European Foreign Affairs Review

Volume 24 (2019)

Volume 24 (2019) / Issue 2

François Delerue, 'International Cooperation on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations' (2019) 24 European Foreign Affairs Review, Issue 2, pp. 203–216


International law, and in particular the Charter of the United Nations, are the backbone of international relations and are crucial for maintaining international peace and security. From this perspective, it is important to note that the applicability of international law to cyberspace and cyber operations has been a matter of controversy. There are two main challenges in this regard: on the one hand, given the unique characteristics of cyberspace, interpreting the application of the norms of international law to cyber operations may require a certain level of adaptation, not transformation. On the other hand, the subjects of international law, and particularly States, may have different if not divergent interpretations of certain specific norms of international law. This article aims at outlining the major international processes and initiatives dealing with the question of application of international law to cyberspace and cyber operations. This article shows the specific situation of the European Union and its Member States in these processes. It focuses first on the cooperation at the multilateral level, and mainly within the United Nations. The second part highlights the diversity of States’ approaches on these questions. Finally, the two last parts exposes the growing involvement of non-state actors, notably major companies and the academic community.

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ISSN: 1384-6299
ID: EERR2019013