OTTAWA – MARCH 26, 2015. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress commends the unanimous adoption by the House of Commons yesterday of a motion by the Honourable Irwin Cotler, M.P., to implement sanctions against human rights abusers. The so-called Magnitsky sanctions mirror those implemented in the United States.
Magnitsky legislation is named after the late Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and fraud investigator who uncovered evidence of a major theft of tax money by government officials – but was then arrested for it himself, imprisoned, beaten, and left to languish for 358 days before he died in jail at age 37. Magnitsky laws impose sanctions outside of Russia against officials who were involved in the case, such as freezing their assets or barring them from bank transactions.
“We applaud the unanimous approval by the House of Commons to implement sanctions against those who commit human rights abuses anywhere in the world,” stated UCC National President Paul Grod. “Enshrining this motion in legislation will send a signal to the Putin regime that they will be held to account for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The text of the motion approved by the House of Commons is below.
“That, in the opinion of the House, Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history, was detained without trial, tortured and consequently died in a Moscow prison on November 16, 2009;
No thorough, independent and objective investigation has been conducted by Russian authorities into the detention, torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky, nor have the individuals responsible been brought to justice;
The unprecedented posthumous trial and conviction of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia for the very fraud he uncovered constitute a violation of the principles of fundamental justice and the rule of law;
Therefore the House calls upon the government to:
Condemn 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;
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;
Explore sanctions as appropriate against any foreign nationals responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights in a foreign country, when authorities in that country are unable or unwilling to conduct a thorough, independent and objective investigation of the violations.”
The UCC joins in the campaign of Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, who is visiting Canada to promote this cause.