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Faculty of Law, Business, and Economics

Chair of Criminal Law III - Prof. Dr. N. Nestler

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Safety-relevant research

The questions of the abuse and degeneration of the results of safety-relevant research with a dual use purpose (so-called dual use research of concern) are particularly prevalent in the areas of genetic research, materials science, IT, engineering and - from a legal point of view - the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention. Although this phenomenon has increasingly moved into the focus of the public and the legislator in recent years, it remains largely unclear and therefore the subject of this research focus whether and to what extent the researcher has to answer for the misuse of his research results by third parties (also in terms of sanctions) and which legal and ethical limits he is subject to in such research. There is potential for conflict, not least in view of the ultima-ratio principle and the fundamental right of scientific freedom according to Article 5 paragraph 3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law, with possible legal responsibility for the misuse of dual-use research results. The need for unrestricted communication and publication of research results must be harmonized here with any necessary protection of society against possible dangers, without hindering research projects by excessive security measures.


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