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Irwin Cotler introduces legislation to condemn corruption and impunity in Russia in the case and death of Sergei Magnitsky

Posted on October 31, 2011

COTLER INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO CONDEMN CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY IN RUSSIA IN THE CASE AND DEATH OF SERGEI MAGNITSKY

BILL CALLS FOR CANADIAN SANCTIONS TO HOLD RUSSIAN OFFICIALS TO ACCOUNT IN INTERNATIONAL CAUSE CÉLÈBRE

Ottawa – Liberal Justice and Human Rights Critic, Irwin Cotler, has introduced Bill C-339, An Act to condemn corruption and impunity in Russia in the case and death of Sergei Magnitsky, which has emerged as an international cause célèbre.

Said Cotler, “The tragic torture and death in detention of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered the largest international criminal conspiracy and tax fraud in Russian history and paid for it with his life, is a looking glass into the pervasive culture of corruption and impunity implicating senior government officials in Russia today.”

Cotler added, “The bill notes that despite extensive documented evidence incriminating senior Russian officials in serious human rights violations, in the embezzlement of funds from the Russian treasury, and in the retaliation against Mr. Magnitsky, none of the individuals responsible have been identified, apprehended, or brought to justice in Russia.”

Magnitsky’s death has fuelled international outrage, including condemnations from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague, as well as from the European Parliament, which recommended tough sanctions against the Russian officials responsible and implicated.

The legislation called upon the Canadian government to prepare a list of individuals responsible for the torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky, for the conspiracy to defraud the Russian Federation of taxes paid by the foreign investment company known as Hermitage, and for the criminal cover-up and shielding of the violators themselves. It imposes sanctions on the listed individuals and their family members, such that they are inadmissible for the purposes of entering or remaining in Canada.

Cotler concluded, “The ongoing impunity, and indeed, rewarding of the responsible Russian officials is as scandalous as it is shocking. This legislation will uphold the rule of law, will assure Russian human rights defenders that they are not alone, will protect Canadian business interests in Russia, and in particular will remember and honour the heroic sacrifice of Sergei Magnitsky.”

Irwin Cotler is the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, who previously served as international legal counsel to Russian political prisoners and dissidents.

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