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Sergei Magnitsky and beyond – fighting impunity by targeted sanctions

With the adoption of a draft resolution as part of a report presented by Donald Anderson (United Kingdom, SOC) on “Sergei Magnitsky and beyond – fighting impunity by targeted sanctions”, the Legal Affairs Committee wants to reaffirm its commitment to the fight against impunity for perpetrators of serious human rights violations and against corruption as a threat to the rule of law.

The committee “encourages” national parliaments to consider passing “Magnitsky laws” providing for targeted sanctions - such as visa bans and account freezes - against individuals found personally responsible for serious human rights violations and who enjoy impunity in their own countries, on political or corrupt grounds.

“Global Magnitsky laws that avoid singling out individual countries, whilst paying tribute to the lawyer who lost his life for defending the truth, are excellent tools in the fight against impunity,” the rapporteur stressed. “Targeted sanctions applied to individuals avoid economic hardship for ordinary people and hold to account only the individuals directly responsible for the impugned actions. Their very existence should also have a dissuasive effect on potential perpetrators of serious human rights violations who feel shielded from being held to account in their own countries, but wish to enjoy the fruits of their misdeeds abroad,” he concluded.

When enacting such legislation, States shall ensure that it lays down a fair and transparent procedure for the imposition of targeted sanctions as indicated in respect of terrorist offences in Resolution 1597 (2008) on “UN Security Council and EU anti-terrorism blacklists”.The draft resolution also calls on States to refrain from cooperating with any politically-motivated prosecutions relating to the Magnitsky affair.

The report is due for debate at the PACE winter session in Strasbourg (21-25 January 2019). It is a follow-up to Resolution 1966 (2014) on “Refusing impunity for the killers of Sergei Magnitsky”.