Hashtagging Justice: Digital Diplomacy and the International Criminal Court on Twitter

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
David Eichert Doctoral Candidate, London School of Economics London WC2A 2AE UK

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This article uses qualitative content analysis to understand how the International Criminal Court (ICC) uses Twitter by building on digital diplomacy literature to assess the different narratives promoted by the ICC online. I find that the ICC is actively creating narratives that position it as part of a unified global fight for justice with wide political support from states and other international organisations. This kind of public diplomacy is unique among criminal courts, with tweets aimed at bolstering political support from both elite diplomats and non-elite lay publics. At the same time, however, this rebranding effort often oversteps the ICC’s limited jurisdiction, reducing complex legal topics to short, emotionally resonant phrases that fit within Twitter’s restricted format. While the Court still attempts to portray its work as politically neutral and objective, the diplomatic messaging of its Twitter account sends a different message about the Court’s social media agenda.

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