Hostage Negotiations

hostage

hostage, person held by another as a guarantee that certain actions or promises will or will not be carried out. During periods of internal turmoil, insurgents often seize hostages; recent examples include seizures of Americans and other foreigners by militants in Iran (1979–81) and Lebanon (1980s). Military forces often take hostages among civilians in an occupied country, in order to ensure the delivery of requisitions, to discourage hostile acts, or to take reprisals for hostile acts committed by unknown persons. In World War II, thousands of hostages were executed throughout Europe by the German authorities in an attempt to crush resistance movements. The Geneva Convention of 1949 forbade entirely the taking of civilian hostages. Criminals, especially when confronted by police, sometimes take hostages as "human shields" or as bargaining assets. In 1998 it was revealed that Israel was holding Lebanese hostages solely for use in prisoner exchanges or other deals with Lebanese guerrillas; their detainment was condoned by Israel's supreme court.

Ancient military custom regulated the behavior and treatment of hostages; originally a hostage was a person who had been delivered by one authority to another as a token of good faith, and was generally treated as an honored guest. However, he might be imprisoned or even executed if the agreement guaranteed by his person was broken. The code of honor was often very strictly observed in feudal times; thus, during the Hundred Years War, when the hostages sent to England in exchange for the release of John II of France escaped, King John felt bound to return to captivity in England. Until the 18th cent., hostages were often exchanged when treaties were concluded.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Dynamic Processes of Crisis Negotiation: Theory, Research, and Practice
Randall G. Rogan; Mitchell R. Hammer; Clinton R. Van Zandt.
Praeger, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Postincident Crisis Counseling for Hostage Negotiators," Chap. 5 "A Three-Dimensional Model of Relationship Development in Hostage Negotiations," Chap. 6 "Processes and Patterns in Hostage Negotiations," and Chap. 7 "Models for Managing Hostage N
The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide
Carl B. Gacono.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 17 "Psychopathy and Hostage Negotiations: Some Preliminary Thoughts and Findings"
Understanding Human Behavior for Effective Police Work
Harold E. Russell; Allan Beigel.
Basic Books, 1990 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Behavioral Aspects of Hostage Situations"
A Contemporary Crisis: Political Hostage-Taking and the Experience of Western Europe
Clive C. Aston.
Greenwood Press, 1982
Political Terrorism and Business: The Threat and Response
Yonah Alexander; Robert A. Kilmarx.
Praeger, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 17 "SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) - The Tactical Link in Hostage Negotiations" and Chap. 18 "Hostage Rescue in a Hostile Environment: Lessons Learned from the Son Tay, Mayaguez, and Entebbe Missions"
On Terrorism and Combating Terrorism
Ariel Merari.
University Publications of America, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Government Policy in Incidents Involving Hostages"
Lying during Crisis Negotiations: A Costly Means to Expedient Resolution
Burke, Frances V., Jr.
Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 1995
Police Psychology into the 21st Century
Martin I. Kurke; Ellen M. Scrivner.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Thirteen "Hostage Negotiations Team Training fro Small Police Departments"
Dictionary of Terrorism
John Richard Thackrah.
Routledge, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Hostage Taking" begins on p. 121
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