Classification of Cyber Conflict   [open pdf - 361KB]

"Few international humanitarian law topics are proving as problematic in modern warfare as 'classification of conflict,' that is, the identification of the type of conflict to which particular hostilities amount as a matter of law. Classifying the conflict in question is always the first step in any inter-national humanitarian law analysis, for the nature of the conflict determines the applicable legal regime. Accordingly, classification is a subject of seminal importance. The current difficulties derive from the advent of hostilities over the past two decades that do not neatly fit the traditional bifurcation of conflict into either State-on-State or purely internal. For instance, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) struggled with criteria for internationalization of non-international conflict in its first case, 'Tadić'. Less than a decade later, transnational terrorism refocused attention on classification issues. Was such terrorism international in character because it transcended borders or non-international because it did not involve the forces of one State engaging in hostilities against those of another (or was it even armed conflict at all)? More recently, external recognition of the National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya raised the question of whether such recognition 'de-internationalized' the conflict between the States that were fighting on the side of the rebels and Qaddafi's forces. In the future, cyber warfare will further complicate classification. Cyber operations have the potential for producing vast societal and economic disruption without causing the physical damage typically associated with armed conflict."

Author:Schmitt, Michael N.
Publisher:Naval War College (U.S.). International Law Studies
Copyright:2013 Naval War College International Law Studies. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
Retrieved From:U.S. Naval War College: http://www.usnwc.edu/
Media Type:application/pdf
Source:Naval War College International Law Studies (2013), v. 89, p. 233-251
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