What Lawyers Want: Legally Significant Questions that Only IT Specialists can Answer

What Lawyers Want: Legally Significant Questions that Only IT Specialists can Answer

Yaroslav Radziwill (University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/ijcwt.2013100106
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During the last decade international lawyers and IT specialists are brought together to conferences on issues of cyber-security. With various topics covered from such different perspectives, a clash of educations occurs. Lawyers are rarely able to understand the deep technological discussions, while legal presentations might seem too philosophical for the IT professionals, leaving them wondering, what do lawyers want and why. In this environment legal questions that cannot be answered without the deep technological knowledge possessed by the computer experts, should be formulated carefully and very precisely. Therefore, with emphasis on the jus in bello, this article aims to outline a list of issues that inevitably require joint lawyer-IT specialists dialogue and explain their significance from the point of view of international law. These issues include possibilities for digital “marking” of internationally protected objects online required under the existing humanitarian law, developing a “distinctive sign” for cyber-combatants, forewarning the enemy of incoming attacks (“carrying arms visibly”) and re-evaluating the concept of “vicinity” to dangerous installations in the context of cyber-space.
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3. Technical Question 1: How To Mark Medical Transport?

International humanitarian law creates an obligation to mark air- and seaborne medical transport with distinctive emblems or in special cases to use distinctive signals in order to guarantee their adequate protection. Since long-distance cyber-attacks are conducted in an isolated fifth dimension of warfare (cyberspace), visual contact with the attacked physical object may be lacking (unless conducted as part of a bigger operation with reconnaissance units or satellites). That raises the question how to “mark” the computers of medical transport online in order to inform the attacker of their special status, as well as to ensure its respect (Melzer, 2011).

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