Why do we have the Magnitsky Act?
Why is Putin working so hard to fight its effects and undermine or repeal it?
Why is it so revolutionary in the fight for human rights and against corruption?
Bill Browder did more than just get justice for Putin's brutal treatment and murder of Sergei Magnitsky. He established the legal basis for targeting corruption as the root cause for human rights abuses.
During his investigation, Magnitsky was arrested and died in jail in Russia from his mistreatment.
When Magnitsky died, Bill Browder took on the work of fighting the corruption in Russia that had killed him.
He lobbied Congress, which passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012.
A year later, another 12 were added.
Three years later, Congress enacted the *new* Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (2016).
The new Act amplifies the original 2012 Act's powers in major areas.
This overcomes the stumbling blocks of earlier int'l human rights law in 5 major ways.
It addresses human rights crimes against *other countries' citizens*.
Prior int'l human rights laws *only* applied to a state's *own* citizens. States had no jurisdiction over crimes vs non-citizens.
It targets individuals, rather than entire country.
Corrupt actors could shelter behind the sovereignty of their country, even when the country was sanctioned. Dictators live large, while citizens suffer.
It doesn't rely on a U.N. treaty.
This unilateral approach avoids the problematic vetoes of the UN Security Council, and the UN's weak enforcement capabilities (apart from military intervention).
It doesn't require a legal link between sanctioned individuals and a violation of human rights.
Corruption *per se* is sufficient; evidence of relation to a human rights violation is unnecessary.
It allows and even *encourages* the submission of credible reports of human rights violations from NGO's.
Human rights & corruption watchdogs now have an easier, though limited, path to justice and deterrence.
🇨🇩Democractic Republic of the Congo
This is why Putin has been lobbying, litigating and even subverting U.S. politicians to try to eliminate or neutralize it.
He pressed the Obama Admin and U.S. Congress to lay the foundation for law enforcement powers that overcome the traditional barricades erected by dictators and kleptocrats.