The norm, which is related to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, will allow the introduction of restrictions also against organizations and regimes that violate human rights or use terrorist methods and cyber attacks.
The law, which was supported by 53 of the 65 senators present, will now be signed by the president. Only senator Jana Zwyrtek Hamplová (for Nezavislé) criticized the norm, according to her the law is ambiguous. However, she did not vote against the amendment, like 11 other senators, she abstained from voting.
According to the draft, the government will decide on inclusion on the sanctions list on the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Objections against inclusion should be directed to the same ministry, the cabinet will again decide on them. People on the sanction list will also be able to defend themselves through a court, which will be the Municipal Court in Prague in the first instance. The law will allow the use of sanctions other than those listed on the EU sanctions list.
On the recommendation of the constitutional and legal committee, the Chamber of Deputies shortened by a third to 30 days the period that the government will have for reviewing the decision on inclusion on the sanctions list. It also clarified the list of regulations on the basis of which it will be possible to consider actions punishable under the Sanctions Act. According to its creators, the parliamentary amendments are intended to guarantee that foreigners or foreign companies are legitimately included on the sanction list.
The cabinet of Petr Fiala (ODS) in the program statement assumed the adoption of the so-called Magnitsky Act for better enforcement of the protection of human rights by the end of next year. The preparation of the draft was accelerated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among the EU countries, France, the Netherlands, Latvia and Estonia have similar laws. The law stipulates the conditions for registering entities on the national sanctions list and the procedure for preparing proposals for the inclusion of entities on the EU sanctions list at the initiative of the Czech Republic.
According to Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates), the Czechia will rely on sanctions regimes arising from EU law. Priority will be given to negotiations on sanctions measures at the level of the entire EU. “If we are not successful in the EU, we can take our own measures. At the same time, we do not have to wait for the EU if we recognize that the interest is strong enough,” said the minister earlier. He recalled the planned creation of a new department of sanctions policies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the beginning of next year.
The law, named after the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, was signed in December 2012 by then US President Barack Obama. The United States banned him from entering the country and ordered account freezes for people the US says were involved in human rights abuses and may have been involved in Magnitsky’s unexplained death in a Moscow detention center. Magnitsky was arrested in November 2008 for alleged tax evasion shortly after he accused Russian police and justice officials of embezzlement.
Magnitsky was hired in Russia by British-American financier Bill Browder, who in July 2013 was sentenced in absentia by a Moscow court to nine years for tax evasion. Browder claimed that he was the victim of a corruption conspiracy. After Magnitsky’s death, he got the law passed in the US.