Citizenship revocation as punishment: On the modern duties of citizens and their criminal breach

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Citizenship revocation has recently resurfaced as a source of political and legal debate in many democratic countries. While some countries have rejected the practice mainly on constitutional grounds, others have amended their laws to make it easier for the state to revoke the citizenship of both naturalized and born citizens. Proponents of the practice view it as an administrative measure and a necessary means for defending vital state interests, while opponents view it as a fundamental violation of basic civil and human rights. Countering both positions, the article offers a justification for citizenship revocation under highly limited conditions. It shows why citizenship revocation can and can only be justified as a punitive (rather than administrative) measure in response to a fundamental breach of the duty of citizens as members of an egalitarian, free, and deliberative polity and only as long the revocation of citizenship does not leave them stateless.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-810
Number of pages28
JournalUniversity of Toronto Law Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • citizenship revocation
  • constitutional theory
  • criminal law
  • political crimes
  • statelessness
  • war against terror


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