A haunting figure: The hostage through the ages

The hostage has now reached the final stage in the deterioration of an already unenviable condition. This deterioration is not only due to the aggressors themselves but also reflects the current asymmetry in conflicts and is, even more, the result of a cruel irony of history.

About the authors

Irène Herrmann

Irène Herrmann is associate professor of modern history at the University of Fribourg and lecturer of Swiss history at the University of Geneva.

Daniel Palmieri
International Committee of the Red Cross

Daniel Palmieri is the historical research officer at the ICRC. He is the author of numerous works on ICRC history and on the history of war.