Breakfast Briefing with Jan Lemnitzer

The laws of neutrality in Cyber space: what does ‘due diligence’ mean?

While states agree that the principle of ‘due diligence’ applies in cyber space, it is entirely unclear what that obligation means in practice, especially in the context of cyber conflict, which is often conducted via proxy servers in a variety of jurisdictions. Moreover, the requirements of ‘due diligence’ are often misunderstood by lawyers tracing it to Roman civil law or even modern business practices. In reality, the relevant law here is the law of neutrality as developed in the 19th century and codified in the early 20th century just before the First World War. This presentation will use historical precedents such as the Alabama incident in the American Civil War and the subsequent arbitration to show that disputes over whether a neutral country had fulfilled its duties were not trivial affairs but frequently led to war and international crises. Therefore, lawyers, diplomats, and intelligence chiefs are well advised to consider this question well in advance, instead of complaining that due diligence is too onerous to be applied in cyber space.

About the speaker

Jan Lemnitzer is Assistant Professor at the Center for War Studies, University of Southern Denmark. He holds a PhD in international history (LSE) and was formerly Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War programme, Oxford University. He has published widely on the history of international law, especially regarding the rise and fall of neutral rights. In recent years, he has focused on the field of cyber security, exploring national cyber strategies, the potential of cyber security insurance and the question of neutrality in cyber space.

For participation in this event, please use this registration form no later than 4 March 2020.