Armed Attack in Cyberspace: Clarifying and Assessing When Cyber-Attacks Trigger the Netherlands’ Right of Self-Defence

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2021-29

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2021-09

32 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2021 Last revised: 12 Oct 2021

See all articles by Ferry Oorsprong

Ferry Oorsprong

Netherlands Defence Academy - Faculty of Military Sciences

P.A.L. Ducheine

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Peter B.M.J. Pijpers

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: October 1, 2021

Abstract

Whilst Article 51 of the UN Charter indicates that an ‘armed attack’ may trigger a State’s inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, the purport of armed attack remains a matter of interpretation and qualification. Moreover, actions carried out in (or through) cyberspace have caused the impetus for another debate: whether and when cyber-attacks can qualify as an armed attack. To improve the notion of self-defence and contribute to the jus ad bellum (international law on the use of transnational force), more clarification as to what constitutes an armed attack in cyberspace is necessary. The main aim of the paper is to propose a tangible guideline that outlines when cyber-attacks – perpetrated solely in or through cyberspace and not in conjunction with conventional military attacks – reach the threshold of an armed attack.

Keywords: Armed Attack, Threshold, Cyberspace, Article 51 UN Charter, Scale and Effect, Cyber-attack, Policy

JEL Classification: K33, K40, F51, F52, N40

Suggested Citation

Oorsprong, Ferry and Ducheine, P.A.L. and Pijpers, Peter, Armed Attack in Cyberspace: Clarifying and Assessing When Cyber-Attacks Trigger the Netherlands’ Right of Self-Defence (October 1, 2021). Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2021-29, Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2021-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3934417 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3934417

Ferry Oorsprong

Netherlands Defence Academy - Faculty of Military Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 90002
Breda, 4800 PA
Netherlands

P.A.L. Ducheine

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

Peter Pijpers (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://acil.uva.nl/staff/external-researchers/external-researchers.html

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
357
Abstract Views
1,256
Rank
127,377
PlumX Metrics