On Sunday, Human Rights Watch condemned the president’s latest threat to Iran’s culture sites.
"President Trump should publicly reverse his threats against Iran’s cultural property and make clear that he will not authorize nor order war crimes," said Andrea Prasow, acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch. "The US Defense Department should publicly reaffirm its commitment to abide by the laws of war and comply only with lawful military orders."
“Trump’s threat to attack Iran’s cultural heritage shows his callous disregard for the global rule of law. Whether refusing to condemn the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi or pardoning convicted war criminals, Trump has shown little respect for human rights as part of US foreign policy,” she added.
Targeting cultural sites with military action is considered a war crime under international law, including a UN Security Council resolution supported by the Trump administration in 2017 and the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.
US President Donald Trump had threatened that the United States will target 52 sensitive cultural sites of the Islamic Republic of Iran in case Iran carried out its promised revenge over the U.S. assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.
the Hague Convention of 1907 states that in times of war, “all necessary steps must be taken” to spare “buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected”.
The Geneva Convention Protocol I, signed in 1949, also states that “any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples” would be illegal.
Under U.S. federal law, violating these international conventions would constitute a war crime, and anyone who violates them could be imprisoned or, if death results from their actions, could even be sentenced to death. ■
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