Culture is a crucial part of a society’s identity and history. Under international humanitarian law, cultural property is to be protected and respected during times of war. In contemporary conflict, non-state actors (in particular) have purposely targeted and destroyed cultural property of a defeated people in order to undermine the sense of cultural identity. This is both reprehensible and unlawful under prevailing customary international law.
Following on from the very successful conference on Protecting Cultural Property in Armed Conflict: Obligations in War and Peace, co-hosted by Adelaide Law School’s Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics and Australian Red Cross on 7 and 8 December 2016, Professor Dale Stephens has co-authored an opinion piece with Australian Red Cross’ Tara Gutman. The piece entitled ‘Destruction of Mosul’s Great Mosque holds a heritage lesson for Australia’ was published in The Guardian on 30 June 2017 and can be accessed here.