No. 4 of 1993. The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993.
17th February, 1993.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
No. 4 of 1993.
AN ACT to implement the International Convention against
the taking of hostages, and for connected purposes.
[ 18th February, 1993. ]
ENACTED by the Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda as
1. This Act may becitedas theTaking of Hostages Act, 1993. Short title.
2. In this Act- Interpretation.
"The Convention" means the International Convention
against the Talung of Hostages opened for signature at
New Y ork on 18th December, 1979.
3. (1) Subject to subsection (2) a person commits the offence ~ostage-taking.
of hostage-taking who, whether in or outside Antigua and
Barbuda unlawfully seizes or detains any person (in this section
referred to as "the hostage") without his consent, or with his
consent obtained by fraud or duress, with intent to compel the
government of any country or any international inter-govem-
mental organization or any other person to do or abstain from
doing any act as a condition, whether express or implied, for the
release of the hostage.
(2) No person shall he convicted of the offence of hostage-
taking if -
ANTIGUA 2 The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. No. 4 of 1993.
(a ) the act of hostage-taking takes place in Antiguaand
(6) the alleged offender is in Antiguaand Barbuda; and
(c) the alleged offender and the hostage are citizens of
Antigua and Barbuda.
(3) A person who commits the offence of hostage-taking is
liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for fifteen
Offences involv- 4. (1) A person, whatever his nationality who, in Antigua and
ing threats. Barbuda or elsewhere-
(a) detains any other person ("the hostage"); and
(b ) in order to compel a State, international inter-
governmental organisation or person to do or ab-
stain from doing any act, threatens to kill, injure or
continue to detain the hostage;
commits an offence.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this. Act is liable, on
conviclion on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
Prosecution of 5. ( I ) Subject to subsection (2), no proceedings for the trial
offences. and punishment of any person charged with an offence men-
tioned in section 3 shall be instituted in any court except with the
consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
(2) A person charged with an offence referred to in subsection
(1) may be arrested, or a warrant for his arrest may be issued and
executed, and he may be remanded in custody or on bail,
notwithstanding that the consent of the Director of Public
Prosecution to the institution ofa prosecution for the offence has
not been obtained, but no further proceedings shall be taken until
that consent has been obtained.
Evidence. 6. For any purpose in connection with this Act. a certificate
given by the Minister chaged with the responsibility for Exter-
nal Affairs certifying--
(a) that any State is oa is not, or was or was nOb st my
materid time, a party to the Convention; or
No. 4 of 1993. The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. 3 ANTIGUA
(b) that the government of any State is or is not, or was
or was not at any material time, responsible for the
international relations of any territory;
shall be sufficient evidence of that fact.
7. For the purposes of the Extradition Act 1993 no offence to ~ostage-taking
which section 3 applies shall be regarded as an offence of a not tobe regarded
political character and no proceedings in respect of such an
offence shall be regarded as a criminal matter of a political character.
character or as criminal proceedings of a political character.
8. This Act is remedial and shall be given such fair, large and Purposes and
liberal construction and interpretation as best ensures the attain- construction.
ment of the purposes of the Convention the text of which is
contained in the Schedule.
9. The Minister may by notice published in Gazette deter- commencement.
mine the date on which this Act comes into force.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION AGAINST
THE TAKING OF HOSTAGES
The State Parties to the Convention
Having in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations
concerning the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion
of friendly relation and co-operation among States;
Recognising in particular that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security
of person, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
International Convention of Civil and Political Rights;
Reaffirming the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as
enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles
of International Law conccnring friendly Relations and Co-operation among
States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as well as in other
relevant resolutions of dle Gmerd Assembly;
AN-nGUA 4 The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. No. 4 of 1993.
Considering that the taking of hostages is an offence of grave concern to the
international community and that, in accordance with the provisions of this
Convention, any person committing an act of hostage taking shall either be
prosecuted or extradited;
Being convinced that it is urgently necessary to develop international co-
operation between States in devising and adopting effective measures for the
prevention, prosecution and punishment of all acts of taking hostages as manifes-
tations of international terrorism.
Having agreed as follows:
1. Any person who seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injureor to continue
to detain another person (hereinafter referred to as the "hostage") in order to compel
a third party, namely, a State, an international inter-governmental organisation, a
natural or juridical person, or a group of persons to so or abstain from doing any
act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the hostage commits the
offence of taking of hostages ("hostage-taking") within the meaning of this
2. (a) attempts to commit an act of hostage-taking, or
(6) participates as an accomplice of anyone who commits or attemps to
commit an act of hostage taking.
likewise commits an offence for the purposes of this Convention.
Each State Party shall make the offences set forth in article 1 punishable by
appropriate penalties which take into account the grave nature of those offences.
1. The State Party in the territory of which the hostage is held by the offender
shall take all measures it considers appropriate to ease the situation of the hostage
in particular, to secure his release and, after his release, to facilitate, when relevant,
2. If any object which the offender has obtained as a result of h e taking of
hostages comes into the custody of a State Party, that Siate Party shall return it as
soon as possible to the hostage or the third party referred to in arlicle 1, as the case
may be, or to the appropriate authorities thereof.
No. 4 of 1993. The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. 5 ANTIGUA
State Parties shall co-operate in the prevention of the offences set forth in article
1, particularly by:
(a) taking all practicable measures to prevent preparations in their
respective territories for the commission of those offences within or
outside their territories including measures to prohibit in their terri-
tories illegal activities of persons, groups and organisations that
encourage, instigate, organise or engage in the perpetration of acts of
(6) exchange information and co-ordinating the taking of administrative
and other measures as appropriate toprevent the commission of those
1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish
its jurisdiction over any of the offences set forth in article 1 which are committed:
(a) in its territory or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
(h) by any of its national or, if that State considers it appropriate by those
stateless persons who have their habitual residence in its territory;
(c) in order to compel that State to do or abstain from doing any act; or
(d) with respect to a hostage who is national of that State, if that State
considers it appropriate.
2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to
establish its jurisdiction over the offences set forth in Article 1 in cases where the
alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite him to any of
the State mentioned in paragraph 1 of this article.
3. The Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in
accordance with internal law.
1. Upon being satisfied that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in the
territory of which the alleged offender is present shall, in accordance with its laws,
take him into custody or take other measures to ensure his presence for such time
A m G U A 6 The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993.
No. 4 of 1993.
as is necessary to enable any criminal or exuadition proceedings to be instituted.
That State Party shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.
2. The custody or other measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall
be notified without delay directly or through the Secretary-General of the United
(a) the State where the offence was committed;
(b) the State against which compulsion has been directed or attempted;
(c) the State of which the natural or judicial person against whom
compulsion has been directed or attempted is a national;
(d) the State of which the hostage is anational or in the territory of which
he has his habitual residence;
( e ) the State of which the alleged offender is a national or, if he is a
stateless person, in the temtory of which he has his habitual residence;
Cf) the international intergovernmental organisation against which com-
pulsion has been directed or attempted;
(g) all other States concerned.
3. Any person regarding whom the measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this
article are being taken shall be entitled.
(a) to communicate without delay with the nearest appropriate represen-
tative of the State of which he is a national or which is otherwise
entitled to establish such communication or, ifhe is a stateless person,
the State in the territory of which he has his habitual residence;
(b) to be visited by a representative of that State.
4. The rights referred to in paragraph 3 of this article shall be exercised in
conformity with the laws and regulations of the State in the temtory of which the
alleged offender is present subject to the proviso, however, that the said laws and
regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights
accorded under paragraph 3 of this article are intended.
5. The provisions of paragraphs 3 and4 of this art.icle shall be without prejudice
to the right of any State Party having a claim to jurisdiction in accordance with
paragraph 1(b) of article 5 to invite the International Committee of the Red Cross
to communicate with and visit the alleged offender.
NO. 4 of 1993. The Taking of Hostages Act, 199.3. 7 ANTIGUA
6. The State which made the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 1
of this article shall promptly report its findings to the States or organisation referred
to in paragraph 2 of findings to the State or organisation referred to in paragraph
2 of this article and indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.
The State Party where the alleged offender is prosecuted shall in accordance
with its laws communicate the final outcome of the proceedings to the Secretary-
General of the United Nations, who shall transmit the information to the other
States concerned and the international intergovernmental organisations con-
1. The State Party in the territory of which the alleged offender is found shall,
if it does not extradite him, be obligated, committed in its territory, to submit the
case to its competent authorities in accordance with the laws of that State. Those
authorities shall take this decision in the samemanner as in the caseof any ordinary
offence of a grave nature under the law of that State.
2. Any person regarding whom proceedings are being carried out in connection
with any of the offences set forth in Article 1, shall be guaranteed fair treatment
at all stages of the proceedings, including enjoyment of all the rights and
guarantees provided by the law of the State in the territory of which he is present.
1. A request for the extradition of an alleged offender, pursuant to this
Convention, shall not be granted if the requested State Party has substantial
grounds for believing:
(a) that the request for extradition for an offence set forth in Article 1 has
been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on
account of his race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political
(6) that the person's position may be prejudiced:
(i) for any of the reasons mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) of this
(ii) for the reason that communication with him by the appropriate
authorities of the State entitled to exercise rights of protection
cannot be effected.
ANTIGUA 8 The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. No. 4 of 1993.
2. With respect to the offences as defined in this Convention, the provisions of
all extradition treaties and arrangements applicable between States Parties are
modified as between States Parties to the extent that they are incompatible with
1. The offences set forth in Article 1 shall be deemed to be included as
extraditable offences in any extradition treaty existing between States Parties.
States Parties undertake to include such offences in every extradition treaty to be
concluded between them.
2. If a State Party which makes extradition conditional on the existence of a
treaty receives arequest for extradition from another State Party with which it has
no extradition treaty, the requested State may at its option consider this Convention
as the legal basis for extradition in respect of the offences set forth in Article 1.
Extradition shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of the
3. States Parties which do not make extradition conditional on the existence of
a treaty shall recognise the offences set forth in Article 1 as extraditable offences
between themselves to the conditions provided by the law of the requested State.
4. The offences set forth in Article 1 shall be treated, for the purpose of
extradition between States Parties, as if they had been committed not only in the
place which they occured but also in the territories of the States required to
establish their jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 5.
1. States Parties shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in
connection with criminal proceedings brought in respect of the offences set forth
in Article 1, including the supply of all evidence at their disposal necessary for the
2. The provisions of paragraph 1 of this article shall not affect obligations
concerning mutual judicial assistance embodied in any other treaty.
In so far as the Geneva Convention of 1949 for the protection of war victims
or the Additional Protocols to those Conventions are applicable to a particular act
of hostage-taking, and in so far as State Parties to this Convention are bound under
those conventions shall not apply to an act of hostage-taking committed in the
No. 4 of 1993- The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. 9 ANTIGUA
course of armed conflicts as defined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the
Protocols thereto, including armed conflicts mentioned in Article 1, paragraph 4,
of Additional Protocol 1 of 1977, in which peoples are fighting against colonial
domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their
right to self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and
the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations
and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United
This Convention shall not apply where the offence is committed within a single
State, the hostage and the alleged offender are nationals of that State and the
alleged offender is found in the territory of that State.
Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as justifying the violation of the
territorial integrity or political independence of a State in contravention of the
Charter of the United Nations.
The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the application of the Treaties
on Asylum, in force at the date of the adoption of this Convention, as between the
States which are parties of those Treaties; but a State Party to this Convention may
not invoke those Treaties with respect to another State Party to this Convention
which is not a Party to those treaties.
1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation
or application of this Convention which is not settled by negotiation shall, at the
request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If within six months from the
date of the request for arbitration the parties are unable to agree on the organisation
of the arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the dispute to the International
Court of Justice by request in conformity with the State of the Court.
2. Each State may at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention or
accession thereto declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of
this article. The other States Parries shall not be bound by paragraph 1 of this article
with respect "a m y State Party which has made such a reservation.
3, Any State Paty which has made a reservation in accordance with paragraph
ANTIGUA 10 The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. No. 4 of 1993.
2 of this article may at any time withdraw that reservation by notification to the
Secretary-General of the United Nalions.
1. This Convention is open for signature by all states until 31 December, 1980
at the Unitcd Nations Headquarters in New York.
2. This Convention is subject to ratification. The instruments of ratification
shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. This Convention is open for accession by any State. The instruments of
accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date
of deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification or accession with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. For each State ratifying or acceding to the convention after the deposit of the
twenty-second instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter
into force on the thirtieth day after deposit by such State of its instrument of
ratification or accession.
1. Any State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. Denunciation shall take effect one year following the date on which
notification is received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The original of this Convention of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall send certified copies thereof
to all States.
In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorjlsed thereto by their
respective Governments, have signed this Convention, opened for signature at
New York on 18 December, 1979.
No- 4 of 1993. The Taking of Hostages Act, 1993. 11
Passed the House of Representatives Passed the Senate this 1 lth
this 21st day of January, 1993. day of February, 1993.
C. L. Murray,
B. T. Carrott,
L. A. Dowe, L. A. Dowe,
Clerk to the House of Representatives. Clerk fo the Senate.
Printed at the Government Printing Office, Antigua and Barbuda,
by James Adolphus McKenzie Sebastian, Government Printer,
-By Authority, 1993.
800-2.93 [Price $4.701