Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, G.A. Res. 146 (XXXIV), U.N. GAOR,
34th Sess., Supp. No. 46, at 245, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (1979), entered into
force June 3, 1983.
THE STATES PARTIES to this Convention,
HAVING IN MIND the purposes and
principles of the Charter of the United Nations concerning the maintenance of
international peace and security and the promotion of friendly relations and
co-operation among States,
RECOGNIZING in particular that everyone
has the right to life, liberty and security of person, as set out in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political
REAFFIRMING the principle of equal
rights and self-determination of peoples as enshrined in the Charter of the
United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning
Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter
of the United Nations, as well as in other relevant resolutions of the General
CONSIDERING that the taking of hostages
is an offence of grave concern to the international community and that, in accordance
with the provisions of this Convention, any person committing an act of hostage
taking shall either be prosecuted or extradited,
BEING CONVINCED that it is urgently
necessary to develop international co-operation between States in devising and
adopting effective measures for the prevention, prosecution and punishment of
all acts of taking of hostages as manifestations of international terrorism,
HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
- 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.
- Any person who:
- attempts to commit an act of
- participates as an accomplice
of anyone who commits or attempts to commit an act of hostage-taking likewise
commits an offence for the purposes of this Convention.
Each State Party shall make the
offences set forth in article 1 punishable by appropriate penalties which take
into account the grave nature of those offences.
- The State Party in the territory
of which the hostage is held by the offender shall take all measures it considers
appropriate to ease the situation of the hostage, in particular, to secure
his release and, after his release, to facilitate, when relevant, his departure.
- If any object which the offender
has obtained as a result of the taking of hostages comes into the custody
of a State Party, that State Party shall return it as soon as possible to
the hostage or the third party referred to in article 1, as the case may be,
or to the appropriate authorities thereof.
States Parties shall co-operate
in the prevention of the offences set forth in article 1, particularly by:
- taking all practicable measures
to prevent preparations in their respective territories for the commission
of those offences within or outside their territories, including measures
to prohibit in their territories illegal activities of persons, groups and
organizations that encourage, instigate, organize or engage in the perpetration
of acts of taking of hostages;
- exchanging information and co-ordinating
the taking of administrative and other measures as appropriate to prevent
the commission of those offences.
- Each State Party shall take such
measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over any of the
offences set forth in article 1 which are committed:
- in its territory or on board
a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
- by any of its nationals or,
if that State considers it appropriate, by those stateless persons who have
their habitual residence in its territory;
- in order to compel that State
to do or abstain from doing any act; or
- with respect to a hostage who
is a national of that State, if that State considers it appropriate.
- Each State Party shall likewise
take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over
the offences set forth in article 1 in cases where the alleged offender is
present in its territory and it does not extradite him to any of the States
mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article.
- This Convention does not exclude
any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.
- Upon being satisfied that the
circumstances so warrant, any State Party in the territory of which the alleged
offender is present shall, in accordance with its laws, take him into custody
or take other measures to ensure his presence for such time as is necessary
to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted. That State
Party shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.
- The custody or other measures
referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be notified without delay
directly or through the Secretary-General of the United Nations to:
- the State where the offence
- the State against which compulsion
has been directed or attempted;
- the State of which the natural
or juridical person against whom compulsion has been directed or attempted
is a national;
- the State of which the hostage
is a national or in the territory of which he has his habitual residence;
- the State of which the alleged
offender is a national or, if he is a stateless person, in the territory
of which he has his habitual residence;
- the international intergovernmental
organization against which compulsion has been directed or attempted;
- all other States concerned.
- Any person regarding whom the
measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this article are being taken shall
- to communicate without delay
with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is
a national or which is otherwise entitled to establish such communication
or, if he is a stateless person, the State in the territory of which he
has his habitual residence;
- to be visited by a representative
of that State.
- The rights referred to in paragraph
3 of this article shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations
of the State in the territory of which the alleged offender is present subject
to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable full
effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under paragraph
3 of this article are intended.
- The provisions of paragraphs
3 and 4 of this article shall be without prejudice to the right of any State
Party having a claim to jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph 1(b) of
article 5 to invite the International Committee of the Red Cross to communicate
with and visit the alleged offender.
- The State which makes the preliminary
inquiry contemplated in paragraph 1 of this article shall promptly report
its findings to the States or organization referred to in paragraph 2 of this
article and indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.
The State Party where the alleged
offender is prosecuted shall in accordance with its laws communicate the final
outcome of the proceedings to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who
shall transmit the information to the other States concerned and the international
intergovernmental organizations concerned.
- The State Party in the territory
of which the alleged offender is found shall, if it does not extradite him,
be obliged, without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was
committed in its territory, to submit the case to its competent authorities
for the purpose of prosecution, through proceedings in accordance with the
laws of that State. Those authorities shall take their decision in the same
manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a grave nature under the
law of that State.
- Any person regarding whom proceedings
are being carried out in connexion with any of the offences set forth in article
1 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings, including
enjoyment of all the rights and guarantees provided by the law of the State
in the territory of which he is present.
- A request for the extradition
of an alleged offender, pursuant to this Convention, shall not be granted
if the requested State Party has substantial grounds for believing:
- that the request for extradition
for an offence set forth in article 1 has been made for the purpose of prosecuting
or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality, ethnic
origin or political opinion; or
- that the person's position
may be prejudiced:
- for any of the reasons mentioned
in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, or
- for the reason that communication
with him by the appropriate authorities of the State entitled to exercise
rights of protection cannot be effected.
- With respect to the offences
as defined in this Convention, the provisions of all extradition treaties
and arrangements applicable between States Parties are modified as between
States Parties to the extent that they are incompatible with this Convention.
- The offences set forth in article
1 shall be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any extradition
treaty existing between States Parties. States Parties undertake to include
such offences as extraditable offences in every extradition treaty to be concluded
- If a State Party which makes
extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for
extradition from another State Party with which it has no extradition treaty,
the requested State may at its option consider this Convention as the legal
basis for extradition in respect of the offences set forth in article 1. Extradition
shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of the requested
- States Parties which do not make
extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty shall recognize the offences
set forth in article 1 as extraditable offences between themselves subject
to the conditions provided by the law of the requested State.
- The offences set forth in article
I shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between States Parties,
as if they had been committed not only in the place in which they occurred
but also in the territories of the States required to establish their jurisdiction
in accordance with paragraph 1 of article 5.
- States Parties shall afford one
another the greatest measure of assistance in connexion with criminal proceedings
brought in respect of the offences set forth in article 1, including the supply
of all evidence at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.
- The provisions of paragraph 1
of this article shall not affect obligations concerning mutual judicial assistance
embodied in any other treaty.
In so far as the Geneva Conventions
of 1949 for the protection of war victims or the Additional Protocols to those
Conventions are applicable to a particular act of hostage-taking, and in so
far as States Parties to this Convention are bound under those conventions to
prosecute or hand over the hostage-taker, the present Convention shall not apply
to an act of hostage-taking committed in the course of armed conflicts as defined
in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Protocols thereto, including armed
conflicts mentioned in article 1, paragraph 4, of Additional Protocol I of 1977,
in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation
and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self- determination,
as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles
of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States
in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
This Convention shall not apply
where the offence is committed within a single State, the hostage and the alleged
offender are nationals of that State and the alleged offender is found in the
territory of that State.
Nothing in this Convention shall
be construed as justifying the violation of the territorial integrity or political
independence of a State in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations.
The provisions of this Convention
shall not affect the application of the Treaties on Asylum, in force at the
date of the adoption of this Convention, as between the States which are parties
to those Treaties; but a State Party to this convention may not invoke those
Treaties with respect to another State Party to this Convention which is not
a party to those treaties.
- Any dispute between two or more
States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention
which is not settled by negotiation shall, at the request of one of them,
be submitted to arbitration. If within six months from the date of the request
for arbitration the parties are unable to agree on the organization of the
arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the dispute to the International
Court of Justice by request in conformity with the Statute of the Court.
- Each State may at the time of
signature or ratification of this Convention or accession thereto declare
that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of this article. The
other States Parties shall not be bound by paragraph 1 of this article with
respect to any State Party which has made such a reservation.
- Any State Party which has made
a reservation in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article may at any time
withdraw that reservation by notification to the Secretary-General in the
- This Convention is open for signature
by all States until 31 December 1980 at United Nations Headquarters in New
- This Convention is subject to
ratification. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- This Convention is open for accession
by any State. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-
General of the United Nations.
- This Convention shall enter into
force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the twenty-second
instrument of ratification or accession with the Secretary-General of the
- For each State ratifying or acceding
to the Convention after the deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification
or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after
deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
- Any State Party may denounce
this Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United
- Denunciation shall take effect
one year following the date on which notification is received by the Secretary-General
of the United Nations.
The original of this Convention,
of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are
equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the United
Nations, who shall send certified copies thereof to all States.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned,
being duly authorized thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this
Convention, opened for signature at New York on 18 December 1979.