Breach of an international obligation

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Definition[edit | edit source]

Breach of an international obligation
Breach of an international obligation.svg
The second element of an internationally wrongful act is conduct amounting to a breach of an international obligation owed by the relevant entity.[1] In this regard, it is undisputed that a cyber-related action or omission by a State may constitute a breach of its international obligations.[2] International obligations arise from primary rules of international law:[3] international treaties, customary international law, and general principles of law.[4] Fault, such as intent or negligence on part of the wrongdoing State, is not a necessary element of a breach of an international obligation, unless there exists such a requirement in the relevant primary rule.[5] Similarly, there is no general requirement for the injured party to have suffered any damage—again, unless such a requirement forms part of the primary obligation in question.[6]

It is impossible to provide a list of all international obligations that may be violated by resort to cyber means. However, certain rules appear with higher frequency than others. These include the prohibition on the use of force; the prohibition of intervention; the obligation to respect the sovereignty of other States; the obligation to respect the right to privacy; the obligation of due diligence; and a few others (such as, for instance, the rule of distinction in the context of the law of armed conflict).

Appendixes[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. Cf. Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 2(b).
  2. For a detailed discussion of a breach of an international obligation by a cyber-related act, see rule 14 of Tallinn Manual 2.0 and commentary 2–11 thereto.
  3. Articles on State Responsibility, General commentary, para. 1.
  4. Statute of the International Court of Justice, of 26 June 1945, annexed to the UN Charter, Art 38(1)(a)–(c).
  5. Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 2, para. 10.
  6. Articles on State Responsibility, Art. 2, para. 9.

Bibliography and further reading[edit | edit source]