By Ramona Mănescu

On 15 and 16 of May, I took part in the International Conference for the Criminalization of Cyber Terrorism, organized in Abu Dhabi by the United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. It was a great opportunity to get together and discuss the Cyber Terrorism issue with top international experts, political figures, representatives of international organizations and institutions, and activists in counter-terrorism and counter cyber terrorism affairs, in addition to legal experts, researchers, practitioners, and other figures from the international community.

As part of the fourth session, dedicated to “A Holistic Legislative Framework for the Criminalization of Cyber Terrorism”, I spoke about the Legally-Binding Agreements for the Criminalization of Cyber Terrorism. The following is the transcript of my speech.


Because we are discussing “Legally-Binding Agreement” and “Criminalization”, we should probably start with the definition of what we are talking about.

Unfortunately, the international community has not so far been able to agree much beyond noting that, “Cyber Terrorism is a controversial term”! Cyberterrorism overlaps with cybercrime and cyberwar and sometimes is just a tool for ordinary terrorism. There is no common definition yet!

I consider that this struggle is the direct effect of another problem: we also don’t have a consensus on the term ‘terrorism’! There are 17 different international conventions, each of them addressing different aspects of terrorist activities and even more definitions.

I believe that, firstly, we urgently need to compromise and agree upon a common understanding of these terms. A lack of clarity only benefits those engaged in cyber-terrorism, whether they are states, international organizations, local leaders or just disturbed individuals. Till an agreement is reached, we can start from a broader definition, like the one used by the EU and UN. Both see “cyber terrorism” as the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.


This text is an extract from the volume „The Hybrid Warfare”, published by GICT in June 2018 with the support of the EPP Group in the European Parliament. The volume contains a collection of 7 articles, written and published by Ramona Mănescu between 2015 and 2017. The extract represents the intro to „Towards A Holistic Legislative Framework For The Criminalization Of Cyber Terrorism”, text first published on 22 of May 2017.

„The Hybrid Warfare” volume can be found under ISBN: 978-973-587-200-7 and if you are interested in a copy of this volume, please contact GICT.