The hostage as a modern lamb to the slaughter : the paradigm of the lawful sacrifice of innocents against the right to life guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights

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Emery, Arnaud
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Hostage takings have been a growing form of terrorism over the last fifty years. Taking someone has a hostage is considered all over the world as one of the most heinous crimes as it exploits human’s most sensible weakness, their need for others, their emotional bonds with other. Taking people as hostages in a standoff aimed at blackmailing a government is also taken as a direct insult to the government. It will be shown that it is often not so much the preservation of the hostages’ lives as the quick elimination of the hostage takers that motivates armed rescue operations launched by governments all over the world. The purpose of this master thesis will be to analyze, after demonstrating the specificity of the modern hostage as a singular and exceptional subject of international law, his status and his right to life as defined and protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It aims at raising awareness and starting a reflection on the importance of the hostage’s life above all other political and national interests.
Second semester University: University of Helsinki.
European Convention on Human Rights - Article 2, European Court of Human Rights, hostages