to Content
Header Image

03: Democratic Interventionism or Responsibility to Protect?

Seminar / Seminar
german language

Democratic interventionism (DI) intends to export democratic forms of government to previously non-democratic states by military means. Cases include the interventions in Iraq in 2003, in Libya in 2011, and the current situation in Syria. In this connection, two legal and ethical questions arise: First, under which conditions do opposition groups have a right to resort to the use of force against an oppressive regime and, ultimately, even instigate a civil war? Second, do third states have the right to support such developments with the perspective of achieving a regime change and/or of preparing the ground for the call for a “humanitarian intervention”? One possible approach to justify DI is the new concept of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), endorsed in various UN documents since 2004. If a state fails to fulfil its basic duty to protect its people from grave human rights violations, the international community, as the bearer of a “subsidiary” responsibility to protect, is called upon to help, ultimately even by the use of force. The seminar will clarify the normative problems of DI indicated above, and aims to develop possible solutions from the perspective of both public international law and legal ethics.


Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg Chair
Professor of Political Philosophy, Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld Chair

Dr. iur. Reinhard MERKEL

Professor of Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg

 Studium der Rechtswissenschaft, der Philosophie und der Literaturwissenschaft in Bochum, Heidelberg und München
1977 Erstes juristisches Staatsexamen, München
1980 Zweites juristisches Staatsexamen, München
1985-1988 Assistent am Institut für Rechtsphilosophie, München
1988-1990 Redakteur der Wochenzeitung "Die Zeit" (Feuilleton)
1993 Promotion ("Strafrecht und Satire im Werk von Karl Kraus"), München
1997 Habilitation ("Früheuthanasie"), Frankfurt am Main
1998 Ruf an die Universitäten Bielefeld und Rostock
1999 Ruf an die Universität Hamburg
seit 2000 Professor für Strafrecht und Rechtsphilosophie, Universität Hamburg

Dr. Veronique ZANETTI

Professor of Political Philosophy, Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld

1979-1985 Studies in Philosophy, Musicology and English Literature, Geneva University
1985-1987 Staff member with Professor Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (now at Stanford University), Siegen
1987-1988 Assistant prof. at the Geneva University, Geneva
1988-1993 Assistant prof. at the University Bern with Professor Gerhard Seel
1993 PhD on Kant s philosophy of nature: La Nature a-t-elle une fin? Le problème de la téléologie chez Kant
1994-1997 Assistant prof. at the University of Fribourg by prof. Jean-Claude Wolf
1997-1999 Grand from the Swiss National Funds for Research During that period (visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York by Prof. Thomas Pogge)
2002 Habilitation in philosophy in Fribourg with a study on the ethical aspects of humanitarian Intervention: "Universalisme des droits et stratégies de paix. Réflexions éthiques autour du droit d intervention humanitaire"
since 2004 Prof. for political philosophy, University Bielefeld

Seminar Week

show timetable
Kategorie: all PlenarySeminar


17:00 - 17:15Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2013Plenary
17:15 - 17:30Opening Concert Part I: Premiere of "The Light of Experience"Plenary
17:30 - 18:30Opening SpeechesPlenary
19:00 - 19:30Opening Concert Part IIPlenary
19:30 - 21:00Presentation of the SeminarsPlenary


Seminar 01: New Approaches to Security - Cooperation, Concentration and IntegrationSeminar
Seminar 02: Open Data, Open Government, Open Society?Seminar
Seminar 03: Democratic Interventionism or Responsibility to Protect?Seminar
Seminar 04: Motivation - A Biological and Social BaseSeminar
Seminar 05: Values in ScienceSeminar
Seminar 06: Exploring the Universe: Competition or Cooperation?Seminar
Seminar 07: Between Faith and Atheism - Values and the Variety of Spiritual ExperiencesSeminar
Seminar 08: The Evil in ArtSeminar
Seminar 09: The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in Protecting and Developing an Open SocietySeminar
Seminar 10: Power and CyberspaceSeminar
Seminar 11: What Kind of Foreign Policy - Value-Based or Realpolitik?Seminar
Seminar 12: Human Appropriation of Natural Resources  Challenges, Constraints and Ethical AspectsSeminar
Seminar 13: Synthetic Biology: Social and Ethical ImplicationsSeminar
Seminar 14: Roots of European ValuesSeminar
Seminar 15: Irrational Behaviour of Individuals: Implications for Economic PolicySeminar
Seminar 16: Experiences in Migration and Integration: A Cultural ApproachSeminar


20:00 - 22:00International EveningCulture


19:00 - 00:00BarCamp: TransformationsSeminar


18:00 - 19:30Authors in Conversation: The Revolt Against the West and its ValuesCulture