US President Barack Obama signed the Pentagon’s 2017 budget into law, which expanded the use of the Magnitsky Act on accountability in the area of human rights. Henceforth, the act applies to all countries in the world and will enable Washington to impose sanctions against individuals involved in corruption and human rights violations. Previously, the act applied solely to Russian citizens, Deutsche Welle reported.
The document, in particular, allows the US president to "impose sanctions against any foreign person" if there exist any "convincing reasons" for accusing him/her of "extrajudicial reprisals, use of torture or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." In addition, the law allows for imposing sanctions against governmental officials or members of their closest entourage involved in acts of corruption and bribery.
The sanctions include the denial of entry to the United States, obtaining an American visa, as well as the blocking of assets under the US jurisdiction.
The force of the decree lasts for up to six-years; however, the actual restrictions regarding the individuals are unlimited and can be revoked only by the American President.
On Thursday, December 8th, the US Senate approved legislation to expand the Magnitsky Act to apply to all countries of the world.
The United States adopted the Magnitsky Act at the end of 2012. The restrictions introduce personal sanctions against citizens whom the US government considers to be complicit in the violation of human rights and the rule of law in Russia.