With a nearly unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) approved a resolution confirming its commitment to the fight against the impunity of perpetrators of serious human rights violations and against corruption as a threat to the rule of law.
Only three members of PACE — Tiny Kox and Henk Overbeek from the Netherlands and Andrej Hunko from Denmark,– voted against the resolution, which was approved with six abstentions.
In the current resolution PACE recalls that after passage of its Resolution 1966 (2014) on the murder of Sergei Magnitsky, Russian authorities harassed the victim’s family and his former client, William Browder, instead of holding to account the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the crimes committed against Magnitsky and disclosed by him.
The adopted resolution, based on a report drafted by Donald Anderson, a lawmaker from the United Kingdom, recalls that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States have adopted “Magnitsky laws” to enable their governments to impose targeted sanctions. According to the text, the most recent such instruments cover “any and all perpetrators of such violations enjoying impunity in their own countries.”
The parliamentarians called on all Council of Europe member states to consider enacting legal instruments enabling their government to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and affiliated companies reasonably believed to be responsible for serious human rights violations “for which they enjoy impunity on political or corrupt grounds.”
Lord Anderson, a British lawmaker and rapporteur, said: “The aim of the report is to encourage member States to follow the example of those who have introduced broad sanctions, including asset freezes and visa bans, against those who commit massive human rights abuses. In my judgment, there is already a tide flowing in favour of this, with more and more countries extending this area against the villains who abuse human rights.”