taking of hostages

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The taking of hostages, if perpetrated as part of an armed conflict, is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The prosecutor must show the following elements:

  • the perpetrator seized, detained, or otherwise held the victim(s) hostage;
  • The perpetrator threatened to kill, injure, or persist in detaining the victims;
  • The perpetrator intended to compel a state, international organization, or persons to act or refrain from acting as a condition for the safety or release of the victims;
  • the victims were protected under the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
  • the conduct took place in the context of an international armed conflict.