Held Hostage? A Legal Report on Hostage-Taking By States in Peacetime and the Victim Protection Gap

Mon, 1 Oct 2018 16:00 PM
Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation
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Hostage-taking behaviour by States violates international law during wartime but what laws and options can be relied upon when States commit such acts during peacetime? Are States powerless to rescue their citizens from hostage situations?

One of the goals of the Thomson Reuters Foundation is to strengthen the rule of law and human rights. TrustLaw is our global pro bono service that connects leading law firms and corporate legal teams with non-governmental organisations and social enterprises in need of free legal assistance. Through TrustLaw, we found outstanding lawyers and academics who worked incredibly hard to produce excellent comparative research on the issue of hostages. We are grateful to them, as well as to the activists and families who contributed their expert knowledge and time to make this legal report possible.

This report investigates the international and domestic legal frameworks that govern hostage-taking and aims to identify the protection gap in the law. It also reveals some of the actions States have taken during their attempts to free nationals of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands.