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Prof. Dr. Silja Vöneky

 

Areas of Research

Public International Law
Human Rights Law
International Environmental Law
Humanitarian and Security Law
Governance of Scientific and Technological Innovations (esp. Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology)

Constitutional Law
Human Rights
Democratic Legitimacy
Governance of Scientific and Technological Innovations

Philosophy of Law
Ethicalization of Law
Legitimate Regulation of Existential Risks


European Union Law
Treaties with Non-Member States

Governance of Scientific and Technological Innovations (esp. Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Biosecurity)

Academic Career, Employment & Appointments

Prof. Dr. Silja Vöneky (Voeneky) is a (Co-)Director of the Institute for Public Law, Professor of Public International Law, Comparative Law and Ethics of Law and an associated member of the Institute for Philosophy of Law. Since October 2019, she is the Vice Dean of the Freiburg Law Faculty. 

Her research focuses on international law and legal ethics, in particular Human Rights Law, International Environmental Law, the Law of the Sea, Security Law and Humanitarian Law, the interdependence of Ethics and Law, questions on Legitimacy, Democracy, Biomedicine and the Governance of Scientific and Technological Innovations.

She is also part of various third-party funded projects: Since the winter-semester 2018, she has been a fellow of the interdisciplinary research group Responsible Artificial Intelligence at FRIAS. Since January 2019, she has been a member of the Freiburg CIBSS Cluster of Excellence for Legal and Ethical Issues in Biotechnology, and is a head of the "Human Rights, Science and Technology" working group of the Conneticut/Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium (HRRC).

Silja Vöneky studied law and philosophy of law at the Universities of Freiburg, Bonn, Edinburgh (UK) and Heidelberg. Her first book covers the protection of the environment in armed conflicts (dissertation, University of Heidelberg). Following a legal clerkship at the Berlin Court of Appeal, she began her academic career at the Max Planck Insitute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg as a senior researcher under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Wolfrum. In 2005, the Max Planck Society appointed her as a Director of the independent research group "Legitimation of Ethical Decisions". This group did research on legal and ethical issues in biotechnology and biomedicine, answering esp. questions of procedural legitimacy in democratic states.

After she has written her second book (Habilitation at the University of Heidelberg) with a thesis on "Law, Morals and Ethics", she was Visiting Professor at the University of Kiel. Since 2011 Silja Vöneky is Full Professor at the Albert-Ludiwgs-University Freiburg. In 2015-2016, she was a fellow at Havard Law School (Human Rights Program) and started working on questions of risk governance on the basis of international law. Currently, she is continuing this work, esp. in the fields of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, at Freiburg University and FRIAS.

She is also a member of various national and international research programmes. Since 2019, she is a member of the BioRISC Programme (St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, UK) and Senior Advisor of the CSER project "A Science of Global Risk" (University of Cambridge, UK). She was a member of the interdisciplinary working group "International Justice and International Responsibility" of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) as well as of the board of the project "Competence Network for the Law of Civil Security in Europe (KORSE) in Freiburg, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Silja Vöneky is also serving in the field of knowledge transfer in different federal commissions. In 2017 - as suggested by the Legal Department of the German Federal Foreign Office - she was appointed as a member of the distinguished Advisory Council on International Law of the Federal Foreign Office. Furthermore, she was included in the list of arbitrators of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). In 2019, she was appointed as an arbitrator by Germany to the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.

Before this, Silja Voeneky has been a legal advisor to the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Federal Ministry of Research, the German Federal Ministry of Environment, the German Federal Environmental Agency, and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Scientific Marine and Polar Research. She also has been a member of the German Delegation to the ATCMs (Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings) and in this capacity negotiated the Liability Annex to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Until 2016, she had been a member of the German Ethics Council for four years at the suggestion of the German Government. There, she was head of the Biosecurity Working Group. Today she is, inter alia, a member of the Ethics Council of the Max Planck Society and a member of the Leopoldina Scientific Commission on Ethics in Science (National Academy of Sciences of Germany).

 

International Conferences & Symposia

Silja Voeneky initiated and curated several international conferences and interdisciplinary symposia, as inter alia: "Global Perspectives on Responsible AI" (25/26 June 2020, Freiburg i. Br.), Human Rights, Democracy, and Legitimacy” (3/4 May 2016, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, US), "Interdisciplinary Questions of Biosecurity" (3 July 2014, Freiburg i.Br.), “The Ethicalization of Law – Fundamental Questions, Dangers and Opportunities from an Interdisciplinary Perspective“ (29/30 September 2011, Freiburg i. Br.), “Law of the Sea in Dialogue“ (4/5 December 2009, Heidelberg), “Demokratische Legitimation ethischer Entscheidungen” (29/30 November 2007, Heidelberg), “Terrorism as a Challenge for National and International Law“ (24/25 January 2003, Heidelberg), and “Towards an International Ban on Human Cloning” (7/8 October 2003, Heidelberg).

 

Representative Publications

  • Silja Voeneky, Key Elements of Responsible Artificial Intelligence - Disruptive Technologies, Dynamic Law, Ordnung der Wissenschaft 1 (2020), 9-22
  • Silja Voeneky, Legal Framework, in Ethics Council of the Max Planck Society (ed.), Discussion paper focusing on the scientific relevance of genome editing and on the ethical, legal and societal issues potentially involved, 2019, Chapter 7, 17-22
  • Silja Voeneky, International Standard Setting in Biomedicine - Foundations and New Challenges, GYIL 61 (2018), S. 131-151.
  • Silja Voeneky, Biotechnology and the Legal Framework for the Future Global Society, in: D. Messner/S. Mair/L. Meyer (eds.), Deutschland und die Welt 2030, 265-273 (translation)
  • Silja Voeneky, Human Rights and Legitimate Governance of Existential and Global Catastrophic Risks, in: S. Voeneky/G. Neuman (eds.), Human Rights, Democracy, and Legitimacy, CUP 2018, 139-162)
  • Silja Voeneky, Guy Reeves, Christophe Boete, Felix Beck, Derek Caetano-Anolles, Agricultural Research, or a new bioweapons System?, Science 05 Oct 2018, 362/6410, 35-37 - Reviews printed in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Times, Washington Post, Le Monde etc. Obtober/November 2018, cf. https://www.jura.uni-freiburg.de/de/institute/ioeffr2/presse
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Umweltschutz und Menschenrechte, in: A. Proelss (ed.), Internationales Umweltrecht, 2017, 133-181
  • Silja Voeneky, Espionage, Security Interests, and Human Rights in the Second Machine Age: NSA Mass Surveillance and the Framework of Public International Law, in: Russel Miller (ed.), Privacy & Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair, CUP, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 136: Common Heritage of Mankind, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 137: Legal Status of the Area and its Resources, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 138: General Conduct of States in Relation to the Area, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 139: Responsibility to Ensure Compliance and Liability for Damage, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 140: Benefit of Mankind, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 141: Use of the Area Exclusively for Peaceful Purposes, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Anja Hoefelmeier, Commentary, Art. 142: Rights and Legitimate Interests of Coastal States, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 143: Marine Scientific Research, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 144: Transfer of Technology, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 145: Protection of the Marine Environment, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 146: Protection of Human Life, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 147: Accommodation of Activities in the Area and in the Marine Environment, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, Felix Beck, Commentary, Art. 148: Participation of Developing States in Activities in the Area, in: A. Proelss (ed.), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary, 2017
  • Silja Voeneky, The German Ethics Council Report on Biosecurity, in: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (NAS) (ed.), Gain-of-Function Research, Summary of the Second Symposium, March 10-11, 2016, 57-59
  • Silja Voeneky, Biosecurity - Freedom, Responsibility, and Legitimacy of Research, Ordnung der Wissenschaft 2/2015, 117-128, available under www.ordnungderwissenschaft.de/
  • Silja Voeneky, Foundations and Limits of an Ethicalization of Law, in: J. Nida-Ruemelin et al. (eds.), Rethinking Responsibility in Science and Technology, 2014, 183- 202
  • Silja Voeneky, Das Recht der Biomedizin auf dem Prüfstand des EGMR – Grundrechtseingriffe und die Lehre vom weiten Beurteilungsspielraum des nationalen Gesetzgebers, MedR 32 (2014), 704-711
  • Silja Voeneky, Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law (Chapter 14), in: D. Fleck (ed.),The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 3rd Edition, Oxford 2013, 647-700
  • Silja Voeneky, Ethics and Law - The Ethicalization of Law / Ethik und Recht - Ethisierung des Rechts, Heidelberg 2013, 456 (edited together with B. Beylage-Haarmann, A. Hoefelmeier, A.-K. Huebler)
  • Silja Voeneky, Verfassungsrecht und völkerrechtliche Verträge, in P. Kirchhof, J. Isensee (eds.), Handbuch des Staatsrechts, Vol. XI, 3. ed. 2013, § 236
  • Silja Voeneky, Francis Lieber (1798-1872), in: B. Fassbender/A. Peters (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law, Oxford 2012, 1137-1141
  • Silja Voeneky, Coexistence, Cooperation and Solidarity; Liber Amicorum Ruediger Wolfrum, Vol. I/II, Leiden 2012, 2212 p. (edited together with H. Hestermeyer, D. Koenig, V. Roeben, N. Matz-Lueck, A. Seibert-Fohr and P.-T. Stoll)
  • Silja Voeneky, The Fight against Terrorism and the Rules of International Law - Comment on Papers and Speeches of John B. Bellinger, Chief Legal Advisor to the United States Department, in: R. A. Miller (ed.), Comperative Law as Transnational Law, A Decade of the German Law Journal, Oxford 2012, 353-362
  • Silja Voeneky, Ruediger Wolfrum, Environment, Protection in Armed Conflict, in: R. Wolfrum (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford 2012, Vol. III, 509- 518,  www.mpepil.com
  • Silja Voeneky, Armed Conflict, Effect on Treaties, in: R. Wolfrum (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford 2012, Vol. I, 606-612, www.mpepil.com
  • Silja Voeneky, Sange Addison- Agyei, Antarctica, in: R. Wolfrum (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 2012, Vol. I, 418-435, www.mpepil.com
  • Silja Voeneky, Analogy in International Law, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 2012, Vol. I, 374-380, www.mpepil.com
  • Silja Voeneky, Law of the Sea in Dialogue, Heidelberg 2011, 192 p. (edited together with H. Hestermeyer, N. Matz-Lueck, A. Seibert-Fohr)
  • Silja Voeneky, Recht, Moral und Ethik – Grundlagen und Grenzen demokratischer Legitimation für Ethikgremien, 2010, 699 p.
  • Silja Voeneky, Ethisches Expertentum und moralischer Autoritarismus, in: S. Voeneky, C. Hagedorn, M. Clados, J. von Achenbach (eds.), Legitimation ethischer Entscheidungen im Recht - Interdisziplinäre Untersuchungen, 2009, 85-97; short version published in Neuen Züricher Zeitung (NZZ International Edition), Die Grenzen der Argumentationskraft, 28.03.2008, 29
  • Silja Voeneky, The Liability Annex to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, in: D. Koenig/ P.-T. Stoll/ V. Roeben/ N. Matz-Lueck (eds.), International Law Today: New Challenges and the Need for Reform?, Heidelberg 2008, 165-197
  • Silja Voeneky, Ruediger Wolfrum, Who is protected by Human Rights Conventions? Protection of the Embryo vs. Scientific Freedom and Public Health, in: S. Voeneky/ R. Wolfrum (eds.), Human Dignity and Human Cloning, Leiden 2004, 133-143
  • Silja Voeneky, The Fight against Terrorism and the Rules of the Law of Warfare, in: C. Walter/S. Voeneky/V. Roeben/F. Schorkopf (eds.), Terrorism as a Challenge for National and International Law: Security versus Liberty?, Berlin et al. 2004, 925-950