The Deprivation of Nationality in the Fight Against Terrorism

The Deprivation of Nationality in the Fight Against Terrorism

The last few years have seen a disquieting new trend emerge in global Islamist terrorism. The primary threat to Western societies used to be posed by terrorists entering Western countries from abroad. But nowadays citizens of Western countries also travel in the opposite direction to participate in terrorist cam­paigns in foreign countries. This internationalization of terrorism creates new threats to public security as those ‘foreign fighters’ often return. Since they are citizens they have, unlike foreigners, a right to re-enter their home countries. An increasing number of states have therefore passed laws authorising the deprivation of nationality if one joins a foreign terrorist group. Following other European countries, in 2019 Germany adopted a substantially similar rule in its nationality law (‘Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz’). In response, this doctoral project aims to investigate legal frameworks regulating the deprivation of nationality and to examine the underlying concept of citizenship. Employing a blend of compara­tive law, and statutory and doctrinal analysis, this project intends to make at least two substantial contribu­tions to German constitutional law. First, by examining the guarantees enshrined in Art. 16 of the German Basic Law, Germany‘s reformed nationality law can be most effectively scrutinized against this legal backdrop. Second, this project places German law in a broader international perspective by examining the deprivation of nationality in other European states. Expected scholarly outcomes include enhanced knowledge of the legal context of Germany‘s reformed nationality law, and a more comprehensive understanding of citizenship. Lastly, by examining evolving trends in the internationalisation of terrorism and its socio-political implications, this doctoral project advances several key components of the Department’s research agenda.

Research outcome:

doctoral dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (2020–22)
Project language: German                                                                                      Photo: Sebastiano Piazzi/Unsplash

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