U.K. Boasts Global Magnitsky ‘Human Rights Sanctions Regime,’ as Pompeo Urges Collaboration
July 7, 2020 (EIRNS)—With much fanfare, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab went before the House of Commons yesterday to announce the adoption of a “Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime,” naming a total of 49 people (Russians, Saudis, North Koreans, and two generals from Myanmar) who will be sanctioned under the new system, allegedly for committing “some of the worst human rights abuses in recent memory.” In announcing the new regime, which is an adjunct to the 2018 Magnitsky Amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering legislation, Raab insisted that it shows that “Global Britain” is committed to “acting as a force for good in the world,” and is taking the moral high ground in targeting “thugs of despots and henchmen of dictators.”
Not exactly. In the name of defending human rights and combatting illicit financial activity, the U.K.’s new regime is intended to serve as a political weapon wielded against Russia, China and other “enemies,” as the Magnitsky Act does in the U.S. The authors of that legislative obscenity named it for Sergei Magnitsky, whom they claim was killed in prison by the Russian government in 2009 after he allegedly unearthed major government tax and financial fraud. Since its 2012 passage, it has been used for purely geopolitical purposes largely against Russia. It’s instructive that Magnitsky’s partner, longtime British agent Bill Browder, was present when Raab spoke and gushed that the new regime represented “a huge milestone in our ten-year campaign for justice.” The British claim that the 25 Russians sanctioned under the new regime were involved in Magnitsky’s death.
The U.K.’s new sanctions regime is described as the first time it will be acting alone in this area, not depending on the European Union or the UN. But as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in his effusive July 6 statement, the sanctions regime “marks the beginning of a new era for U.K. sanctions policy and cooperation between our two democracies.” The U.K.’s new powers, he said, “will complement the efforts of the United States and Canada, further enhancing our ability to act together.”
Those sanctioned will have their assets frozen and will be barred from entering the U.K. In his speech, Raab was careful not to mention China, although made it clear China could be sanctioned in the future if it fails “to live up to its international obligations and its international responsibilities” particularly in relation to “what we’ve seen in Hong Kong.” The spokesman for the Russian Embassy in London issued a statement warning that the U.K.’s action “will not improve Russian-British relations....The imposition of the U.K. sanctions against 25 Russian nationals whom London considers involved in human rights violations is an unfriendly and outrageous step.” Among those sanctioned, TASS reported, are Russian Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin, and Deputy Minister of the Interior Alexei Anichin. The inclusion of these individuals, as well as judges, “sparks the most outrage,” the spokesman stated. “In Russia, the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office and the court work independently from the executive power and are led solely by the law. Russia reserves its right for retaliatory steps over the unfriendly decision of the U.K.”