A Primer on Citizenship Revocation for WWII Collaboration: The 1998-1999 Federal Court Term


  • Claire I. Farid




This article provides a review of recent jurisprudence in relation to revocation of citizenship proceedings against those alleged to have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The author discusses proceedings involving citizenship obtained by deception by those involved in World War II, with a particular focus on five cases decided in late 1998 and 1999. The article addresses both procedural and substantive issues that have arisen in these proceedings. Although past procedural problems of characterization of the proceedings, the scope of required notices, and rights to appeal have generally been clarified in recent jurisprudence, some specific problems still remain to be resolved. The author points out that the substantive issues surrounding collaboration, actual post-WW Il security screening practices, the existence of a duty of candour, and the legal authority for security screening of immigration applicants still remain in a state of uncertainty as the current cases have provided conflicting results. Interpretation of old legislation and the determination of how such legislation was actually applied to security screening by immigration officials at the time of the immigrant's application are the main concerns in deciding these substantive issues. Matters are further complicated by the lack of evidence, both testimonial and documentary. The resolution, or lack thereof, of the procedural and substantive issues will have a bearing on proceedings initiated by the government in relation to modern war crimes cases.