Norway Recommends Bringing Magnitsky Sanctions to the UN Security Council

May 23, 2013

Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Espen Barth Eide has recommended bringing the issue of Magnitsky sanctions to the UN Security Council. Responding to a group of Norwegian parliamentarians, Minister Eide pointed out that the decisions of the UN Council are binding on all UN member states and would be a proper forum to consider the issue of sanctions and asset freezes in relation to Russian officials in the Magnitsky case, as opposed to an individual action by Norway.

In his letter to a group of Norwegian lawmakers (available at:, Foreign Affairs Minister Eide said that Magnitsky case has now become symbolic of the negative trend in human rights in Russia, and “raises the question of the Russian legal system independence.”

“I also agree that Magnitsky case has become of symbolic significance as an expression of the negative trend we are now seeing of an increased pressure on human rights, civil society and political opposition in Russia,” said Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister.

Minister Eide shared the concern expressed by Norwegian members of parliament over the posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky carried out by Russian authorities in spite of it being three years after his death in police custody.

“I share their [Norwegian members of parliament] concern about how Russian authorities have handled the supervision of Sergei Magnitsky death in custody. The posthumous trial of Magnitsky is just as disturbing,” said Minister Eide.

Responding to the matter of introducing visa sanctions and asset freezes on Russian officials in the Magnitsky case in Norway, Minister Eide suggested that the best forum to consider it would be the UN Security Council, rather than a unilateral action by Norway, who is not an EU member.

“When it comes to the issue of sanctions and the freezing of funds, I underline that the basis for the Norwegian sanctions policy is that sanctions should be based on binding decisions of the UN Security Council, such decisions are also legally binding for all UN member states. Norway has no tradition of unilateral action against individual countries or persons, and in our opinion it is not necessarily legitimate and have the legal effect to be effective,” said Minister Eide.

Minister Eide stressed that Norway will continue to use its membership in international organizations, such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe, to individually and jointly with other like-minded people raise the human rights agenda in Russia, including through the strengthening of the monitoring mechanism at the Council of Europe, of which Russia is a member.


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