26 March 2015 – The Canadian House of Commons has unanimously passed a motion calling for the imposition of targeted visa sanctions and asset freezes against those responsible for Sergei Magnitsky’s torture, death, and the subsequent cover-up.
The motion introduced by Hon. Irwin Cotler MP, Liberal party spokesman on International Justice and one of 21 parliamentarians from 13 countries who form the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Inter-Parliamentary Group, calls on the Canadian government to:
“Explore and encourage sanctions against any foreign nationals who were responsible for the detention, torture or death of Sergei Magnitsky, or who have been involved in covering up the crimes he exposed.” (http://irwincotler.liberal.
ca/blog/motion-sanctions- human-rights-violators- magnitsky-case/)
“The unanimous support of this motion sends a clear signal to human rights violators in Russia and around the world that they will be held to account for their crimes,” said Irwin Cotler MP. “By imposing sanctions, we can impose meaningful penalties on human rights violators and deter future violations.”
The Magnitsky Sanctions motion voted on yesterday in the Canadian parliament also calls on the government to sanction human rights abusers around the world, stating that targeted Magnitsky sanctions are “appropriate against any foreign nationals responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights in a foreign country.”
“We are pleased to see Canada taking such a definitive stance against human rights abusers,” said Bill Browder. “This legislation will be an important step in ensuring that the legacy of Sergei Magnitsky will continue to protect victims of human rights abuse, both in Russia and around the world.”
The Magnitsky Sanctions motion adopted in the Canadian House of Commons follows a private members bill introduced by Irwin Cotler in October 2013, calling for sanctions to be imposed on those responsible for the torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky (https://openparliament.ca/
A similar motion has also been introduced in the Canadian Senate.
Seven Canadian Parliamentarians from four different political parties, along with Bill Browder, leader of the Magnitsky Justice Campaign, presented their support for the motion in a press conference at the Canadian Parliament yesterday. Parliamentarians in attendance included Irwin Cotler MP, Senator? Raynell Andreychuk, Conservative MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs David Anderson, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Marc Garneau, NDP MP Murray Rankin, Conservative Senator Linda Frum, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
“The Sergei Magnitsky case is today recognized as a symbol of what can happen when the principles of fundamental justice and rule of law are manipulated for personal gain,” said Senator Andreychuk, who introduced the motion in the Senate. “I hope that the Senate will soon join with the House of Commons and parliaments around the world to express our commitment to accountability for foreign nationals who commit the most serious violations of human rights.”
“The tragedy of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in Russian custody and appalling posthumous show trial are stark symbols of the precipitous decline of Russian democracy,” added Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Bill Browder’s inexhaustible efforts to commemorate the life of his lawyer and friend are laudable and instructive. I urge the Government to give full support to Mr. Cotler’s call for sanctions that will hold the perpetrators of Sergei Magnitsky’s torture accountable. Today’s motion is an important step in the international effort to achieve justice for Magnitsky and help to guarantee the human rights of all Russian citizens.”
Sergei Magnitsky was killed in Russian pre-trial detention in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million corruption scheme and testifying against the government officials involved.
Following his death, the US passed the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which imposes visa bans and asset freezes against those involved in Sergei’s case. 34 individuals are currently banned from the US under the Act. (http://www.treasury.gov/
resource-center/sanctions/ OFAC-Enforcement/pages/ 20130412.aspx; http://www.treasury.gov/ resource-center/sanctions/ ofac-enforcement/pages/ 20140520.aspx;http://www.treasury.gov/ resource-center/sanctions/ OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/ 20141229.aspx).
The European Parliament passed a similar resolution in 2014, calling for 32 individuals to be sanctioned. (http://www.europarl.europa.
eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA& language=EN&reference=P7-TA- 2014-0258). Motions and resolutions calling for sanctions have also been passed by the OSCE, PACE, the UK, Holland, Sweden, Italy and Poland.
For more information, please contact:
Magnitsky Justice Campaign