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Dear Geneva: Let's Talk Hybrid Warfare

Security and Law: A Reality Check

Irregular forces. Cyberwarfare. Fake news. Lawfare. Foreign electoral intervention. Dynamics of conventional and unconventional warfare are shifting towards the manipulation of the adversary and its population. Hybrid warfare combines subversive efforts to undermine the enemy with traditional military means.

Current military, political and economic crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are driven by hybrid warfare. In response to hybrid threats, notably NATO, the EU and its member states are working on resilience measures, including legal resilience.

What exactly is hybrid warfare? Is it just a hype fueled by experiences and fears of Western European states? Or does it indeed require new political, military and legal evaluations as well as innovation regarding resilience? How should Geneva - the capital of international humanitarian law, human rights and disarmament - position itself? More importantly, can Geneva-based institutions and diplomacy address the challenges of hybrid warfare in a manner that fosters peace and security? 

This Reality Check will be joined by

  • Amb Mikko Kinnunen, Ambassador for Countering Hybrid Threats, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland;
  • Dr Aurel Sari, Director of Exeter Centre for International Law, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter.


Join the debate. Join the Reality Check.



  • Tobias Vestner, Security and Law Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy



Light refreshment will be provided

This event will be filmed. Questions from the audience will be recorded (audio) but no visual images will be recorded of the audience.



This public discussion is the fifth event of Security and Law: A Reality Check, the new event series to address how international law matters in security affairs. The Reality Checks aim to critically assess if current norms fit contemporary and future security challenges, how international commitments can effectively be implemented, and how new international law can successfully be shaped. The series feature a new GCSP format: the audience attending the event is encouraged to steer the discussion by challenging the speakers and experts. Join the debate. Join the Reality Check.

Want to delve more into the topic? Join us at the conference on Legal Resilience in an Era of Hybrid Threats on 8–10 April 2019 at the University of Exeter.

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GCSP, Maison de la paix, Petal 4, 7th Floor Library Lounge

Any questions?

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+41 22 730 96 00


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