Ernst Hirsch Ballin discusses the significance of citizens’ rights against the backdrop of ongoing migration and urbanization in the beginning of the 21st century. The traditional view that each state has the sovereign power to give or withhold citizenship, puts the full enjoyment of human rights at risk whenever exclusion is based on differences in nationality. Citizens’ rights are the essential connecting link between human rights and life in a democratic society. Citizens have an individual right, as a citizen, to take part in the democratic process and in the structures of solidarity of the state where they are effectively at home. By recognizing everyone’s right to the citizenship of the state in which they can make these rights a reality, citizens’ rights can bridge the gap between the universality of human rights and the changing political and social settings of people’s lives. Limits on dual citizenship are counterproductive, European citizenship paves the way for transnational citizenship.
"Hirsch Ballin's book is very important for academics and practitioners in the field of citizenship. It embraces the complexity of citizenship with all its academic, practical and emotional meanings. Hopefully, Hirsch Ballin's work can serve as a compass for new directions in immigration and naturalisation debates."
Katja Swider in:
Journal of European Integration, Vol 38. nr. 4, 2016
One needs to learn from the experience of the individual, from specific real-life situations, where and how the law can promote justice. This is a desideratum that goes beyond the mere question of whether the application of a rule is compatible with fundamental rights and human rights treaties. Law that acknowledges human dignity, the first desideratum that follows from the acknowledgement of that human dignity as the most basic fundamental right, operates in a dynamic of detachment to ensure equality and proximity to the individual to reflect the uniqueness of the lives we live. To illustrate the author takes a number of examples from those fields of law that impinge most closely on the lives of individuals – criminal law, family law, and immigration law. It is there that the law touches on the intimacy of human lives. Perhaps paradoxically, the importance of this is heightened by the formation of the cross-border, European, and global networks of relationships that increasingly shape our lives. The interconnectedness of our lives and how that transcends the boundaries of culture, language, and state determines the realities of the law in the twenty-first century and requires us to consider carefully the interconnection of the general with the personal.
International criminal justice, and in particular the icc, has been overburdened by the unrestrained idealism underlying the ambitions inscribed in its fundaments. However, the resulting acts of legal development have not been without value. On the contrary, it is only when idealism sharpens our view on reality that progress can be achieved. Striving to gradually strengthen international criminal justice is therefore worthwhile. Our best bet is to seek to understand where shortcomings in the existing system are grist to the mill for cynicism and to look for opportunities to make international criminal justice more credible in the eyes of victim populations. The question of how much criminal justice the world can afford is the wrong question to ask. Rather, we should be asking whether the international community, if it is still concerned about establishing trust and peace among nations, can afford to do away with international criminal justice.