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Faculty of Law, Business, and Economics

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

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Dual-use-risk and criminal law

Foreign trade (criminal) law and its problems are strongly reflected in the so-called dual-use problem. Civil-motivated research and business can hardly be separated from areas that are not simultaneously subject to military interests and use. Originally, the term "dual-use" stems from export controls and refers to goods, commodities, software, and technology, or even behaviours that have primarily been researched, produced, or conducted for a civil purpose, but which, due to certain characteristics or even the intention of their owners, recipients, or buyers, can also be used or become significant for military purposes. Taking the dual-use character of certain research subjects, economic goods, or behaviors as a reason for the criminal law to intervene means taking up a risk that may only be abstractly conceivable. This appears problematic not only with respect to the ultima-ratio principle and the fundamental rights of, for example, Articles 12, 14, or even 5 paragraph 3 of the German Basic Law. There are concerns that the relevant (foreign trade) criminal law is being used without any protective purpose as a vehicle for satisfying common, only general, or even merely presumed "security needs" that lie outside its actual provisions and objectives. The focus of this research project is therefore on the questions of which (criminal) regulatory mechanisms exist with regard to economic goods or behaviours in the dual-use context and how or in which areas of life and work they have an impact. The research findings can be a guideline and base for action for both the legislator and exporting industries. The research project is generously funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research.

Publications in the context of the research focus area
Links will be activated shortly (as far as accessible).

  • Nina Nestler – Dual-use-risk and criminal law (monography, print in preparation).
  • Stefan Lehner – The criminal liability of the export-responsible person (dissertation, in publication by Duncker and Humblot). Nina Nestler – Criminal liability for safety-relevant research. 
  • Nina Nestler – Utilization intention as measure of criminal liability.
  • Nina Nestler – The influence of the utilization intention on the exportability of dual-use-commodities.
  • Nina Nestler – Sanctions-based limitations of safety-relevant research (in: JZ 2019, 1074-1084) 
  • Stefan Lehner – The protection of human rights through Foreign Trade Criminal Law. (Presentation at the German-Italian doctoral student seminar, Verona, November 2019.) 
  • Nina Nestler – Ethical and legal frameworks for safety-relevant research (short presentation and discussion at the University of Bayreuth in December 2018)

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