The Global Magnitsky Laws: How they can protect human rights defenders, including lawyers

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the Italian Federation for Human Rights, Italian National Bar Association and Justice Abroad arranged a conference bringing together international experts, human rights defenders, lawyers, and practitioners to discuss the impact of Magnitsky Laws and their potential to protect human rights defenders across the world by comparing and contrasting different national legislations and various case studies. Presentation of Turkey Human Rights Accountability Project was also made in the conference.

Moderated by: Owen Bowcott, former The Guardian journalist


  • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, IBAHRI Director:

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC explained IBAHRI’s activities on promoting human rights, the situation in Turkey and how Magnitsky sanctions may act as a deterrent against human rights abusers.

  • Bill Browder, Head of Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign

Bill Browder made a presentation on the inefficacy of international mechanisms prior to the adoption of Magnitsky laws on holding human rights abusers accountable, how to effectively utilize Magnitsky mechanism and the current legal landscape of Global Magnitsky laws.

  • Amanda Strayer, Associate Attorney for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First

Amanda Strayer from Human Rights First, the US based NGO, summarized the activities of Human Rights First, legal framework of the US human rights sanction laws including Global Magnitsky Act. Ms Strayer also explained practical and legal considerations as to targeted sanctions applications. 

  • Dr. Kerem Altıparmak, Deputy Chair of Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)

Dr. Kerem Altıparmak made a detailed intervention on the situation in Turkey, persecution of human rights defenders (recent judgments against Ömer Faruk Gergerlioglu, Eren Keskin, Sebnem Korur Fincanci), the Turkish judiciary’s failure to comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Kevin Dent QC, Barrister in the United Kingdom, author of human rights reports on the Gezi Park trial of 16 leading members of Turkish civic society groups

Kevin Dent QC explained his observations and experience on the politically motivated trial against civil society leaders and lawyers in Turkey. He explained the pressure against lawyers and disregard of lawyers’ role in the Turkish judicial system. He spoke about how civil society leader Osman Kavala has been imprisoned with a Kafkaesque indictment which was disclosing no criminal activity. Kevin Dent also summarized the UK’s human rights sanction regulation and explained how Turkey Human Rights Accountability Project will invoke this regulation.

  • Michael Polak, Barrister in the United Kingdom, Chair of Lawyers for Uyghur Rights

UK barrister Michael Polak summarized the UK’s human rights sanction regulation and impunity polices in Turkey. He spoke about three cases which will be the subject of the first group of applications to be submitted within the scope of Turkey Human Rights Accountability Project.

  • Eleonora Mongelli, Vice Chair of FIDU / Italian Helsinki Committee

Eleonora Mongelli explained how corruption and human rights abuses can destabilize countries, the importance of mechanisms to deter these illegalities, the European Union’s Human Rights Sanction Regulation and its strengths and weaknesses.

  • Francesco Caia, Italian National Bar Association Human Rights Committee

Francesco Caia summarized the situation of lawyers in Turkey, activities of Italian National Bar Council (CNF) to raise awareness on this situation, cooperation between the CNF and the Arrested Lawyers Initiative.

Categories: International Advocacy, Interviews, Panel / Conference

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