Justice in Cyberwar


  • Klaus-Gerd Giesen Université d’Auvergne




The text aims at providing an ethical framework for cyber warfare. The latter is changing our understanding of war (and peace) as well as the relationship between the human being and the machine. Rejecting Heidegger’s fatalistic stance towards technology it is argued that norms of international justice should be formulated in order to attempt to regulate this new military dimension. The potentially considerable destructive force of cyberweapon systems for civilian infrastructure is emphasized, especially as far as the “Internet of Things” (all physical objects connected to the Internet) is concerned. In a foreseeable future cyberwar operations may kill many civilians. After defining the concept of cyberwar and explainig why it is a new and important moral issue, the paper heavily relies on just war ethics in order to reach norms for justice in cyberwar. It is shown that Immanuel Kant has not just been a philosopher of (perpetual) peace, but (in the Metaphysics of Morals) also a just war theorist who developed his normative framework in a fruitful dialog with Aquinas (against Vitoria and Suarez). His norms for jus ad bellum and jus in bello are carefully and critically applied to cyberwar. However, Kant’s major innovation in just war theory has been the concept of jus post bellum. The paper demonstrates how important this dimension of justice is in cyberwar, and how to apply it, including through recommendations for a treaty in international law.


Biografia do Autor

Klaus-Gerd Giesen, Université d’Auvergne

Klaus-Gerd Giesen is currently professor of political science at the Université d’Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and has successively been assistant and instructor at the University of Geneva, “privat-docent” at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), adjunct professor and professor at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), as well as professor at the University of Leipzig, Germany, where he was for some time director of the Institute of Political Science.