Monday

27th Feb 2017

European MPs call for international enquiry into Magnitsky affair

Sixty nine MPs from across Europe have called for an international enquiry into the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

The deputies - who hail mostly from EU countries, but also Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland - signed the motion at the human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe (CoE), in Strasbourg on Wednesday (25 April).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Putin's Russia: 1,010 people died in pre-trial detention between 2009 and 2011 (Photo: kremlin.ru)

If the council's steering group at its meeting on Friday gives the green light, the motion will trigger an in-depth investigation on the model of previous enquiries into CIA renditions, organ smuggling in Kosovo and death squads in Belarus.

"The competent authorities have ... failed to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible for Mr Magnitsky's death," the motion says.

"For the sake of its own credibility and that of the Russian Federation, the [CoE] should now engage in co-operation with Russia, through the preparation of a dedicated report, in order to fully elucidate this landmark case."

The man behind the initiative, Dutch centre-right MP Pieter Omtzigt, said the level of political support for his proposal "suggests the truly emblematic nature of the Magnitsky case."

His words echo EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who said in a letter to outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on 18 April that the Magnitsky affair "has come to symbolise the state of the rule of law and judiciary in the Russian Federation."

Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old father-of-two who was allegedly tortured and beaten to death in a Russian jail in 2009 after exposing a high-level tax-embezzlement gang in the interior ministry.

The EU has in the past said it might follow the US by imposing a travel ban or asset freeze on a list of 60-or-so suspects, but only after Russia completes its internal investigation. The outcome of the Russian probe - which excludes 59 of them to focus on potential negligence by a prison doctor - was on Tuesday postponed for the 12th time since it began.

Magnitsky's family and former employers expect Russian CoE envoys to try to quash the motion at Friday's meeting.

Feature

Armenia-Azerbaijan war: line of contact

“Front-line coffee is the best coffee in the world”, an Armenian soldier told EUobserver, with morale a vital weapon in the conflict with Azerbaijan.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations