Human rights abusers will face asset freezes and travel bans under new legislation adopted by the European Union.
The so-called Magnitsky laws, officially titled the EU Human Rights Global Sanctions Regime, would target those accused of crimes including genocide, torture, assassination and arbitrary detentions.
The European Union officially adopts the legislation on December 10 — World Human Rights Day.
Bill Browder, a financier at Hermitage Capital Management who has campaigned for similar legislation in countries around the world, said getting Europe on board is a major milestone.
The United States, Britain and Canada already have Magnitsky laws. They are named after Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million tax fraud by state officials. He had been beaten by prison guards and denied medical treatment.
Speaking in Brussels last month, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Europe has the tools to punish human rights abusers.
Critics say it is still possible for individual EU member states to veto any measures proposed under the new law, and countries with warmer ties to the Kremlin such as Hungary and Cyprus could block any sanctions.