Chicago Journal of International Law

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In response to the growing number of foreign fighters joining international terrorist organizations such as ISIL, some States are proposing to revoke the nationality of suspected terrorists as part of their comprehensive counterterrorism strategies. While domestic legal protections surrounding the right to one’s nationality will vary from state to state, there are certain international human rights treaties that might prove to be significant legal obstacles to States contemplating these plans. This Comment surveys the applicable international treaty law and analyzes the legality of these plans under the existing human rights regime. It examines important distinctions between the way in which the international law treats an individual with only one nationality and an individual with multiple nationalities. It also discusses the extent to which international law protects the nationality rights of close family members of suspected terrorists. The Comment explores some of the legal advantages and disadvantages of revoking the nationality of an individual as part of a state’s counterterrorism strategy. It concludes that States should refrain from implementing these plans due to their questionable efficacy and ramifications on international law.