Hostage Negotiations


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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Hostage Negotiations: Selected full-text books and articles

Dynamic Processes of Crisis Negotiation: Theory, Research, and Practice By Randall G. Rogan; Mitchell R. Hammer; Clinton R. Van Zandt Praeger, 1997
Negotiations: The Use of Strategems in Crisis and Hostage Negotiation By Slatkin, Arthur A Law & Order, Vol. 50, No. 9, September 2002
The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide By 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 By Harold E. Russell; Allan Beigel Basic Books, 1990 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Behavioral Aspects of Hostage Situations"
Hostage Situations in Detention Settings: Planning and Tactical Considerations By Peak, Kenneth J.; Radli, Eric; Pearson, Cecil; Balaam, Darin The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Vol. 77, No. 10, October 2008
Lying during Crisis Negotiations: A Costly Means to Expedient Resolution By Burke, Frances V., Jr Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 14, No. 1, Spring 1995
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Police Psychology into the 21st Century By Martin I. Kurke; Ellen M. Scrivner Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Thirteen "Hostage Negotiations Team Training for Small Police Departments"
Dictionary of Terrorism By John Richard Thackrah Routledge, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Hostage Taking" begins on p. 121
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