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Peaceful Settlement of Interstate Online Disputes

This paper covers the existing international law toolbox on peaceful settlement of disputes and its application to online conflicts. It reiterates the existing measures of diplomatic and judicial measures to address differing positions of states and non-state actors as well as their applicability for the unique online environment.

International law has always had the preservation of peace as its primary purpose (Shaw 2008, p. 1010). This objective can be clearly identified across the history of international relations as they evolved into international law. It has also been reflected in the United Nations Charter, according to which all states are under a direct and explicit obligation to settle their disputes peacefully. This guiding principle of international law is aimed at preserving peace and international security alongside ensuring international justice, should these fall into peril from unilateral armed attacks or multilateral aggression.
While all interstate disputes fall within the ambit of states’ duty to solve them amicably, the United Nations Charter Chapter VI introduces additional safeguards in case of disputes directly endangering international peace and security. Per UNC Article 33,
“parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.”

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Author: Joanna Kulesza
Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Lodz, 90-033 Lodz, Poland