JEAIL > Volume 16(1); 2023 > Regional Focus & Controversies
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2023

Is a Threat to Destroy Cultural Heritage a Violation of International Law? Tweet Diplomacy and Gaps in Cultural Property Protection

Eric Yong Joong Lee & Ramya Ramachanderan
Dongguk University-Seoul
30 Pildong-ro 1-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620 Korea.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( University Law School, 100 Inharo, Michuhol-gu, Incheon 22212 Korea. / nses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

On January 4, 2020, the official Twitter account of the former US President Trump threatens to target Iran’s cultural heritage sites conditioned on any Iranian retaliation on US military forces then stationed in the Middle East. The immediate context was that the US-led drone strike had killed Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq (Baghdad) only two days prior. This study critically analyzes whether “Tweets” uploaded to President Trump’s Twitter account could reasonably be construed as a type of harm against international law instruments and framework on the safeguarding of cultural heritage. This paper provides a brief contextual overview of President Trump’s Tweets; traces the historical destruction of cultural property during conflicts and discusses the preservation of heritage; delineates international laws and assesses whether President Trump and the US might be legally bound to refrain from threats to destroy cultural property; and examines the increasing role of social media in the evolution of the idea of diplomacy.

Keywords : Tweet Diplomacy, Cultural Property, President Trump, General Qasem Soleimani, The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property

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