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INTERNATIONAL LAW AND CYBER WARFARE

INTERNATIONAL LAW AND CYBER WARFARE

Conspectus

The toolkit of statecraft has many an item in it; war and its related concepts are but one tool in that. Over the centuries, the international law related to war has been divided into two distinct spheres: jus ad bellum (law of war) and jus in bello (law in war). The former deals with the justifications or reasons leading to war while the latter deals with the conduct of war. The practice of the two spheres is not as neat as the distinction. To this confusion of practice, we must add the emerging concept of the fifth-dimension warfare. The fifth-dimension warfare has many related concepts like information warfare, irregular warfare, cyber warfare, grey war, etc. ‘Fifth-dimension warfare’ is preferred by the United States military. It sounds more convincing for the following reasons:

First, the ‘fifth-dimension warfare’ is conceptually more distinct than its related concepts: it clearly distinguishes itself from the first-dimension warfare (the land), the second-dimension warfare (the sea), the third-dimension warfare (the air) and the fourth-dimension warfare (the space).

Secondly, its dimensional description notionally separates it from domestic and national laws.

Thirdly, the US predominately uses the fifth-dimension warfare in its policy documents, but many other jurisdictions opt for using the term cyber warfare. In deference to the international practice, the term ‘cyber warfare’ will be used in this write-up.

Threshold Questions

Building on the concept of cyber warfare and US military’s circumlocution of ‘the fifth-dimension warfare’, it will now be appropriate to elucidate the six threshold questions that have been central to policy debates on the subject:

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About Kamran Adil

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The author is an independent researcher and has done his BCL from the University of Oxford. kamranadil@gmail.com

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