States are more and more often confronted with the phenomenon
of “hybrid war”, which covers not only military actions, but also
other hostile acts, such as disinformation campaigns via social
media and cyberattacks.
The concept of “hybrid war” or “hybrid threat” raises several
questions. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights considers
that although there is no universal definition for these terms,
the main feature of a “hybrid war” is its “legal asymmetry”, as
hybrid adversaries deny their activities and operate on the very
fringes of the law. While military actions are underway, international
law, especially the right to self-defence and humanitarian law,
apply. In the event of non-military actions, it is above all domestic
criminal law that comes into play. In all cases, human rights must
be respected. Any restriction of these rights must comply with the requirements
resulting from the European Convention on Human Rights.
The committee also proposes a number of recommendations to
be addressed to member States and to the Committee of Ministers
in order to combat “hybrid war” more effectively and to uphold human
rights in the fight against this phenomenon.