Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Magnitsky Act may be extended to Belarusian officials


Unated States senators are ready to extended the scope of the Magnitsky Act. Sanctions may be applied to Ukrainian and Belarusian officials, Rosbalt news agency reports.

Former Ukrainian MP Ostap Semerak said in an interview with Zerkalo Nedeli that the US Senate planned initially to apply the Act to officials suspected of serious human rights abuses in all countries. The adopted act has the narrow scope for subjective reasons: the US has many important partners in the Afghan campaign among Asian countries. So, it is more reasonable for the US to apply sanctions to officials of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Semerak noted a kind of evolution in US's approach to the Magnitsky Act. A list of criteria that can lead to sanctions if violated was proposed instead of a list of names subject to restrictions. The criteria relate to actions or inaction by official representatives that significantly restrict rights and liberties of a person.

"It is now considered whether the Russian MPs, who voted for the law banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans, fall under these criteria," Semerak said.

The politician thinks the Magnitsky Act can be extended to Ukrainian and Belarusian officials in the nearest 6 months.

The American law imposes visa sanctions on the Russians, who are considered by the congressmen to be involved in human rights abuses, in particular in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a consultant of investment advisory firm Hermitage Capital Management, in jail in 2009.

The so called Dima Yakovlev Law, adopted by the State Duma in response to the Magnitsky Law, came into force on January 1, 2013. The law bans US citizens to adopt Russian orphans and bans the activity of organisations and bodies involved in selecting and passing children for adoption by citizens of the US.