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Our new Working Paper Societal Risks and Potential Humanitarian Impact of Cyber Operations provides an up-to-date assessment of existing risks and protection needs in light of contemporary and future military cyber capabilities.
Based on two expert workshops and four other consultations with individual experts – held between February and May 2021 – it addresses the following three overarching questions:
‘The expert consultation sought to gain insights from cybersecurity experts from different disciplines and with different backgrounds concerning the current developments of technological, political, and societal trends in the global cybersecurity landscape’ explains Professor Marco Roscini, Swiss IHL Chair at the Geneva Academy.
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Written by Pia Hüsch and Henning Lahmann, the report details in five distinct parts the actors involved in adversarial cyber operations, the methods they use, their objectives, on what the vulnerabilities of the targets depends, and what can be done to strengthen these targets’ resilience against cyber harm.
A sixth concluding part briefly touches upon some of the legal issues raised during the workshops and consultations that merit more in-depth consideration.
‘The main takeaways are that the different actors have become significantly more sophisticated in their attacks, using ever-more intricate methods – often in combination (e.g. a ransomware attack followed by an information operation). It has become more frequent to target entire societies, which is partly a function of increasing vulnerabilities especially in sectors where the digital transformation has been happening too quickly’ explains Henning Lahmann.
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The consultations and this resulting paper lay the factual groundwork for the remainder of our joint initiative with the International Committee of the Red Cross on the digitalization of conflict.
‘We can only conduct an informed legal analysis – as the basis for possible recommendations as to a possible further development of the law – with adequate expert knowledge on recent developments in the global cybersecurity landscape’ underlines Professor Roscini.
‘This paper therefore provides an adequate starting point for our research with the ICRC that addresses one of the most pressing challenges in the law of armed conflict today’ he adds.
Half of the class of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – 26 students – pleaded on 21 May at Villa Moynier on the 2008 South Ossetia armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.
As every year and in the framework of the IHL core course given by Professor Marco Sassòli, twenty students of our LLM in IHL and Human Rights pleaded on the 2014 armed conflict in and around Gaza.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
This short course examines the sources of international humanitarian law and provides an introduction to its key principles and terminology.
This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.
This project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.