European Parliament Calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief to Enact EU-wide Magnitsky Sanctions on Russian Human Rights Abusers

June 11, 2015

11 June 2015 – The European Parliament has adopted the Magnitsky Sanctions Motion which demands that EU Foreign Affairs chief Federica Mogherini act “without delay” and introduce sanctions on Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky case.

The motion proposed by European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the state of EU-Russia relations Gabrielius Landsbergis, MEP, was adopted by 494 votes to 135, with 69 abstentions.

The Magnitsky Sanctions motion highlights the assassinations of Boris Nemtsov, Sergey Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Alexander Litvinenko and others, and demands their proper, independent investigations.

The Magnitsky Sanctions motion adopted by the European Parliament states:

“European Parliament…reiterates its call on the Council to … adopt, upon a proposal which should be submitted without delay by the VP/HR, restrictive measures for the officials involved in the well-documented Magnitsky case.”

Previously, Ms Mogherini, EU VP/HR (Vice President and High Representative) for foreign affairs and security policy, strongly opposed the enactment of EU-wide Magnitsky sanctions, in spite of four resolutions by the European Parliament in their favour. In a letter to the European parliament members on 12 January 2015, Ms Mogherini steadfastly refused to impose sanctions on Russian officials in the Magnitsky case.

“I consider that additional sanctions targeting human rights violators would not be the appropriate response as they would risk neither triggering a change in policy nor improving the human rights situation,” said Ms Mogherini at the time in her letter.

One and a half month after Ms Mogherini’s refusal, Boris Nemtsov, the leading proponent of the EU Magnitsky sanctions, and a key Russian leader of the opposition to president Putin, was assassinated next to the Kremlin.

In his public appearances before his assassination, Boris Nemtsov stated his belief that Magnitsky sanctions, enacted by the United States under the “US Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012,” represented the “most powerful instrument against killers and cleptocrats” (see in Russian at 27 min of youtube video debate with Boris Nemtsov:

Boris Nemtsov campaigned for the adoption of Magnitsky sanctions by the EU and for the expansion of the US Magnitsky sanctions list.

“We owe it to the memory of the courageous Russian patriots Sergei Magnitsky and Boris Nemtsov to create consequences for those in Russia who act with impunity and continue to cover up brutal murders with a straight face in the international settings. Inaction by Ms Mogherini today, after the fifth vote by the European Parliament, is no longer acceptable,” said Bill Browder, leader of the Magnitsky Justice campaign.

For more information, please contact:

Magnitsky Justice Campaign
+44 2074401777
Twitter: @KatieFisher__


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