Magnitsky acts and the future of accountability for violations of international human rights law: An interview with Bill Browder

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Since the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail cell in 2009, US financier turned anti-corruption activist Bill Browder has led an almost one man crusade to strengthen national legal frameworks and responses to alleged gross violations of human rights and/or cases of grand corruption (which are linked to serious human rights violations ). Over the intervening ten years, Mr Browder’s determination and …

Western States flex their ‘Magnitsky muscles’ to secure accountability for human rights abuses in China

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

With the return of the US to the UN stage, geopolitical tensions surrounding human rights, especially relating to alleged violations of human rights law by China, Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have resurfaced, dominating , for example, the recently concluded 46th session of the Human Rights Council . Central to the renewed tensions with China is deep US concern about the treatment of the country’s Muslim minority population …

EU adopts ‘Magnitsky’ style individual sanctions regime for grave human rights violations

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Uncategorized

Today, 7 December 2020, the EU formally adopted a decision and regulation establishing its new ‘Magnitsky-style’ individual sanctions regime for serious human rights, only a couple days ahead of 10th December – UN Human Rights Day. The step, coming 77 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is expected to make a significant contribution towards global human …

EU Council paralysis over situation in Belarus demonstrates urgent need for EU Magnitsky act

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

As the human rights situation in Belarus has continued to deteriorate, efforts by the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarussian officials have stalled due to a failure to meet unanimity within the EU Council (i.e. the Union’s body comprised of heads of member States that is responsible for making unanimous decisions on its Common Foreign and Security Policy). This …

Rapid expansion of ‘Magnitsky-style’ human rights sanctions regimes underlines need for international coordination and norms

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Although July and August are traditionally ‘slow’ months for both governments and the UN, this year they have coincided with an explosion of interest in, and movement towards, so-called ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanction regimes – geared towards holding those guilty of serious human rights violations to individual account. First out the block in early July was the UK, which on 6 July …

New UK Magnitsky-style human rights sanction regime ‘an important step forward for accountability’

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

Last Monday (6 July 2020), the UK became the latest country to join the growing ‘ Magnitsky momentum ’ by passing the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations , allowing the Government to sanction alleged perpetrators of the gravest forms of human rights violations. Introducing the Regulations in Parliament, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said : “Today this Government and this House sends a very clear message on …

Towards a new accountability? EU adds to growing momentum behind ‘Magnitsky acts’

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 9th December, the day before International Human Rights Day, EU foreign ministers took the historic decision to begin work on an EU-wide ‘Magnitsky act.’ The decision came just over a year after the Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok, gave a landmark speech to his European counterparts in which he drew attention to the crucial importance of accountability for serious human …

The future of human rights accountability edges closer: Magnitsky laws move to centre stage in the US and Europe

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The extrajudicial killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and the international reaction thereto, could well represent a defining moment in the evolution of systems of international accountability for serious human rights violations. In particular, the US response to the killing is being shaped (or, from the perspective of President Trump, perhaps dictated) …

The death of Jamal Khashoggi and the growing prominence of global ‘Magnitsky’ laws as a means of securing accountability

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

What do the Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have in common? Both victims of shocking human rights violations, including torture and, ultimately, extrajudicial killing, their cases have helped to catalyse an important new trend in how the international community addresses serious infractions of international human rights law. In particular, both killings are closely associated …

Time for a ‘Universal Magnitsky Act’?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Mary Grace Carey, Universal Rights Group Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In 2009, Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison after investigating a $230 million tax fraud involving Russian officials. A subsequent investigation into his case by the Kremlin’s own human rights commission, ordered and endorsed (in July 2011) by the-then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, found that in order to silence Magnitsky, corrupt officials had accused him of …