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Durham e-Theses
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Characterisation of Cyber Armed Conflicts

SHIN, SOHYUN (2019) Characterisation of Cyber Armed Conflicts. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The revolutionary adoption of computer technology to the means and methods of armed conflict, along with the rapid pace of information technology development, has raised great concerns about how best to deal legally with this new phenomenon. One of the most fundamental concerns is how to characterise cyber armed conflict within the context of international law. Therefore, this thesis aims to discuss how to characterise conflicts occurring in and through cyberspace in terms of jus in bello in order to legally regulate these events. The thesis addresses three separate types of categorisation: ‘actors’ and ‘intensity’, which are based on the existing definition of kinetic armed conflict, and ‘geography’, which is a particularly difficult issue within characterisation.
After examining the legal nature of armed conflict, chapter 3 addresses international cyber armed conflict from the angle of ‘actors’ in classification. Drawing examples from the cyber armed forces established in several states, the chapter looks at how to identify irregular armed forces in cyberspace in terms of international humanitarian law (IHL).
Chapter 4 deals with non-international cyber armed conflict which consists of ‘organised armed group’ as one party to the conflict in terms of ‘actors’ and the ‘intensity’ criterion. While the concept of organised armed group is comparatively well-established, the meaning of ‘organisation’ and ‘armed’ in the cyber context should be reconsidered. Bearing in mind that the assessment standards for intensity have not yet been definitively established even in kinetic armed conflicts, the process of assessing the intensity of cyber armed conflict is also examined.
Chapter 5 addresses the geographical issues surrounding cyber armed conflict. Given the physically borderless nature of cyberspace, current IHL rules are not a good fit for characterising cyber armed conflict. To respond to these issues, the chapter analyses whether the existing bifurcated structure of characterisation (IAC and NIAC) can be sustained or a new third type of transnational armed conflict is required. Criticising the relevant theory of ‘zone of hostilities’, the author concludes that characterisation of cyber armed conflict should be approached on a non-geographical basis.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 Aug 2019 09:08

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