Can mouse clicking be seen as involvement in armed conflict? Some notes on the direct participation in hostilities in cyberspace

Tomasz Lewandowski
2013 Przegląd Prawniczy Uniwersytetu im Adama Mickiewicza  
The history of the conduct of hostilities is tightly related with technological development. Over the centuries man has looked for more effective methods which could help him overwhelm his enemies without taking too many losses. Military technologies are particularly designed to put the man out of the loop. This is why gunpowder, sniper rifles, dynamite, rockets, torpedoes were invented. This is also how drones and robotics are developed. Contemporary armed conflicts rely greatly on new
more » ... atly on new technologies which enable the participation of hostilities from a distance even by eliminating the human factor outside of the real battlefield. This phenomenon causes a lot of risks for the potential victims of modern armed conflicts. It also creates difficulties with the effective implementation of the international humanitarian law of armed conflicts (IHL) which was designed due to the collision between the art of warfare and issues of dignity and human compassion. IHL is based on two groups of laws -the Geneva law and the Hague law. The first seeks to protect the victims of armed conflicts mainly civilians, while the latter provides guidelines on the conduct of hostilities mainly by the means and methods of warfare. The main foundation of this branch of international law is to distinguish persons who are legitimate, allowed to participate in hostilities and therefore permitted to being attacked and killed from those who are protected against attack and who therefore should not be taking a part in hostilities. Simply IHL is based on the differentiation between combatants and civilians. Civilians as all persons who are not members of the armed forces or party to the conflict nor participants are the most protected group of persons protected under IHL. Again the history of warfare shows that the role civilians play in it is increasing rapidly. Moreover, it often takes the form of direct participation. Traditionally, direct participation in hostilities was associated with situation of civilians actually fighting against the enemy using similar methods as combatants. However, the new perspective of di-
doi:10.14746/ppuam.2013.2.14 fatcat:3ejaerhihnfzhfzb5vov23b2dm