Conflict classification and cyber operations : gaps, ambiguities and fault lines
David A. Wallace and Christopher W. Jacobs
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University of Pennsylvania journal of international law, Vol. 40, no. 3, 2019, p. 643-693
This article examines whether the conflict classification paradigm for international humanitarian law ("IHL") established by the 1949 Geneva Conventions is adequate to regulate armed conflicts that center, in whole or in part, on cyber operations. The analysis herein, presented in seven parts, answers that question affirmatively, but posits that the advent of cyber operations has exposed certains gaps, ambiguities, and fault lines in IHL's conflict classification framework. After the introduction, part II of the article provides four examples of situations of violence - three of which amount to armed conflicts under IHL and one that does not meet the definitional criteria of armed conflict under IHL. Part III gives an overview of conflict classification under IHL. Parts IV and V examine international and non-international armed conflicts, respectively. Part VI highlights four overraching tensions between IHL's conflict classification and cyber operations.