The Magnitsky Act : A Crucial Multinational Legislation for Post COVID-19 World

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The ABC Research team understood the relevancy of the Magnitsky Act, multinational legislation for the emerging new world, therefore, is conducting research on the Magnitsky Act legislated by various countries, and publish the same in due course of time.

New Delhi (ABC Live India): The indicators of the current geopolitics are changing swiftly, as the COVID-19 pandemic is proving as a catalytic force for the same, the paradigm of international agenda has been moving from hardcore economic reforms to the human rights violations and eradication of corruption.   

The ABC Research team understands the relevancy of the multinational legislation for the emerging new world, therefore is researching on the Magnitsky Act legislated by the various countries, and will publish the same in due course of time.

Below is the curtain-raiser information on the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act is the multinational legislation enacted for governmental sanctions against foreign individuals who have committed human rights abuses or been involved in significant corruption.

The United States was the first country to pass the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on the officials involved in human rights abuses or been involved in significant corruption after in Russia Sergei Magnitsky, who was a tax accountant and accused Russian tax officials and law enforcement officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates from Hermitage Capital died in Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility in November 2009.

The ABC Research Team reported that as of today, the following nine countries have enacted the Magnitsky Act part from European Union:

  • The United States
  • Russia
  • The United Kingdom
  • Estonia
  • Canada
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Gibraltar
  • Jersey
  • Kosovo.
  • European Union

The United States the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) 2012 further amended in 2016 authorizes the President to impose economic sanctions and deny entry into the United States to any foreign person identified as engaging in human rights abuse or corruption.

In 2012, the Russian government responded to the new American Magnitsky Act by passing the Dima Yakovlev Law banning Americans from adopting Russian children; and providing for sanctions against U.S. citizens involved in violations of the human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.

On 8 December 2016, Estonia introduced a new law that disallowed foreigners convicted of human rights abuses from entering Estonia. The law, which was passed unanimously in the Estonian Parliament, states that it entitles Estonia to disallow entry to people if, among other things, "There is information or good reason to believe" that they took part in activities that resulted in the "death or serious damage to the health of a person.

On 21 February 2017, the UK House of Commons unanimously passed an amendment to the country's Criminal Finances Bill inspired by the Magnitsky Act which was further fortified by the enactment of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 would allow the government to freeze the assets of international human rights violators.

In October 2017, Canada passed its own Magnitsky legislation as the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act enables targeted measures against foreign nationals who, according to the Governor in Council (GIC), are "responsible for or complicit in gross violations of human rights, or are public officials or an associate of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in acts of significant corruption.

On 16 November 2017, the 8th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky's death, the Parliament of Lithuania (Seimas) unanimously passed their version of Magnitsky legislation.

On 8 February 2018, the Parliament of Latviaaccepted attachment of a law of sanctions, inspired by the Sergei Magnitsky case, to ban foreigners deemed guilty of human rights abuses from entering the country.

In March 2018, Gibraltar passed Magnitsky legislation.

Jersey passed its Sanctions and Asset Freezing (Jersey) Law (SAFL) in December 2018, going into effect on 19 July 2019. The new law reincorporated the effects of the previous Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Jersey) Law 2011 (TAFL) and the United Nations Financial Sanctions (Jersey) Law 2017 (UNFSL), which is repealed.

On 29 January 2020, Kosovo passed its Magnitsky law.

On 7 December 2020, the European Union passed the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime or the so-called European Magnitsky Act which is a new foreign policy tool that can be deployed by the EU to deter and punish state and non-state actors responsible for gross human rights violations worldwide.

Apart from the above countries, the following countries are ether seriously working for enacting the Magnitsky Act, or had exercised for the same remained unsuccessful:

Ukraine

In December 2017, there was a Magnitsky bill introduced into the Ukrainian parliament. The bill would have given authority to sanction foreign individuals who grossly violate human rights through the use of visa bans, asset freezes, and restrictions on asset transfer. However the bill was quickly tabled, and in September 2018, it was removed from the legislative agenda.

Australia

Member of Parliament Michael Danby introduced a Magnitsky bill in the Australian parliament in December 2018, but the legislation is still pending for approval of the Australian parliament.

Moldova

In July 2018, a Magnitsky bill was introduced in the Moldovan parliament, mandating sanctions against individuals who "have committed or contributed to human rights violations and particularly serious acts of corruption that are harmful to international political and economic stability buts to date legislation is under consideration.

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