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persons illegally taken into custody by belligerents in order to avert the resistance of the population of an occupied territory. As a rule, hostages are taken from among persons who are not participating directly in military operations.

The Geneva Convention of Aug. 12, 1949, On the Protection of Civilians in Wartime, prohibits the taking of hostages, noting that this rule is included among the minimum provisions binding upon all belligerents. In its list of persons who may not be taken as hostages under any circumstances the Geneva convention includes—in addition to civilians—members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those who, as a result of illness, wounds, or detention, have ceased to participate in military operations.

The Geneva convention’s provisions concerning hostages must be applied also to the participants of national liberation movements.

References in periodicals archive ?
Police then stormed the bank and arrested him, freeing the last two of the initial four hostages he had taken.
According to the police, negotiations are still under way with the hostage-taker, who could be holding at least two more hostages.
The hostages were recovered by soldiers at La Purisima, said Prosperidad Mayor Alvin Magdamit.
All of the hostages were released unharmed after about five hours.
After that they got out of their cell they took five additional hostages from the ISF.
Mendoza had previously released nine of the hostages, including a mother and her three children, a man with diabetes and two photographers.
23, 2010, SPA -- A bank robber armed with hand grenades and a gun surrendered to police after holding more than 15 people hostage inside the bank Monday, authorities said.
Negotiators were talking with him to convince him to free the remaining hostages.
We know only that late last night we received the bodies of two hostages," he said.
According to the AP, the British Embassy confirmed it had received a tape of one of the British hostages.
He insisted that making payments in return for the release of hostages would only encourage further incidents.
We are demanding the immediate release of the hostages.