Although cyber operations present an emerging threat to international peace and security, there is a lack of interstate agreement on the international regulation of cyber operations. One prevailing response is to theoretically extend existing international law to the cyber domain. This paper, however, challenges this existing response. It argues that international law is theoretically limited in regulating the use and conduct of cyber operations. With regards to use, there are limits to prohibiting cyber operations as internationally wrongful acts of a state. Three internationally wrongful acts are examined. These are prohibited “use of force”, as well as violations of the nonintervention and self-determination principles. With respect to conduct, there are limits to constraining the destructive effects of cyber operations through International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The character of cyber warfare and the nature of societies in which cyber warfare is conducted pose unique challenges to the applicability and effectiveness of IHL provisions. In order to address the limitations faced by international law in regulating the use and conduct of cyber operations, this paper concludes by proposing an independent fact-finding body.
How to Cite:
Jiang, Z., 2019. Regulating the Use and Conduct of Cyber Operations through International Law: Challenges and Fact-finding Body Proposal. LSE Law Review, 5, pp.59–88.