Definition[edit | edit source]
|A State may respond with force to a cyber operation that qualifies as an “armed attack” pursuant to the customary right to self-defence, as codified in Article 51 of the UN Charter. Most commentators consider only grave uses of force – typically, those that kill or injure persons or damage or destroy property – to constitute armed attacks.
The United States, however, takes an outlier position, consistently arguing that any illegal use of force gives rise to the use of force in self-defence.
In Nicaragua, the ICJ identified “scale and effects” as criteria upon which to judge whether a use of force constitutes an armed attack. In the Court’s view, only “the most grave” uses of force do so. Thus, only cyber operations that seriously injure or kill a number of persons or cause significant damage to, or destruction of, property would undoubtedly constitute armed attacks.
Appendixes[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v United States of America) (Merits)  ICJ Rep 14, para 95.
- US Department of Defense, Office of the General Counsel, Law of War Manual (June 2015), paras. 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52.
- Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v United States of America) (Merits)  ICJ Rep 14, para 191.
- Tallinn Manual 2.0, commentary to rule 71, para 8.