Tallinn Manual



Tallinn Manual

The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, written at the invitation of the Centre by an independent ‘International Group of Experts’, is the result of a three-year effort to examine how extant international legal norms apply to this ‘new’ form of warfare.

The Tallinn Manual pays particular attention to the jus ad bellum, the international law governing the resort to force by States as an instrument of their national policy, and the jus in bello, the international law regulating the conduct of armed conflict (also labelled the law of war, the law of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law). Related bodies of international law, such as the law of State responsibility, are dealt with in the context of these topics. The Tallinn Manual is not an official document, but instead an expression of the scholarly opinions of a group of independent experts acting solely in their personal capacity. It is not meant to represent the views of the Centre, our Sponsoring Nations, or NATO; NATO doctrine; or the official position of any organization or State that provided observers to the project.

The Tallinn Manual is available in both paper and electronic copies from Cambridge University Press (© Cambridge University Press 2013). We have also made the book available for reading and research below.




Tallinn 2.0

Tallinn 2.0 is the follow-on project to the “Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare.” Designed to expand the scope of the original Tallinn Manual, Tallinn 2.0 will result in the second edition of the Tallinn Manual and be published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

The focus of the original Tallinn Manual is on the most disruptive and destructive cyber operations – those that qualify as ‘armed attacks’ and therefore allow States to respond in self-defence, and those taking place during armed conflict. Since the threat of cyber operations with such consequences is especially alarming to States, most academic research has focused on these issues.

Yet, States are challenged daily by malevolent cyber operations that do not rise to the aforementioned levels. The Tallinn 2.0 project examines the international legal framework that applies to such cyber operations. The relevant legal regimes include the law of State responsibility, the law of the sea, international telecommunications law, space law, diplomatic and consular law, and, with respect to individuals, human rights law. Tallinn 2.0 also explores how the general principles of international law, such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, due diligence and the prohibition of intervention, apply in the cyber context.

Professor Michael Schmitt, a Senior Fellow at the Centre from the United States Naval War College and the University of Exeter, directs the Tallinn 2.0 project. Ms Liis Vihul of the Centre serves as the Project Manager, while a team of legal and IT experts from the Centre supports the effort. The expanded edition of the Tallinn Manual will, like its predecessor, represent only the views of the International Group of Experts, and not of NATO, the NATO CCD COE, its Sponsoring Nations, or any other State or organization.

Research Events

The Centre hosts a number of smaller research events to facilitate the study of international law applicable to cyber operations, and to support the production of Tallinn 2.0.

In February 2014, the Centre and the University of Tartu, in cooperation with the Baltic Yearbook of International Law, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute and Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the US Naval War College, organised a 2-day workshop with wide geographical representation in order to explore varying understandings and practices of international law in various countries. The proceedings of the workshop will be published in the 2014 Baltic Yearbook of International Law.