International Humanitarian Law and Cyber Operations during Armed Conflicts

In this position paper, the ICRC presents its views on cyber operations and international humanitarian law (IHL).

28 November 2019
International Humanitarian Law and Cyber Operations during Armed Conflicts

 

The use of cyber operations during armed conflicts is a reality. While only a few States have publicly acknowledged using such operations, an increasing number of States are developing military cyber capabilities, and their use is likely to increase in future. In recent years, cyber operations have shown that they can seriously affect civilian infrastructure and might result in human harm.

This position paper focusses on:

  • The potential human cost of cyber operations
  • The application of IHL to cyber operations during armed conflicts
  • The protection afforded by existing IHL
  • The need to discuss how IHL applies
  • Attribution of conduct in cyberspace for the purposes of State responsibility

 

IHL and Cyber Operations during Armed Conflicts - ICRC position paper