Discerning the Rules: The application of international law to state cyberattacks


Currently, the majority of state sponsored cyberattacks have involved low-profile interferences in foreign states’ affairs. They also take place within or at least are effectuated by cyberspace, an area of contested jurisdiction, but traditionally thought to fall outside of the areas of national jurisdiction. These acts are generally not regarded as illegal uses of force under current international law. However, there is no comprehensive multilateral convention addressing these activities, so their exact legality is open to debate. Perhaps because the likelihood of reaching a multinational agreement in this emerging area of law is low, an impressive number of international law actors have recognized the application of existing international law rules to cyber operations.

Join the American Society of International Law for an informative discussion of how existing international law regimes might address these specific issues, using real world examples of state-sponsored cyber operations to identify concrete state practice and patterns that may be emerging.


  • Arturo J. Carrillo, George Washington University Law School (Moderator)
  • Gary Corn, American University Washington College of Law & R Street Institute
  • Jonathan Horowitz, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Melanie W. Sisson, Stimson Center
  • More speakers to be announced!

This session is part of the Society’s “Beyond National Jurisdiction: Cyberspace” signature topic and is co-sponsored by the Technology, Law, & Security (TLS) Program, American University Washington College of Law.

Date and Location

Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
American Society of International Law
Address 1: 
2223 Massachusetts Avenue NW
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