Acts of War? Accountability for Cyberattacks in Ukraine

On March 9th, the Washington Foreign Law Society hosted a webinar on Acts of War? Accountability for Cyberattacks in Ukraine, organized jointly with the Stimson Center. The panel featured Liis Vihul (Cyber Law International), Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade (Johns Hopkins SAIS), and Laurie Blank (Emory Law School), and was moderated by Bruce McConnell (Stimson).

Summary of the event: International law places limitations on States on the use of force, i.e. any action causing death, destruction or injury. International law is clearly being violated currently in Ukraine and gives actors a legal right to response within the framework of international humanitarian law (or ius in bello). Non-belligerent States have been carefully working within the law to use the full toolbox of responses to uphold international law, e.g. UN General Assembly resolutions and sanctions, without resorting to actions that might make a State a party to the conflict and consequently a lawful target. In contrast, human rights laws assign obligations not just to States but also to non-State entities. Organizations like Facebook and Twitter have committed to complying with international human rights law standards, despite a lack of regulatory or legislative guidance. There is a lack of precedent here and a fear (by States and organizations) of establishing a legal infrastructure that is not fully thought out (for example: could servers be considered lawful targets?), and lawyers need to thoroughly understand their clients’ businesses. Another discussion of cyber operations and international law is needed!

Resources discussed during the event:

The Washington Foreign Law Society wishes to thank the panelists for their time and contributions.

 

Posted March 9, 2022 in: General News