Transcending the boundaries of punishment: On the nature of citizenship deprivation – Milena Tripkovic
*The Crime, Justice and Society seminars are co-hosted by the Criminal Law and Criminology subject areas of Edinburgh Law School.
A significant number of countries have recently (re)introduced or expanded legal provisions which allow for deprivation of citizenship of persons who have engaged in criminal or crime-like behaviour. The purpose of such provisions is to permanently exclude hitherto full citizens from their political communities, and in this they bear striking similarity to the long-forgotten penal practices of exile and banishment.
The paper examines the legal nature of ‘contemporary banishment’ and, by drawing on legal research pertaining to 37 European countries, argues that many of them fail to satisfy fundamental principles of modern punishment, such as legality, imposition by the court, proportionality, individual responsibility, and equality. The implications of this finding for comprehending the legal nature of citizenship deprivation are twofold.
On the one hand, citizenship deprivation may be understood as an unjustified form of punishment that could be made legitimate by aligning it with key principles of modern punishment. On the other hand – and more unconventionally – citizenship deprivation may be thought of as a new kind of ‘citizenship sanction’, distinct from punishment and thus normatively unburdened by the need to observe its guiding principles. Such sanctions aim to permanently exclude ‘unworthy’ citizens and correspond to emerging tendencies that emphasize divisiveness which is becoming emblematic of contemporary democracies.
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