The 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions created the primary body of the law of the War (with its foundations in the Oxford 1880 “Manual of Laws and Customs of War”) and India is a signatory thereto. The key principles prescribed therein include principles of ‘distinction’, ‘military necessity’, ‘proportionality’, and ‘unnecessary suffering’. These principles which apply to use of conventional weapons in armed conflicts also apply with equal force to cyber attacks. The ICJ has invoked “the Martens Clause”, as an affirmation that the principles and rules of humanitarian law apply to nuclear weapons.1 Drawing an analogy therefrom, in the absence of explicit norms, the Martens Clause serves as a guide to assess the limits of freedom of action in domain of cyber attacks. The clause provides that-“in cases not included in the [Hague] Regulations. populations and belligerents remain under the protection and empire of the principles of international law, as they result from the usages established between civilised nations, from the laws of humanity and the requirements of the public.”

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