Is There Any Blood on My Hands? Deportation as a Crime of International Law

Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016, 29, pp. 917-943

Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2828182

27 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2016  

Vincent Chetail

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI)

Date Written: August 23, 2016

Abstract

The present article revisits international criminal law as a tool for sanctioning the most patent abuses against migrants. Although deportation is traditionally considered as an attribute of the state inherent to its territorial sovereignty, this prerogative may degenerate into an international crime. The prohibition of deportation has been a well-established feature of international criminal law since the Nuremberg trials following the Second World War. This prohibition has been further refined over the past 15 years by an extensive jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court.

Against such a background, this article demonstrates that, in some circumstances, deportation may amount to a war crime, a crime against humanity or even a crime of genocide, depending on the factual elements of the case and the specific requirements of the relevant crime. This article accordingly reviews the constitutive elements of each crime and transposes them into the context of migration control. It highlights in turn that, although its potential has been neglected by scholars and practitioners, international criminal law has an important role to play for domesticating the state’s prerogative of deportation and infusing the rule of law into the field of migration.

Keywords: migration, migrant, deportation, crime against humanity, war crime, genocide

Suggested Citation

Chetail, Vincent, Is There Any Blood on My Hands? Deportation as a Crime of International Law (August 23, 2016). Leiden Journal of International Law, 2016, 29, pp. 917-943; Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2828182. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2828182

Vincent Chetail (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (HEI) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

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