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Prof. Dr. Silja Vöneky

 

Areas of Research

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

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, and 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 one of the heads of the "Human Rights, Science and Technology" working group of the Connecticut/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 analyses 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 Institute 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.

After finishing her second book (Habilitation, University of Heidelberg) about the risks of an ethicalisation of law ("Law, Morals and Ethics"), she was Visiting Professor at the University of Kiel, and since 2011 she is Full Professor at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. In 2015-2016, she was a fellow at Harvard 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 she was appointed as a member of the distinguished Advisory Council on International Law of the German Federal Foreign Office. Furthermore, she is 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. 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).

Current Research Projects (Third Party Funding)

AI-Trust - Artificial Intelligence Systems for Trustworthy Applications in Medicine (forthcoming 10/2020), together with Dr. Philipp Kellmeyer, Prof. Dr. Tonia Ball, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard, Prof. Dr. Oliver Müller, Ass.Prof. Dr. Joschka Boedecker, financed by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung

2018-2021 FRIAS Saltus! Research Group "Emerging ethical, legal, philosophical and social aspects of the interaction between humans and autonomous intelligent systems: Responsible AI" together with Prof. Dr. W. Burgard (Robotics, Freiburg University), Dr. Ph. Kellmeyer (Neurology, Freiburg University), Prof. Dr. O. Müller (Philosophy, Freiburg University)

Senior Adviser, CSER Project 'A Science of Global Risk', Cambridge University, since 1 December 2019

CIBSS Excellence Cluster: Ethical, legal and social aspects of CIBSS Research, Freiburg University

Geopolitical Change and the Antarctic Treaty System, together with Prof. M. Haward, Oceans and Cryosphere Centre, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania (speaker), et al., 2019-2021, Australian Research Council Grant

Legal Provisions Relevant for Access and Use of Health-Related Data for Research Purposes: Data Access and Data Use in Medial Institutional and Consumer Health Settings. An Ethical, Legal and Social Analysis, together with PD Dr. Joachim Boldt (Ethics, Freiburg University), Dr. Philipp Kellmeyer (Neurology, Freiburg University), Prof. Dr. Oliver Müller (Philosophy, Freiburg University), Dipl.Pol. Christopher Coenen (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), since March 2020

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, A Governance Framework for Brain Data, together with Marcello Ienca, Joseph J. Fins, Ralf J. Jox, Fabrice Jotterand, Roberto Andorno, Tonio Ball, Claude Castelluccia. Ricardo Chavarriaga, Hervé Chneiweiss, Agata Ferretti, Orsolya Friedrich, Samia Hurst, Grischa Merkel, Fruzsina Molnar-Gabor, Jean-Marc Rickli, James Scheibner, Effi Vayena, Rafael Yuste, Philipp Kellmeyer (paper under review, forthcoming 2020)
  • Silja Voeneky, Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law, in D. Fleck (ed): Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 4th Edition (forthcoming)
  • 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), 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, Agricultural Research, or a new bioweapons System?, Science 05 Oct 2018, 362/6410, 35-37, together with Guy Reeves, Christophe Boete, Felix Beck and Derek Caetano-Anolles - Reviews printed in Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Times, Washington Post, Le Monde etc. October/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.), Comparative 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