The notion of combatancy in cyber warfare

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The class of combatant constitutes one of the most important instrumentalities of the law of war. Combatant status resolves critical and enduring legal questions such as immunity from prosecution for warlike acts, susceptibility to intentional targeting, and, in part, treatment upon capture. Since the late nineteenth century, codifications of the international law of war have included criteria for combatant status keyed to ensuring desirable battlefield conduct and, to the extent possible, humanity in war. This paper revisits the author's prior work on the topic of combatancy in cyber warfare. Building on recent public revelations concerning state capacity for offensive cyber attacks, as well as new developments in computer network attack, this paper highlights logical and normative shortcomings in current understandings of combatant status in cyberspace. In place of rote reliance on existing criteria intended for the kinetic battlefield, this paper proposes reliance on State affiliation as the sole criterion for evaluating combatant status in cyber warfare between States. An admitted interpretive gloss on current criteria, the proposed framework offers a workable and realistic reconciliation of humanitarian goals and emerging State practice in cyber warfare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012 - Proceedings
StatePublished - Sep 28 2012
Event2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012 - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: Jun 5 2012Jun 8 2012

Publication series

Name2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012 - Proceedings

Other

Other2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012
CountryEstonia
CityTallinn
Period6/5/126/8/12

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Watts, S. (2012). The notion of combatancy in cyber warfare. In 2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012 - Proceedings [6243978] (2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, CYCON 2012 - Proceedings).