Practice Relating to Rule 96. Hostage-Taking
France’s Disciplinary Regulations (1975), as amended, prohibits hostage-taking.
France’s LOAC Summary Note (1992) states that the taking of hostages is a war crime under the law of armed conflict.
France’s LOAC Teaching Note (2000) provides that neither prisoners of war nor any protected persons shall be used as hostages and that hostage-taking is a violation of the laws of armed conflict.
France’s LOAC Manual (2001) provides that hostage-taking is a war crime. It adds that hostage-taking is expressly prohibited by the law of armed conflict and has been considered a war crime since 1949.
The manual also states that one of the three main principles common to IHL and human rights is the principle of security, which prohibits the taking of hostages.
According to the Report on the Practice of France, hostage-taking is inadmissible. This entails refusing any distinction as to its object, to forbid such behaviour and to refuse any condition to obtain the liberation of hostages. According to the report, diplomatic, UN and NGO personnel are particularly concerned.
In 2009, the President of the French Republic stated:
In Sri Lanka … France has endeavoured to ensure that the civilian population is no longer being held hostage.
… No country has the right to take its people hostage.