding the detained Lebanese citizens incarcerated in its prisons as hostages for bargaining purposes and to release them immediately, in compliance with all the Geneva Conventions and other provisions of international law. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/8, 16 April 2003, preamble and § 2, voting record: 32-1-20.

In a resolution adopted in 2003 on hostage-taking, the UN Commission on Human Rights,
Taking into account the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/146 of 17 December 1979, which also recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and that the taking of hostages is an offence of grave concern to the international community, as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 3166 (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973,

Mindful of the fact that hostage-taking constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and is also a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

Concerned that, despite the efforts of the international community, acts of hostage taking in different forms and manifestations, inter alia those committed by terrorists and armed groups, continue to take place and have even increased in many regions of the world,
Appealing for the humanitarian action of humanitarian organizations, in particular of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its delegates, to be respected, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977 thereto,
Recognizing that hostage-taking calls for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community in order, in strict conformity with international human rights standards, to bring such abhorrent practices to an end,
1. Reaffirms that hostage-taking, wherever and by whomever committed, is a serious crime aimed at the destruction of human rights and is, under any circumstances, unjustifiable, including as a means to promote and protect human rights;
2. Condemns all acts of hostage-taking anywhere in the world;
3. Demands that all hostages be released immediately and without any preconditions, and expresses its solidarity with the victims of hostage-taking;
4. Calls upon States to take all necessary measures, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and international human rights standards, to prevent, combat and punish acts of hostage-taking, including by strengthening international cooperation in this field. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/40, 23 April 2003, preamble and §§ 1–4, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the protection of United Nations personnel, the UN Commission on Human Rights strongly condemned “hostage-taking … and other hostile acts against United Nations and associated personnel and other personnel acting under the authority of United Nations operations, as well as personnel of international humanitarian organizations”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/77, 21 April 2004, preamble, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2003 on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned “[a]ll acts of violence such as hostage-taking, abduction and murder, including of humanitarian relief workers and of United Nations agency personnel”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/78, 25 April 2003, § 6(d), adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2004 on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned “[a]ll acts of violence such as hostage-taking, abduction and murder, including of humanitarian relief workers and of United Nations agency personnel”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/80, 21 April 2004, § 9(e), adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2005 on hostage-taking, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Taking into account the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/146 of 17 December 1979, which also recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and that the taking of hostages is an offence of grave concern to the international community, as well as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 3166 (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973,

Mindful of the fact that hostage-taking constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and is also a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, for the protection of victims of war,

Concerned that, despite the efforts of the international community, acts of hostage taking in different forms and manifestations, including, those committed by terrorists and armed groups, continue to take place and have even increased in many regions of the world,
Appealing for the humanitarian action of humanitarian organizations, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross and its delegates, to be respected, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977 thereto,
Recognizing that hostage-taking calls for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community in order, in strict conformity with international human rights standards, to bring such abhorrent practices to an end,
1. Reaffirms that hostage-taking, wherever and by whomever committed, is a serious crime aimed at the destruction of human rights and is, under any circumstances, unjustifiable, including as a means to promote and protect human rights;
2. Condemns all acts of hostage-taking anywhere in the world;
3. Demands that all hostages be released immediately and without any preconditions, and expresses its solidarity with the victims of hostage-taking;
4. Calls upon States to take all necessary measures, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and international human rights standards, to prevent, combat and punish acts of hostage-taking, including by strengthening international cooperation in this field. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. Res. 2005/31, 19 April 2005, preamble and §§ 1–4, adopted without a vote.

In a resolution adopted in 2005 on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the UN Commission on Human Rights firmly condemned “acts of violence such as hostage-taking, abduction and murder, including of humanitarian relief workers and of United Nations agency personnel”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/83, 21 April 2005, § 7(a), adopted without a vote.

UN Secretary-General
In 1996, in a report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, the UN Secretary-General reported that, following a series of hostage-taking incidents, the two sides had agreed to exchange all hostages and to consider kidnapping a crime whose authors would be arrested and prosecuted. In the space of one month, UNOMIG assisted in the exchange of 13 hostages, 11 held by the Abkhaz side, two by the Georgian side. 
UN Secretary-General, Report concerning the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, UN Doc. S/1996/284, 15 April 1996, § 33.

In 1997, in a report on the situation in Somalia, the UN Secretary-General, citing violations of human rights and IHL, pointed out that the practice of kidnapping remained common. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the situation in Somalia, UN Doc. S/1997/135, 17 February 1997, § 32.

In 2000, in his report on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, the UN Secretary-General stated that common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Article 4 of the 1977 Additional Protocol II “have long been considered customary international law”. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, UN Doc. S/2000/915, 4 October 2000, § 14.

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Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1990 concerning the Gulf War, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly condemned the taking of foreign nationals as hostages. It demanded the immediate release of third State nationals being held as hostages by the Iraqi authorities in Iraq and Kuwait. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 950, 1 October 1990, §§ 2 and 5(ii).

European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in 2000 on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Chechnya, the European Parliament called upon the Chechen authorities to take all measures in their power to locate and release all civilian hostages kidnapped before and during the current conflict. 
European Parliament, Resolution on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Chechnya, 16 March 2000, § 11.

OAS Permanent Council
In 1989, in a resolution on hostages in El Salvador, the Permanent Council of the OAS resolved to make an urgent appeal to safeguard the lives and persons of those being held hostage, and to call for their immediate and unconditional release. 
OAS, Permanent Council, Resolution on Hostages in El Salvador, 1989, § 4.

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International Conference of the Red Cross (1977)
The 23rd International Conference of the Red Cross in 1977 adopted a resolution in which it condemned “the taking of hostages” and urged “all governments to take the necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such acts”. 
23rd International Conference of the Red Cross, Bucharest, 15–21 October 1977, Res. VIII, §§ 1 and 2.

International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1999)
The Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003 adopted in 1999 by the 27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent proposed that all the parties to an armed conflict ensure that “the prohibition of taking hostages is strictly respected”. 
27th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 31 October–6 November 1999, Res. I, Annex 2, Plan of Action for the years 2000–2003, Actions proposed for final goal 1.1, § 1(d).

African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict
The Final Declaration adopted by the African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict in 2002 expressed deep concern about “the number and expansion of conflicts in Africa” and alarm at “the spread of violence, in particular in the form of … hostage-taking … which seriously violate[s] the rules of International Humanitarian Law”. 
African Parliamentary Conference on International Humanitarian Law for the Protection of Civilians during Armed Conflict, Niamey, 18–20 February 2002, Final Declaration, preamble.

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International Court of Justice
In its judgement in the Nicaragua case (Merits) in 1986, the ICJ held that the rules contained in common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions reflected what the Court in 1949 in the Corfu Channel case (Merits) had called “elementary considerations of humanity”. 
ICJ, Nicaragua case (Merits), Judgment, 27 June 1986, § 218.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In the Karadžić and Mladić case before the ICTY in 1995, the accused were charged with grave breaches and violations of the laws and customs of war for having seized 284 UN peacekeepers in Pale, Sarajevo, Goražde and other locations and held them as hostages in order to prevent further air strikes by NATO. 
ICTY, Karadžić and Mladić case, Initial Indictment, 24 July 1995, §§ 46–48.

In its review of the indictment in 1996, the ICTY Trial Chamber upheld the charges and stated that these acts (taking UNPROFOR soldiers as hostages and using them as human shields) could “be characterised as war crimes”. 
ICTY, Karadžić and Mladić case, Review of the Indictments, 11 July 1996, §§ 13 and 89.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
In its judgement in the Blaškić case in 2000, the ICTY Trial Chamber held:
The taking of hostages is prohibited by Article 3(b) common to the [1949] Geneva Conventions which is covered by Article 3 of the [1993 ICTY] Statute … Consonant with the spirit of the Fourth Convention, the Commentary sets out that the term “hostage” must be understood in the broadest sense. The definition of hostages must be understood as being similar to that of civilians taken as hostages within the meaning of grave breaches under Article 2 of the Statute, that is – persons unlawfully deprived of their freedom, often wantonly and sometimes under threat of death.
The Trial Chamber found the accused guilty of a violation of the laws and customs of war recognized by common Article 3(1)(a) of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (taking of hostages) and of a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (taking civilians as hostages). 
ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgment, 3 March 2000, § 187 and Part VI.

In its judgement in 2004, the ICTY Appeals Chamber stated on the matter of hostage-taking:
The Appeals Chamber agrees that the essential element in the crime of hostage-taking is the use of a threat concerning detainees so as to obtain a concession or gain an advantage; a situation of hostage-taking exists when a person seizes or detains and threatens to kill, injure or continue to detain another person in order to compel a third party to do or to abstain from doing something as a condition for the release of that person. The crime of hostage-taking is prohibited by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, Articles 34 and 147 of Geneva Convention IV, and Article 75(2)(c) of Additional Protocol I. 
ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgment on Appeal, 29 July 2004, § 639.

In its judgement in the Kordić and Čerkez case in 2001, the ICTY Trial Chamber held that “an individual commits the offence of taking civilians as hostages when he threatens to subject civilians, who are unlawfully detained, to inhuman treatment or death as a means of achieving the fulfilment of a condition”. The Trial Chamber found the accused guilty of a grave breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions (taking civilians as hostages). 
ICTY, Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgment, 26 February 2001, Part V.

Special Court for Sierra Leone
In the Bockarie case before the SCSL in 2003, the accused, a senior member of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Junta and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)/RUF forces, was charged, inter alia,
[f]or the abductions and holding as hostage, [t]aking of hostages, a VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 COMMON TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL II, punishable under Article 3.c. of the [2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone]. 
SCSL, Bockarie case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 61, Count 17.
[emphasis in original]
It was alleged that:
Between about 15 April 2000 and about 15 September 2000, AFRC/RUF engaged in widespread attacks against UNAMSIL [United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone] peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers within the Republic of Sierra Leone … These attacks included unlawful killing of UNAMSIL peacekeepers, and abducting hundreds of peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers who were then held hostage. 
SCSL, Bockarie case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 61.

Due to the accused’s death, the indictment was withdrawn. 
SCSL, Bockarie case, Withdrawal of Indictment, 8 December 2003.

In the Koroma case before the SCSL in 2003, the accused, the leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), a senior leader of the AFRC/Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a senior member of the Junta regime, and exercising the powers of the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone from May 1997 to February 1998, was, inter alia, charged
[f]or the abductions and holding as hostage, [t]aking of hostages, a VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 COMMON TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL II, punishable under Article 3.c. of the [2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone]. 
SCSL, Koroma case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 59, Count 17.
[emphasis in original]
It was alleged that:
Between about 15 April 2000 and about 15 September 2000, AFRC/RUF engaged in widespread attacks against UNAMSIL [United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone] peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers within the Republic of Sierra Leone … These attacks included unlawful killing of UNAMSIL peacekeepers, and abducting hundreds of peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers who were then held hostage. 
SCSL, Koroma case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 59.

In the Sankoh case before the SCSL in 2003, the accused, the leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a senior leader in the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)/RUF, and a senior member of the Junta regime, was charged, inter alia,
[f]or the abductions and holding as hostage, [t]aking of hostages, a VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 COMMON TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL II, punishable under Article 3.c. of the [2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone]. 
SCSL, Sankoh case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 62, Count 17.
[emphasis in original]
It was alleged that:
Between about 15 April 2000 and about 15 September 2000, AFRC/RUF engaged in widespread attacks against UNAMSIL [United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone] peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers within the Republic of Sierra Leone … These attacks included unlawful killing of UNAMSIL peacekeepers, and abducting hundreds of peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers who were then held hostage. 
SCSL, Sankoh case, Indictment, 7 March 2003, § 62.

Due to the accused’s death, the indictment was withdrawn. 
SCSL, Sankoh case, Withdrawal of Indictment, 8 December 2003.

In the Sesay case before the SCSL in 2006, the accused Sesay and Kallon, senior commanders in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Junta and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)/RUF forces, and the accused Gbao, senior commander in the RUF and AFRC/RUF forces, were charged, inter alia,
[f]or abductions and holding as hostage, taking of hostages, a VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 COMMON TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL II, punishable under Article 3.c. of the [2002 Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone]. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Corrected Amended Consolidated Indictment, 2 August 2006, § 83, Count 18.
[emphasis in original]
It was alleged that:
Between about 15 April 2000 and about 15 September 2000, AFRC/RUF engaged in widespread attacks against UNAMSIL [United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone] peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers within the Republic of Sierra Leone … These attacks included unlawful killing of UNAMSIL peacekeepers, and abducting hundreds of peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance workers who were then held hostage.  
SCSL, Sesay case, Corrected Amended Consolidated Indictment, 2 August 2006, § 83.

In its judgement in the case in 2009, the Trial Chamber set out the elements of the offence of hostage-taking, stating:
237. The Chamber notes that the prohibition against the taking of hostages is found in Common Article 3 of the [1949] Geneva Conventions, is identified as a grave breach under Articles 34 and 147 of Geneva Convention IV and is recognized as fundamental guarantee for civilians and persons hors de combat in [the 1977] Additional Protocols I and II. It is also proscribed as an offence in the Statutes of the ICTY, the ICTR and the ICC and has been recognised as an offence by the ICTY Appeals Chamber.
238. Further, numerous military manuals and the legislation of many States also prohibit the taking of hostages. This Chamber notes that hostage-taking in both international and national conflicts has been condemned by States and by international organisations.
239. The Chamber is, therefore, satisfied that this prohibition against hostage-taking existed in customary international law and was deemed a war crime entailing individual criminal responsibility at the time of the commission of the offence as alleged in the Indictment.
240. In addition to the chapeau requirements for establishing a war crime, the Chamber holds that the specific elements for the offence of hostage-taking are as follows:
(i) The Accused seized, detained, or otherwise held hostage one or more persons;
(ii) The Accused threatened to kill, injure or continue to detain such person(s); and
(iii) The Accused intended to compel a State, an international organisation, a natural or legal person or a group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or the release of such person(s).
241. Consistent with the general requirements for a war crime, this Chamber considers that it is the law that the person or persons held hostage must not be taking a direct part in the hostilities at the time of the alleged violation. The person(s) must be “seized, detained, or otherwise held hostage”. In the Chamber’s opinion, the term “hostage” must be interpreted in its broadest sense.
242. In addition to this element of confinement, the Chamber takes the view that the Prosecution must prove that there was a threat made against the hostage which would be realised if a particular condition is not fulfilled. The ICTY Appeals Chamber in Blaskic stated that “the essential element in the crime of hostage-taking is the use of a threat concerning detainees so as to obtain a concession or gain an advantage […].” [ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 639] The threat can be either explicit or implicit.
243. The Chamber agrees that the taking of hostages is a crime with a specific intent mens rea and that “such a threat must be intended as a coercive measure to achieve the fulfilment of a condition.” [ICTY, Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgement, § 313] The Prosecution must establish that in taking persons hostage and making a threat, the Accused intended to compel a party, broadly defined as either “a State, an international organisation, a natural or legal person or a group of persons”, to do something or to refrain from doing something as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or the release of the hostages. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Judgment, 2 March 2009, §§ 237–243.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In its judgement in 2009, the Appeals Chamber, considering the offence of hostage-taking, stated:
577. The Appeals Chamber notes that the principal provisions of international humanitarian law applicable in internal armed conflict that relate to hostage-taking reference “the taking of hostages” without more. The international humanitarian law of international armed conflict is no more helpful, the relevant provisions being equally sparse. The same is true of the Statutes of the ICTY, the ICTR and the International Criminal Court. Although the offence of the taking of hostages appears in each, little guidance is forthcoming.

578. The [2000] Elements of Crimes of the International Criminal Court, do, however, set out the elements of the offence. These mirror, in all salient respects, the elements as first set out by the Trial Chamber, suggesting that communication of the threat to a third party is not an element of the offence. The ICC Elements of Crimes are designed to “assist the [ICC] in the interpretation and application” of the crimes. Before this Court, they are instructive, comprising, as they do, a useful interpretational tool; however, they are neither binding nor do they represent the state of customary international law in each and every instance.
579. The relevant elements of the ICC Elements of Crimes are “largely taken from” the definition contained in the [1979] Hostages Convention. Analysis of that Convention may, then, prove useful. Article 1(1) of the Convention provides:
Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the “hostage”) in order to compel a third party, namely, a State, an international intergovernmental organization, a natural or juridical person, or a group of persons, to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the offence of taking of hostages (“hostage-taking”) within the meaning of this Convention.
580. As the Lambert Commentary on the Hostages Convention notes:
[T]he words “in order to compel” seem to relate to the motivation of the hostage-taker, rather than to any physical acts which he might take. Thus, while the seizure and threat will usually be accompanied or followed by a demand that a third party act in a certain way, there is no actual requirement that a demand be uttered. Thus, if there is a detention and threat, yet no demands, there will still be a hostage-taking if the offender is seeking to compel a third party.1477
[One of the appellants] focuses on the word “uttered” in the second sentence of this quotation to suggest that the passage goes to the mode of expression of the demands. However, as the subsequent sentence indicates, the passage in fact goes to the very existence of demands. This is made even clearer in a footnote to this passage, which observes: “In this connexion it might be noted that many kidnappings and hostage-takings do not involve any demands. … Incidents wherein demands are not made will not necessarily fall outside the scope of this Convention, however, in such cases the intent to compel will be difficult to discern.” The communication of the threat to a third party is, then, a means by which to evidence an element of the offence, but does not comprise an element itself in need of proof.
581. This view has been followed by at least one domestic court. In the case of Simpson v. Libya, the D.C. Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals had occasion to consider the definition of “hostage-taking” in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a definition which, for present purposes, is identical to that contained in the Hostages Convention. The Court opined: “a plaintiff need not allege that the hostage taker had communicated [his] intended purpose to the outside world,” “plaintiffs need not demonstrate that a third party was aware of the hostage taking” and “‘demands’ are not required to establish the element of hostage taking.” The Court also held that “the intentionality requirement focused on the mens rea of the hostage taker” rather than on the actus reus.
582. A review of domestic legislation also leads to the conclusion that the communication of the threat to a third party is not an element of the offence. A large number of States’ legislation does not include communication of the threat to a third party as an element of the offence; others explicitly state or implicitly suggest that no such requirement need be proven. Only the odd State imposes such a requirement. [The appellant] misreads the import of this domestic legislation. It does not follow from a requirement that the threat be made with an intention to coerce that the threat be communicated to the third party.

583. As the Parties note, of the limited international jurisprudence that exists, three cases are particularly pertinent. In the Blaskić case, an ICTY Trial Chamber held that it must be proven that “the allegedly censurable act was perpetrated in order to obtain a concession or gain an advantage.” [ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgement, § 158] This is the key element of the offence – “the use of a threat concerning detainees so as to obtain a concession or gain an advantage” [ICTY, Blaškić case, Judgement on Appeal, § 639] – for it is this that distinguishes the detention (whether lawful or unlawful) from hostage-taking. As put by an ICTY Trial Chamber in Kordić and Čerkez:
[t]he additional element that must be proved to establish the crime of unlawfully taking civilians hostage is the issuance of a conditional threat in respect of the physical and mental wellbeing of civilians who are unlawfully detained. … In the Chamber’s view, such a threat must be intended as a coercive measure to achieve the fulfilment of a condition. [ICTY, Kordić and Čerkez case, Judgement, § 313]
This passage usefully reveals that a threat must be issued and that the threat must be intended as a coercive measure; the former relates to the actus reus and the latter to the mens rea. There is no requirement in the jurisprudence of the ICTY that the threat has to be communicated to a third party. It suffices that the threat be communicated to the detained individual.
584. In the third case, the Hostages case before the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, the Tribunal espoused a requirement for a communication to a third party:
It is essential to a lawful taking of hostages under customary law that proclamation be made, giving the name and addresses of hostages taken, notifying the population that upon the recurrence of stated acts of war treason that the hostages will be shot.
585. However, the context of the quote illustrates the necessity for the requirement. In certain instances, the taking and execution of hostages was considered lawful, as a last resort, to guarantee the obedience of the civilian population of occupied territories. In order for such a rationale to make sense, there was necessarily a requirement that the threat be communicated to a third party. This comes through from another passage of the Tribunal:
An examination of the available evidence on the subject convinces us that hostages may be taken in order to guarantee the peaceful conduct of the populations of occupied territories and, when certain conditions exist and the necessary preliminaries have been taken, they may, as a last resort, be shot. … The occupant may properly insist upon compliance with regulations necessary to the security of the occupying forces and for the maintenance of law and order. In the accomplishment of this objective, the occupant may, only as a last resort, take and execute hostages.
With the change in the law and rendering of the taking of hostages unlawful, the requirement of communication falls away. The logic that applied at the time of the lawful taking of hostages is now moot.
586. Accordingly, the Trial Chamber erred in introducing into the elements of the crime a requirement that the threat must have been communicated to a third party. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Judgment on Appeal, 26 October 2009, §§ 577–586.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
The Appeals Chamber also considered the relevance of intent to the offence of hostage-taking, stating:
597. … As a matter of law, the requisite intent may be present at the moment the individual is first detained or may be formed at some time thereafter while the persons were held. In the former instance, the offence is complete at the time of the initial detention (assuming all the other elements of the crime are satisfied); in the latter, the situation is transformed into the offence of hostage-taking the moment the intent crystallises (again, assuming the other elements of the crime are satisfied).
598. The Appeals Chamber notes that it could not be otherwise, for it would mean that the crime of hostage-taking could never arise out of an initially lawful detention; similarly, an unlawful abduction could never be transformed into a case of hostage taking. Yet the precise means by which the individual falls into the hands of the perpetrator is not the defining characteristic of the offence; it is, rather, a secondary feature. As the Trial Chamber found, the first element of the crime is that an individual was “seized, detained, or otherwise held hostage.” [SCSL, Sesay case, Judgement, § 240] For its part, the ICRC Commentary on [the 1977] Additional Protocol II defines a hostage as “persons who are in the power of a party to the conflict or its agent, willingly or unwillingly.” The ICTY has shown that the key feature of the offence is the threat coupled with the compulsion. In the view of the Appeals Chamber, to exclude from the scope of the crime the individual who possesses the mens rea at a period subsequent to the initial confinement fails to recognize the continuing nature of the offence. 
SCSL, Sesay case, Judgment on Appeal, 26 October 2009, §§ 597–598.
[footnotes in original omitted; emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its General Comment on Article 4 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2001, the Human Rights Committee held:
11. States parties may in no circumstances invoke article 4 of the Covenant as justification for acting in violation of humanitarian law or peremptory norms of international law, for instance by taking hostages.

13. In those provisions of the Covenant that are not listed in article 4, paragraph 2, there are elements that in the Committee’s opinion cannot be made subject to lawful derogation under article 4. Some illustrative examples are presented below.

(b) The prohibitions against taking of hostages, abductions, or unacknowledged detention are not subject to derogation. The absolute nature of these prohibitions, even in times of emergency, is justified by their status as norms of general international law. 
Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 29 (Article 4 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), 24 July 2001, §§ 11 and 13(b).

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ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that the taking of hostages is prohibited and that it constitutes a grave breach of the law of war. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, §§ 196 and 776(d).

In a Memorandum on the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law sent in 1990 to all States party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions in the context of the Gulf War, the ICRC stated that “the taking of hostages” is specifically prohibited. 
ICRC, Memorandum on the Applicability of International Humanitarian Law, 14 December 1990, § I, IRRC, No. 280, 1991, p. 24.

In a press release in 1992, the ICRC urged all the parties involved in the conflict in Tajikistan to ensure the protection of civilians and military victims, in compliance with the basic rules of IHL and in particular “to refrain from taking hostages”. 
ICRC, Press Release, Tajikistan: ICRC urges respect for humanitarian rules, ICRC Dushanbe, 23 November 1992.

In a communication to the press in 1993, the ICRC reminded the parties to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh “to refrain from taking hostages”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press No. 93/25, Nagorny-Karabakh conflict: 60,000 civilians flee fighting in south-western Azerbaijan, 19 August 1993.

In 1994, in a Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, the ICRC stated that “hostage-taking” of civilians is, in particular, prohibited. 
ICRC, Memorandum on Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Angola, 8 June 1994, § I, IRRC, No. 320, 1997, p. 503.

In 1994, in a Memorandum on Compliance with International Humanitarian Law by the Forces Participating in Opération Turquoise in the Great Lakes region, the ICRC stated, with respect to civilian persons who refrain from acts of hostility, that “the taking of hostages” is prohibited. 
ICRC, Memorandum on Compliance with International Humanitarian Law by the Forces Participating in Opération Turquoise, 23 June 1994, § I, reprinted in Marco Sassòli and Antoine A. Bouvier, How Does Law Protect in War?, ICRC, Geneva, 1999, p. 1308.

In a press release in 1994, the ICRC urged parties to the conflict in Chechnya “to refrain from taking hostages”. 
ICRC, Press Release No. 1793, Chechnya: ICRC urges respect for humanitarian rules, 28 November 1994.

In a communication to the press in 1995, the ICRC stated that it was “alarmed by the dramatic events taking place in the town of Budyonnovsk, where Chechen fighters have taken hostage hundreds of civilians” and condemned “the taking of hostages in Budyonnovsk … which violates norms of international humanitarian law”. 
ICRC, Communication to the Press, ICRC Moscow, 17 June 1995.

In 1997, in a working paper on war crimes submitted to the Preparatory Committee for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, the ICRC proposed that the war crime of “taking of hostages”, when committed in an international armed conflict, together with the crime of hostage-taking, as a serious violation of IHL applicable in non-international armed conflicts, be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court. 
ICRC, Working paper on war crimes submitted to the Preparatory Committee for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, New York, 14 February 1997, §§ 1(a)(vii) and 3(iii).

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Americas Watch
In 1985, in a report on violations of the laws of war in Nicaragua, Americas Watch reported an incident in which the leader of an armed opposition group threatened to kill 23 captured soldiers unless ten Miskito prisoners were released. The report commented that this behaviour “reflects a serious disregard for the rights of prisoners under [common] Article 3” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 
Americas Watch, Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides in Nicaragua: 1981–1985, New York, March 1985, p. 43.

Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards
The Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights of Åbo Akademi University in Turku/Åbo, Finland in 1990, states that “the taking of hostages” shall remain prohibited. 
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, 30 November–2 December 1990, Article 3(2)(c), IRRC, No. 282, 1991, p. 332.