This article discusses the interpretation of international humanitarian law in relation to cyber warfare. The author examines when a cyber attack can be qualified as an attack under ius in bello, that is in the course of an international armed conflict. The main question is whether cyber attacks with non-kinetic outcomes can still be qualified as an armed attack under IHL. Applying the effects-based approach the author argues, in line with the view of a number of scholars, that a non-kinetic cyber operation which indirectly facilitates kinetic outcomes will qualify as an armed attack under ius in bello. A group of experts that drafted the Tallinn Manual on the applicability of international law came to the same conclusion. The article further discusses, applying the principles of distinction and proportionality, dual-use objects and their qualification as military or civilian objects. Despite the risk of being indiscriminate, cyber attacks could also lead to less collateral damage.
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