Sovereignty and Non-Intervention: The Application of International Law to State Cyberattacks


International law applies to cyber operations ? but views differ on exactly how. Does state-sponsored interference in another state's affairs using cyber means ? for example, disinformation campaigns in elections, disabling government websites, or disrupting transport systems ? breach international law? If so, on what basis and how are the principles of sovereignty and non-intervention relevant? States are increasingly attributing cyber operations to other states and engaging in the debate on how international law applies, including circumstances that would justify countermeasures.

As states meet to debate these issues at the UN, the panel will explore how international law regulates cyberoperations by states, consider the prospects of progress at the UN, and assess the value of other initiatives.

This event coincides with the launch of a Chatham House research paper which analyses how the principles of sovereignty and intervention apply in the context of cyberoperations, and considers a way forward for agreeing a common understanding of cyber norms.

This event will bring together a broad group of actors, including policymakers, the private sector, legal experts and civil society, and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Douglas, Legal Director, GCHQ
Zhixiong Huang, Luojia Chair of International Law, Wuhan University
Harriet Moynihan, Associate Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House

Chair: Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Distinguished Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House

Date and Location

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Chatham House
Address 1: 
10 St James Square
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