Extraterritorial Application

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part II

Part I of this series examined attribution as the first element of cyber election interference as an internationally wrongful act, and then looked at the prohibition of intervention as a possible primary rule that such interference can breach. Now, in Part II, I will examine the possible breaches of the obligation to respect sovereignty and of international human rights law. Obligation to Respect Sovereignty Foreign activities in cyberspace might also violate the rule of sovereignty. Before discussing how, it must be cautioned that one state, the United Kingdom, has rejected the proposition that cyber activities can amount to a violation of sovereignty, relying instead on the rule of intervention to serve as the bulwark against foreign election interference. However, that stance, which has been discussed in depth elsewhere (see, e.g., here and here), has not been adopted by any other state. On the contrary, a growing number of states, including France,  the Netherlands, Germany,…

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part I

With US elections looming, it is a propitious moment to examine the international law rules bearing on foreign interference in this fundamental expression of democracy. Sadly, little appears to have changed since the US intelligence community concluded with a “high degree of confidence” that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed…

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The Netherlands’ inter-State application against Russia six years after MH 17

Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down in July 2014 over the territory of Eastern Ukraine, killing 298 persons. On 10 July 2020, almost exactly six years later, the Dutch government lodged an inter-State application against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, the Court) under Article 33 ECHR,…

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Cyber Operations against Vaccine R & D: Key International Law Prohibitions and Obligations

By August, COVID-19 had killed 700,000 people world-wide, while at least 18 million have been infected by the virus. It now appears that the best hope for battling the pandemic may lie in multiple vaccines. This reality has sparked vaccine nationalism, as states compete for the supplies that hopefully will become available early next year. For…

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Attribution, Jurisdiction, Discrimination, Decapitation: A Comment on Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary

You know how, every once in a while, you read a case that has everything? I mean really everything? Great facts. Grisly facts even, for those so inclined – say involving a beheading by a state agent. Great law. Not just some genuine legal innovation worthy of scholarly commentary – that’s fine obviously, but not all that uncommon.

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