United States : : Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act

United States-01On 16 November 2012, the day of the third anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in custody, the U.S House of Representatives approved the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act imposing visa bans and asset freezes on officials responsible for the ill-treatment and death of Mr. Magnitsky, who benefited from these crimes, who concealed those responsible and who were involved in the crimes he had uncovered as well as other gross abuses of rights of whistle-blowers and human rights defenders with an overwhelming bipartisan support (365 in favour, 43 against).

On the 6 December 2012, the US Senate approved, with overwhelming bi-partisan support (92 to 4), the same Magnitsky Law passed by the House a few weeks earlier. The Magnitsky Law was passed as part of a broader piece of legislation called the, the ‘Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012’, which normalizes trade relations with Russia following its entry to the World Trade Organisation. President Barak Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into Law on the 14 December 2012.

On 12 April 2013, The Treasury Department released the names of 18 Russian officials who will be subject to visa bans and asset freezes under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2013, which requires the U.S. government to identify Russian human rights violators. 16 of the officials named were directly involved in the case of Magnistky, an anti-corruption lawyer who died in Russian prison, allegedly after being tortured by his captors.