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Dr Sari speaking in Helsinki (image credit: SRE2019)

Dr Sari speaks on hybrid threats

Dr Aurel Sari, Associate Professor of Public International Law at Exeter Law School, has continued his travels this term to discuss the legal dimension of hybrid threats.

Hybrid threats are unconventional security threats that fall below the threshold of conventional, open warfare. They usually target the systemic vulnerabilities of democratic societies, for instance, their critical infrastructure and electoral processes, using instruments such as fake news and economic pressure. Hybrid threats have become a growing concern for NATO and the EU since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In September 2019, Dr Sari delivered the keynote speech at the XXXIV Conference of Nordic Military Legal Advisors in Esbjerg, Denmark. In his address, Dr Sari reviewed the broad range of legal challenges that hybrid threats present. According to Dr Sari, at the core of these challenges lies the hostile instrumentalisation of law and legal arguments for the purposes of geopolitical competition. To counter the hostile use of law by their adversaries, societies committed to a rules-based international legal order must learn to compete more effectively in the legal domain, whilst taking active steps to preserve the international rule of law.

Dr Sari discussed these points in-depth at the Royal Air Force Legal Services annual conference held at RAF Halton in September 2019, where he also joined an expert panel with Professor Dale Stephens (Adelaide Law School) and Professor Gary Corn (American University Washington College of Law). Later in the term, Dr Sari spoke at events in Hamburg and Oxford and contributed to a panel on hybrid threats at the 2019 Research Security Event in Helsinki at the invitation of the Finnish Ministry of Interior and the European Commission.

Dr Sari will return to Helsinki before the end of the year to support an exercise run by the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Dr Sari is a member of the Centre’s pool of legal experts.

Date: 3 December 2019