EU countries have approved a new sanctions regime for human rights violations

From December 8, EU States can propose candidates for the inclusion of foreign defendants in the sanctions lists in accordance with the new global EU sanctions regime for human rights violations. As a European official explained to reporters on condition of anonymity, human rights are violated in different parts of the world, so the European Union has a “large selection” of potential candidates, but they will need a unanimous decision of the member States to be approved.

On Monday, the EU foreign ministers approved the new EU sanctions regime at their face-to-face meeting in Brussels. The decision to impose sanctions was published in the official journal; it comes into force on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, we have too much choice among those who violate human rights,” the European representative said.

It is still difficult to imagine how the first potential defendants will be selected, but most likely, the list will have a wide geographical scope. “Perhaps the first list will reflect a whole set of human rights violations in different parts of the world,” the source said. However, no one will announce the identity of future persons involved in the sanctions lists not to allow them to withdraw their funds from the European Union.

EU countries can proceed “from the current agenda or pay attention to already open sanctions regimes.” “Any state can make proposals, but the case will be moved only if there is a consensus,” the European official said.

He added that there are already “geographical” sanctions regimes for human rights violations, particularly in Venezuela, Iran, and Myanmar. In total, such sanctions have already been imposed against 200 individuals and organizations.

But for the introduction of restrictive measures, we have repeatedly had to adopt a separate sanctions regime on a geographical basis, and now this is no longer necessary.

The EU representative acknowledged that the idea of a European regime of global sanctions is based on the experience of the “Magnitsky Act” adopted in the United States in December 2012 against Russians who, according to the American authorities, are involved in human rights violations. Later, the act was given the status of global law, and sanctions should not be limited to citizens of the Russian Federation.

But the sanctions regime adopted in Europe is not a complete analog of the American “Magnitsky Act.”

“The mechanisms of sanctions in the US and the EU differ quite seriously, and our initiative is not a continuation of the US agenda … The Magnitsky Act, even judging by the name, was initially focused on a specific case, but the EU’s global sanctions regime has a different background. We will not choose any special name,” the European representative said.

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