Cyber-Warfare and the Relevance of International Humanitarian Law

Tanisha Das and Sweta Mohanty
KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Volume III – Issue II, 2021

When Syria was attacked by the United States, United Kingdom and France to punish its government for alleged utilization of chemical Weapons, there was a grave concern about possible retaliation but on a different battleground. Although there have been no special reports of “Cyber-Attacks” specifically designed as a retribution to against the coalition that struck china but Syria’s patron, Russia and Iran are the worlds most advanced practitioners of Cyber-Warfare or state sponsored attacks and other myriad activities that they guide. What are these “Cyber-Attacks”? What law regulated these attacks? Do the principles of international humanitarian law apply? If not, what are the forums which resolve the disputes? This article examines these questions and, in process, gives insights on how the existing law may be applied — amended and adapted to solve the new threats posed by “Cyber-Attacks”. This article clarifies the what Cyber-Attacks are and how they are related to the law of war, international efforts that may be used to indirectly control these attacks. Secondly, this article shows how the present laws is deficient and what can be done to improve it. Although the present bodies of law offer some method of resolution but still it lacks relevancy in growing techno-driven world. This article thus also outlines the important aspect of a Cyber-Treaty that would provide a more comprehensive legal framework to address the robust threat of “Cyber-Attacks”.

Keywords: Cyber-Attacks, Cyber-Warfare, Cyber Weapons.


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