The Duty of Due Diligence and Cyber Incitements to Violence

6 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017

See all articles by Sean Watts

Sean Watts

Creighton University School of Law

Date Written: December 6, 2016


This short essay, based on comments delivered at a Touro Law School Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust workshop, explores benefits and costs of an international law duty of due diligence in cyberspace, especially as a response to cyber incitements to violence. A duty on the part of States to prevent harm emanating from cyber infrastructure located on their territory is in some respects attractive. Such a duty might better incentivize responsible management of cyber infrastructure and augment security between States. Moreover, a more refined duty of diligence in cyberspace positions State victims of harm, such as incitements to violence, to resort to countermeasures as a form of self-help in scenarios where full attribution is not feasible. However, the essay cautions that increased availability of self-help, especially in the form of countermeasures, may present its own destabilizing and escalatory consequences.

Keywords: Cyber, Cyberspace, Countermeasures, State Responsibility, Public International Law, Due Diligence, Incitement to Violence, Incitement to Genocide

Suggested Citation

Watts, Sean, The Duty of Due Diligence and Cyber Incitements to Violence (December 6, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Sean Watts (Contact Author)

Creighton University School of Law ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

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