- The amendments recently proposed to the law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” have raised a number of questions among both lawyers and our people living abroad. And the primary issue is the new principles on loss of citizenship. Because an Azerbaijani citizen can be no way deprived of Azerbaijani citizenship according to the Constitution of Azerbaijan. How would you explain it?
- You’re right. But one must not mix up the issues of citizenship deprivation and loss of citizenship. According to article #53.1 of the Constitution, an Azerbaijani citizen can be no way deprived of Azerbaijani citizenship. But if you take a close look at article #52 of the Constitution, you’d see that citizenship is clearly defined. According to the definition, a person who belongs to or has any political and juridical connection with or even has mutual rights and duties with the Azerbaijani state is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan. I’m asking you to pay a special attention to the issue of a citizen’s political and juridical connection with the state. Because the amendments made to the law we’ve presented and norms of this kind that exist in laws of other countries stand on this issue that I’ve mentioned above. Therefore, the amendments proposed to the law contain the principles of loss of citizenship, not deprivation of it. The new amendment which is proposed (that is, the new edition of article #18) is dealing with the principles of loss of citizenship, not deprivation of it.
- And do other countries also have such norms?
According to the German law on citizenship, if a person is accepted to military service abroad, his citizenship is considered lost. Or according to the Constitution of Italy, no one can be deprived of citizenship. However if a person is accepted to military service in any international organizations which Italy has not joined, in this case the citizenship is considered lost according to the Law on Citizenship.
- The legal side of the issue is clear. However, the reality is that there are a few Azerbaijanis living abroad for many years, who have acquired citizenship of those countries and at the same time they haven’t lost Azerbaijani citizenship. What about them? Do they bear any criminal responsibility for such cases?
The situation that you mentioned happened as there were gaps in the legislation and those issues were being regulated. Azerbaijan does not allow dual citizenship, but unfortunately there are such cases and in fact these are illegal. As far as the criminal responsibility for such cases, our compatriots shouldn’t worry. Before the law coming into force, the provisions of the draft law regarding criminal responsibility shall not apply to the persons who acquired citizenship of other countries. However after the law is passed, it will apply to all cases. Therefore, our Diaspora organizations should implement some works in this field related to legal education.
- However, a number of media outlets are connecting this law with the amendment made to the Federal Law on Citizenship of the Russian Federation in April that is facilitating access to Russian citizenship.
- It is absurd to think so for two reasons. First of all, a large number of our compatriots are living not only in Russia, but also in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey and many other countries. It is positive that our compatriots living in foreign countries obtain citizenship taking part in business, social and political life of those countries. We are only recalling with this law that not giving information about it is a violation of law. Secondly, the State Duma has recently made an amendment to the citizenship law in the third reading in Russia and an annex was proposed to article #330 of the Russian Criminal Code which is similar to our draft law. In this example I want to show that the amendments we made â€‹â€‹to the law have no other meaning. Just all states began seriously regulating issues on citizenship and migration in the era of globalization. This issue is particularly relevant for rapidly developing countries, including Azerbaijan.