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|[[File:Countermeasures.svg|alt=|left|frameless|200x200px]]Countermeasures are “measures that would otherwise be contrary to the international obligations of an injured State vis-à-vis the responsible State, if they were not taken by the former in response to an internationally wrongful act by the latter in order to procure cessation and reparation”.<ref>ILC [http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/commentaries/9_6_2001.pdf Articles on State Responsibility], Commentary, part 3 ch 2 at para 1.</ref> Several States, including Austria,<ref>Austria, [https://front.un-arm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/comments-by-austria.pdf Pre-Draft Report of the OEWG - ICT: Comments by Austria] (31 March 2020), stating that ‘a violation of the principle of State sovereignty constitutes an internationally wrongful act – if attributable to a State – for which a target State may seek reparation under the law of State responsibility. ''A target State may also react through proportionate countermeasures.''’ (emphasis added).</ref> Estonia,<ref>Estonia, [https://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/15241-president-of-the-republic-at-the-opening-of-cycon-2019/index.html ‘President of the Republic at the opening of CyCon 2019’] (29 May 2019), stating that “states have the right to react to malicious cyber operations, including using diplomatic response but also countermeasures”</ref> France,<ref>French Ministry of the Armies, ‘[https://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/567648/9770527/file/international+law+applied+to+operations+in+cyberspace.pdf International Law Applied to Operations in Cyberspace]’ (9 September 2019) 6, stating that ‘In response to a cyberattack, France may consider diplomatic responses to certain incidents, countermeasures, or even coercive action by the armed forces if an attack constitutes armed aggression.’</ref> Germany,<ref>Germany, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-germany-72-dmis.pdf Statement by Ambassador Dr Thomas Fitschen, Director for the United Nations, Cyber Foreign Policy and Counter-Terrorism, Federal Foreign Office of Germany]’ (November 2018) 3, stating that ‘in case of a cyber operation that is in breach of an international legal obligation below the level of the use or threat of force prohibited by Art. 2 (IV) [of the UN Charter] States are also entitled to take countermeasures as allowed by international law.’</ref> Japan,<ref>Japan, ‘[https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/japan-position-paper-for-oewg-report.pdf Japan’s Position Paper for the Report of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security”]’ (undated), stating that ‘Japan recognizes that basic rules on State responsibility including those on countermeasures applies to cyberspace.’</ref> the Netherlands,<ref>Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘[https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-foreign-affairs/documents/parliamentary-documents/2019/09/26/letter-to-the-parliament-on-the-international-legal-order-in-cyberspace Letter to the parliament on the international legal order in cyberspace]’ (5 July 2019) 7.</ref> the United Kingdom,<ref>United Kingdom, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-72-dmis.pdf Statement on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security to the 72nd UNGA First Committee]’ (23 October 2017), stating that ‘We reaffirm that the law of state responsibility applies to cyber operations in peacetime, including the availability of the doctrine of countermeasures in response to internationally wrongful acts.’</ref> and the United States,<ref>Brian J. Egan, ‘[https://2009-2017.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/264303.htm Remarks on International Law and Stability in Cyberspace]’ (10 November 2016), stating that countermeasures are available ‘to address malicious cyber activity’ if that activity amounts to a prior internationally wrongful act attributable to another State.</ref> have expressly confirmed the applicability of the law of countermeasures to cyber operations. Others, including Brazil,<ref>Brazil, ‘[https://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/23732344/brazil-5d-11-feb.pdf Open-ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security: Second Substantive Session - New York, 11 February 2020: Statement by the Delegation of Brazil]’ (11 February 2020), stating that ‘In the case of malicious acts in cyberspace, it is often difficult to attribute responsibility to a particular State or actor with unqualified certainty. A decision to resort to countermeasures in response to such acts carries a high risk of targeting innocent actors, and of triggering escalation.’</ref> China,<ref>China, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-china-72-dmis.pdf Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Debate of the First Committee of the 72th UNGA]’ (October 2017), stating that ‘Countries should discuss application of international law in the manner conducive to maintain peace, avoid introducing force, deterrence and countermeasures into cyberspace, so as to prevent arms race in cyberspace and reduce risks of confrontation and conflicts.’</ref> and Cuba,<ref>Cuba, ‘[https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Cuban-Expert-Declaration.pdf Declaration by Miguel Rodríguez, Representative of Cuba, at the Final Session of Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security]’ (23 June 2017), registering ‘''serious concern over the pretension'' of some, reflected in para 34 of the draft final report, to convert cyberspace into a theater of military operations and ''to legitimize'', in that context, unilateral punitive force actions, including ''the application of sanctions'' and even military action ''by States claiming to be victims of illicit uses of ICTs.''’ (emphasis added).</ref> have expressed caution in this regard. Countermeasures should be distinguished from [[Retorsion|retorsions]], which are unfriendly but lawful acts by the aggrieved party against the wrongdoer.
 
|[[File:Countermeasures.svg|alt=|left|frameless|200x200px]]Countermeasures are “measures that would otherwise be contrary to the international obligations of an injured State vis-à-vis the responsible State, if they were not taken by the former in response to an internationally wrongful act by the latter in order to procure cessation and reparation”.<ref>ILC [http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/commentaries/9_6_2001.pdf Articles on State Responsibility], Commentary, part 3 ch 2 at para 1.</ref> Several States, including Austria,<ref>Austria, [https://front.un-arm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/comments-by-austria.pdf Pre-Draft Report of the OEWG - ICT: Comments by Austria] (31 March 2020), stating that ‘a violation of the principle of State sovereignty constitutes an internationally wrongful act – if attributable to a State – for which a target State may seek reparation under the law of State responsibility. ''A target State may also react through proportionate countermeasures.''’ (emphasis added).</ref> Estonia,<ref>Estonia, [https://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/15241-president-of-the-republic-at-the-opening-of-cycon-2019/index.html ‘President of the Republic at the opening of CyCon 2019’] (29 May 2019), stating that “states have the right to react to malicious cyber operations, including using diplomatic response but also countermeasures”</ref> France,<ref>French Ministry of the Armies, ‘[https://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/567648/9770527/file/international+law+applied+to+operations+in+cyberspace.pdf International Law Applied to Operations in Cyberspace]’ (9 September 2019) 6, stating that ‘In response to a cyberattack, France may consider diplomatic responses to certain incidents, countermeasures, or even coercive action by the armed forces if an attack constitutes armed aggression.’</ref> Germany,<ref>Germany, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-germany-72-dmis.pdf Statement by Ambassador Dr Thomas Fitschen, Director for the United Nations, Cyber Foreign Policy and Counter-Terrorism, Federal Foreign Office of Germany]’ (November 2018) 3, stating that ‘in case of a cyber operation that is in breach of an international legal obligation below the level of the use or threat of force prohibited by Art. 2 (IV) [of the UN Charter] States are also entitled to take countermeasures as allowed by international law.’</ref> Japan,<ref>Japan, ‘[https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/japan-position-paper-for-oewg-report.pdf Japan’s Position Paper for the Report of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security”]’ (undated), stating that ‘Japan recognizes that basic rules on State responsibility including those on countermeasures applies to cyberspace.’</ref> the Netherlands,<ref>Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘[https://www.government.nl/ministries/ministry-of-foreign-affairs/documents/parliamentary-documents/2019/09/26/letter-to-the-parliament-on-the-international-legal-order-in-cyberspace Letter to the parliament on the international legal order in cyberspace]’ (5 July 2019) 7.</ref> the United Kingdom,<ref>United Kingdom, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-united-kingdom-of-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-72-dmis.pdf Statement on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security to the 72nd UNGA First Committee]’ (23 October 2017), stating that ‘We reaffirm that the law of state responsibility applies to cyber operations in peacetime, including the availability of the doctrine of countermeasures in response to internationally wrongful acts.’</ref> and the United States,<ref>Brian J. Egan, ‘[https://2009-2017.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/264303.htm Remarks on International Law and Stability in Cyberspace]’ (10 November 2016), stating that countermeasures are available ‘to address malicious cyber activity’ if that activity amounts to a prior internationally wrongful act attributable to another State.</ref> have expressly confirmed the applicability of the law of countermeasures to cyber operations. Others, including Brazil,<ref>Brazil, ‘[https://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/23732344/brazil-5d-11-feb.pdf Open-ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security: Second Substantive Session - New York, 11 February 2020: Statement by the Delegation of Brazil]’ (11 February 2020), stating that ‘In the case of malicious acts in cyberspace, it is often difficult to attribute responsibility to a particular State or actor with unqualified certainty. A decision to resort to countermeasures in response to such acts carries a high risk of targeting innocent actors, and of triggering escalation.’</ref> China,<ref>China, ‘[https://www.un.org/disarmament/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/statement-by-china-72-dmis.pdf Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Debate of the First Committee of the 72th UNGA]’ (October 2017), stating that ‘Countries should discuss application of international law in the manner conducive to maintain peace, avoid introducing force, deterrence and countermeasures into cyberspace, so as to prevent arms race in cyberspace and reduce risks of confrontation and conflicts.’</ref> and Cuba,<ref>Cuba, ‘[https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Cuban-Expert-Declaration.pdf Declaration by Miguel Rodríguez, Representative of Cuba, at the Final Session of Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security]’ (23 June 2017), registering ‘''serious concern over the pretension'' of some, reflected in para 34 of the draft final report, to convert cyberspace into a theater of military operations and ''to legitimize'', in that context, unilateral punitive force actions, including ''the application of sanctions'' and even military action ''by States claiming to be victims of illicit uses of ICTs.''’ (emphasis added).</ref> have expressed caution in this regard. Countermeasures should be distinguished from [[Retorsion|retorsions]], which are unfriendly but lawful acts by the aggrieved party against the wrongdoer.

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