Statement by Mr. Md. Rafiqul Alam Molla, Counsellor at the 6th substantive session of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021-2025 (OEWG) on International Law at CR-04, UNHQs on 06 March 2024

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As highlighted in previous sessions, Bangladesh reaffirms that international law, and particularly the Charter of the United Nations in its entirety, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law, are applicable to maintain peace, stability, and promote an open, secure, stable, accessible, and peaceful ICT environment.

We also emphasize that principles of international law, including respect for sovereign equality, non-aggression, the peaceful settlement of international disputes, the prohibition of the threat or use of force inconsistent with the purposes of the UN, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, apply in the cyber domain.

Chair, my delegation was one of the proponents of scenario-based discussion within the OEWG, simulating real-world scenarios to test the effectiveness of the existing legal frameworks and response protocols. This approach could help us better understand the applicability of international law and identify potential gaps.


For example, the group can invite international legal experts from both the West and the Global South to discuss various aspects of the applicability of international law based on a real-world scenario, where delegations will be given the opportunity to interact with them. This would provide practical context on how international law functions in real-world cyber scenarios. The group may also leverage the expertise International Law Commission on how and when international law, including IHL, applies to cyber operations.

Such discussions would strengthen the legal landscape by testing existing frameworks, offering a practical way to analyze real-world challenges such as the lack of a clear understanding of the attribution of cyber-attacks, State Responsibility Threshold, the use of force in cyberspace, proportionality, due diligence, ambiguity of definitions, among others.  Additionally, they would help identify potential gaps in existing international law. For example, how do attribution challenges affect the right to self-defense in cyberspace?

Therefore, the possibility of developing a dedicated international legal framework tailored to the distinct characteristics of the ICT environment may not be ruled out. It is imperative that any such framework addressing ICT-related issues be universal, inclusive, and non-discriminatory in nature.

Finally, Chair, we reiterate our call for creating a readily accessible online repository of legal resources, translated into multiple languages, providing a comprehensive knowledge base for all states, which could also be useful in achieving consensus.

I thank you.