Magnitsky bill

A Bill that cracks down on corruption, in Russia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Magnitsky bill, also known as the Magnitsky ActMagnitsky law or, by its formal title, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is a bipartisan bill which was passed by the U.S. Congress in November–December 2012.[1][2] The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 14, 2012. [3]




In 2009, lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison after exposing massive fraud involving Russian tax officials.

In June 2012, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the bill as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 4405).[4] The main intention of the law was to punish Russian officials that were thought to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky by prohibiting their entrance to the United States and use of their banking system.[1] The legislation was to be taken up by a Senate panel the next week and was cited in a broader review of the mounting tensions in the international relationship.[5][6] The bill was sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin. The list of Russian officials who are supposed to be subjects of the bill was soon published.[7]

In November 2012, provisions of the Magnitsky bill were attached to a House bill (H.R. 6156) normalizing trade with Russia (i.e. repealing Jackson–Vanik amendment) andMoldova.[2][8] On 6 December 2012 U.S. Senate passed the House version of the law.[1] The law was signed by President Obama on December 14, 2012.[9][10][11][12]

Russian government reaction

Main article: Dima Yakovlev Law

It was reported that Russian authorities, acting through Goldman Sachs Bank, hired a public relations company led by Kenneth Duberstein to lobby against the legislation.[13][14]The Russian foreign ministry has called the Senate decision a “performance in the theater of the absurd”,[15] and Russian President Vladmir Putin said, “This is very bad. This, of course, poisons our relationship” with the United States.[16]

While Russian officials desired to pass a proportional response in their own legislature, a proposal to similarly deny entrance to Americans guilty of gross human rights violations[17]would have less of an impact on the United States than the Magnitsky bill, since fewer Americans take vacations or own assets in Russia than Russians do in the United States. On December 19, 2012, the State Duma voted 400 to 4 to ban the international adoption of Russian children into the United States. The bill was unofficially named after Dmitri Yakovlev(ru) (Chase Harrison), a Russian toddler who died in 2008 of heat stroke after neglect from his adoptive American father.[18][19]

Positive reception

Australian expatriate jurist Geoffrey Roberston, who is representing some of the Magnitksy campaigners, has described the Act as “one of the most important new developments in human rights”. He says it provides “a way of getting at the Auschwitz train drivers, the apparatchiks, the people who make a little bit of money from human rights abuses and generally keep under the radar.”[20]


  1. a b c Kathy Lally and Will Englund (6 December 2012). “Russia fumes as U.S. Senate passes Magnitsky law aimed at human rights”The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  2. a b Rep. David “Dave” Camp [R-MI4]. “H.R. 6156: Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012”. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  3. ^ “Obama signs Russia rights law despite Putin fury”. AFP. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  4. ^ “Russia Human Rights Legislation Passes Foreign Affairs Committee”, committee press release, June 07, 2012.
  5. ^ Baker, Peter“Syria Crisis and Putin’s Return Chill U.S. Ties With Russia”The New York Times, June 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  6. ^ Belton, Catherine (2012-06-26). “‘Magnitsky law’ makes progress in Senate”. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  7. ^ “The people who Senator Cardin wants to punish (Russian)”. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  8. ^ Jeremy W. Peters (November 16, 2012). “House Passes Russia Trade Bill With Eye on Rights Abuses”The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  9. ^ “Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 6156”. 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  10. ^ Andrey Fedyashin (15 December 2012). “Russia-US: Normalization fraught with conflictill”The Moscow Times. The Voice of Russia. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  11. ^ “Obama signs Magnitsky Act linked with Jackson-Vanik Amendment termination”. Interfax. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  12. ^ “Obama Signs Magnitsky Bill”Reuters. The Moscow Times. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  13. ^ Adam Kredo (2012-07-19). “BANK OF PUTIN. Goldman Sachs lobbying against human rights legislation”. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  14. ^ Unlawful Arrest by Vladimir Abarinov
  15. ^ “Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia in connection with the approval of «S. Magnitsky law» by the United States Senate”. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  16. ^ Reuters (2012-12-20). “Putin Says U.S. Human Rights Law Poisons Russia-U.S. Ties”The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  17. ^ “Answer of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov for a question of Russian mass media concerning approval of “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” by the United States Senate, Dublin”. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  18. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (2012-12-19). “Russia Vote Favors Ban on Adoptions by Americans”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  19. ^ Tom Jackman, Toddler’s tragic death in Herndon, in overheated car, continues as political issue in Russia four years later // Washington Post, 12/12/2012
  20. ^ ‘International human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson speaks on fate of Assange’, Australian Human Rights Commission, 2012-12-18

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