International humanitarian law and cyber operations during armed conflicts
[Geneva] : ICRC, November 2019
9 p. ; 30 cm
Submitted to the "Open-ended working group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security" and the "Group of governmental experts on advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security".
In this position paper, the ICRC presents its views on cyber operations and international humanitarian law (IHL). 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 and attribution of conduct in cyberspace for the purposes of State responsibility.