Court name: Conseil d'État
State: France
Date of decision:

Article 25 of the French Civil Code provides that an individual may be stripped of their French nationality where, inter alia, it was acquired by naturalization and where the individual has been convicted of a crime that constituted an attack on the fundamental interests of France or an act of terrorism. Deprivation of French nationality is not allowed where it would render the individual stateless. The applicant was deprived of his French nationality, which he had acquired by naturalization, following a decision of the Paris Criminal Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris) convicting him for his participation in an association of criminals with a view to preparing an act of terrorism. That court found that he had joined a terrorist group and participated in training and armed operations of that group. The Council of State (Conseil d’État) upheld the decree of deprivation of nationality because the applicant held Algerian nationality since birth and could not be deprived of it since the Algerian code of nationality only authorises the deprivation of nationality for persons who have acquired it after birth. Therefore, the loss of French nationality would not render him stateless and was thus not illegal under French law. The Council of State also ruled on the proportionality of the decree with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and found that, given the seriousness of the crimes committed by the applicant, the challenged decree did not disproportionately infringe the right to respect for his private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the ECHR.

Court name: Constitutional Court
State: Romania
Date of decision:

The claimant is a stateless person whose Romanian nationality was withdrawn by the National Citizenship Authority (“Autoritatea Nationala a Cetateniei”) on the grounds that he is known to have links with terrorist groups or has supported, in any form, or has committed other acts that endanger national security. Romania law provides that in such cases, the order issued by the National Citizenship Authority can be appealed in court, and the decision issued by this court is final and irrevocable. The claimant raises an objection of unconstitutionality with regard to this law, because it violates the principle of the double degree of jurisdiction provided for in the EU law in criminal matters, assimilating the matter in question with a criminal matter as defined by the EU law.

 

 

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicant challenged a decision depriving him of his British citizenship and excluding him from the United Kingdom because of his alleged involvement and link to terrorist-related activities. After failing in his appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Special Immigration Appeal Tribunal, the applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) under Articles 8 and 14. The Court rejected all of the applicant’s complaints, finding them to be manifestly ill-founded, and declared the application inadmissible.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State: Germany
Date of decision:

An Austrian national by birth transferred his residence to Germany and naturalised as a German national. The naturalisation in Germany had the effect, in accordance with Austrian law, of causing him to lose his Austrian nationality. The German authorities later withdrew the naturalisation with retroactive effect, on the grounds that the applicant had not disclosed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Austria on account of suspected serious fraud, and that he had thus obtained German nationality by deception. The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for a Member State to withdraw nationality obtained by deception, even if it results in losing EU citizenship, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality. Observance of the principle of proportionality requires the person concerned to be afforded a reasonable period of time in order to try to recover the nationality of their Member State of origin.

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant is a dual Dutch/Moroccan national whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn on the basis of a criminal conviction for terrorist activities. The Court rejected the applicant's appeal, concluding, among others, that prevention of statelessness is a valid reason for differentiated treatment between those with a single and with multiple nationalities, and that withdrawal of nationality is not a punitive measure. Withdrawal of nationality in addition to the criminal sentence does not violate the principle that prohibits repeated punishments for the same action.  

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: France
Date of decision:

Five applicants of dual nationality, convicted in 2007 of participating in a criminal association in a terrorist context, were stripped of their French nationality in October 2015 by Prime Minister decrees. The Court held that the decision to forfeit the applicants’ French nationality did not have a disproportionate impact on their private lives and therefore was not in violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

Two applications (joined before the Court) concerned the removal of and the refusal to exchange passports, leaving the applicants stateless and without identity documentation, after the relevant Russian authorities found their Russian citizenship to be granted erroneously. The Court held the withdrawal of identity documents, which affected the exercise of their rights and freedoms in their daily lives, was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Court name: Supreme Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant brought an appeal challenging the constitutionality of s.19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which governs the procedure by which revocation of naturalisation is determined. The fact that the Minister initiated the revocation process, appointed the committee charged with conducting the inquiry and then reached the final decision, was unconstitutional according to the applicant, as it breached the right to fair procedures. The Court held that s.19 was unconstitutional because it did not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high threshold of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences, i.e. revocation of naturalisation.

Court name: Supreme Administrative Court
State: Poland
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in the US, and his birth certificate indicated a Polish national as the father, and an unknown surrogate mother as the mother. Polish authorities refused to confirm the applicant acquired Polish nationality at birth as a child of a Polish parent, because the birth certificate is against the Polish public order, in particular the prohibition of surrogacy. The courts ruled in favour of the applicant, stating that confirmation of his Polish nationality on the basis of the birth certificate does not amount to validation of surrogacy.

Court name: Constitutional Court of Austria (Verfassungsgerichtshof)
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant acquired Austrian nationality in 1995 and renounced her former Turkish nationality in 1996 as a condition for retaining the Austrian nationality. In 2018 the Austrian authorities declared that she has no longer been an Austrian national since 1997 as it appeared that she voluntarily re-acquired her Turkish nationality at that time, which is a ground for automatic loss of Austrian nationality. The Court set aside the determination of loss of Austrian nationality as it did not carry out a proportionality test on the basis of the Tjebbes judgment.

Court name: Vienna Administrative Court
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant received assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality if she renounces her Estonian nationality. After the renunciation, it appeared that the applicant committed two administrative offences related to her driving, which in addition to the eight she committed previously were considered as an indication of her no longer fulfilling the public order requirement for naturalisation. This resulted in the withdrawal of assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality, leaving the applicant stateless. 

Court name: Vienna Administrative Court
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The applicant acquired Austrian nationality by naturalisation in 1997, and renounced her Turkish nationality in that context. In 2018 it appeared that the applicant was listed on the voter registers for Turkish nationals abroad. She did not provide proof that she did not re-acquire Turkish nationality, and on that basis the Austrian authorities declared she has lost her Austrian nationality automatically due to acquisition of a foreign nationality. 

Court name: East-Brabant Court
Date of decision:

The applicant originates from Somalia and arrived to the Netherlands through Yemen as an unaccompanied minor. When testifying for his asylum application, he omitted to mention that he had lived in Yemen. He was granted a residence permit which later lead to his naturalisation, but the latter was withdrawn nearly 12 years later as the authorities found out about his history in Yemen. He argued that the denaturalisation is disproportionate in light of the CJEU Rottmann judgment, citing statelessness as one of the circumstances, and the court upheld his position. 

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant naturalised in the Netherlands in 2003, but the naturalisation was withdrawn in 2013 when the authorities found out she had a criminal conviction in Belgium in 2000 that she failed to mention in her naturalisation application. The applicant argued that the decision depriving her of her Dutch nationality is disproportionate, among others in light of EU law and Rottmann judgment, in particular due to her becoming stateless as a result, and the difficulties she may face re-acquiring her original Ghanaian nationality. The Court rejected the appeal and upheld the decision denaturalising the applicant. 

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant is a dual Moroccan-Dutch nationality, whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn as a consequence of his involvement in a terrorist organisation. The applicant argued that the legal ground for withdrawing nationality only affects dual nationals, who are almost always Dutch nationals with a non-Western background, and thus constitutes discrimination prohibited by the ECHR. The Court ruled that prevention of statelessness is a sufficient and objective justification of this distinction, and the distinction is therefore justified. 

Court name: Federal Administrative Court
State: Germany
Date of decision:

The case had been brought before the ECJ for a preliminary ruling, leading to its famous Rottman judgment (CJEU, C-135/08 Rottmann, judgment of 2 March 2010). The Federal Administrative Court rules on the case after the ECJ's judgment. The applicant lost his Austrian nationality when he naturalised in Germany, but his German naturalisation was later revoked as he committed fraud in the naturalisation procedure, rendering him stateless. The Federal Administrative Court upheld the administrative decision to withdraw the German nationality despite the uncertainty about the restoration of the Austrian nationality of the applicant. 

Court name: Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court)
State: Germany
Date of decision:

Deprivation of nationality made as an orderly sanction for failure to fulfil obligations that apply to all citizens, cannot be considered as a form of persecution that could justify asylum.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Malta
Date of decision:

An Egyptian national, who resided in Malta and acquired Maltese nationality, was granted authorisation to renounce his Egyptian nationality as he could not hold dual nationality while in Malta. He was deprived of his Maltese nationality years later, following a decision that found that he had obtained his Maltese nationality from his first marriage through fraud. The Court found that there was no violation of Article 8 and held that the decision to deprive the applicant of his Maltese nationality did not adversely affect him.