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Serbia should get its Magnitsky Act and thus join the most developed democracies in the world in an effective fight against high corruption and the most severe forms of human rights violations – was concluded at today’s press conference by Prof. Dr Zoran Dragišić, member of Parliament who submitted the proposal of this law to the National Assembly, and Prof. Dr Stevan Lilić, head of the legal team of the International Security Institute, which drafted the legal proposal.

The International Security Institute, as the initiator of this law, has been collaborating with Bill Browder, in charge of the worldwide campaign for the Magnitsky Act introduction, for years.

Bill Browder said at the press conference via video link that he is proud that Serbia is joining the world’s most developed democracies, which have incorporated the Magnitsky Legislation. In this way, Serbia shows its commitment to the human rights protection and sanctioning of all those who seriously violate those rights by using their positions of state power, said Bill Browder on the occasion of the entry of the Serbian Magnitsky Act into the parliamentary procedure.

Professor Zoran Lilić, head of the legal team that developed this legal proposal within the International Security Institute, said that in the last 10 years, an increasing number of countries, including the European Union, have decided to introduce some form of Magnitsky Legislation into their legal system.

“Contrary to general national sanctions against a state that affect the entire population and, to a large extent, innocent citizens, the legal mechanism of the Magnitsky Act rests on repressive measures aimed at individuals responsible for violating human rights,” said Professor Lilić.

By saying the Magnitsky legislation is “the latest generation of laws” regarding human rights protection, Prof. Lilić explained that such laws focus on imposing targeted personal and property sanctions on specific individuals and legal entities responsible for serious human rights violations and corruption.

Targeted personal and property sanctions primarily include the ban on movement and restrictions on the disposal of property and financial resources against persons who kill, imprison, exert impermissible pressure and unfoundedly carry out fictitious legal proceedings against citizens who stand for the free exercise of their constitutional human rights, and against persons which institutionally, factually or through the media threaten and persecute persons who reveal corruption affairs (whistle-blowers).

Prof. Zoran Dragišić, who on September 12 proposed the Law on Restrictive Measures due to Serious Human Rights Violations (the Serbian version of the Magnitsky Act) to the National Assembly, specified that this law does not apply to citizens of the Republic of Serbia, but to foreign citizens and organisations involved into severe human rights violations.

“By adopting this law, Serbia would rank among the most developed democracies that have already passed such laws and become a part of the world that is not and cannot be, a safe house for tyrants and criminals. A clear decision to introduce such a system of restrictive measures into Serbian legislation would be another confirmation of Serbia’s European path and a clear signal to EU partners that Serbia is committed to European values and a credible partner regarding preserving shared security,” said MP Zoran Dragišić.

Prof. Dragišić singled out as a specific value of this law the fact that it does not protect human freedom and dignity from imaginary entities behind which the biggest criminals have been hiding until now, but instead designates criminals by name and surname and prevents their activities on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

“The modern world is becoming an increasingly insecure place. In many parts of the world, non-democratic regimes have been massively violating human rights and trying to expand their influence. The Magnitsky legislation is one of the significant instruments to preserve freedom and human dignity,” said Prof. Dragišić.

The first Magnitsky Act was passed in the USA in 2012, thanks to the involvement of Bill Browder, whose close associate Sergei Magnitsky was killed in prison in Russia in 2008, where he spent almost a year because he exposed the massive theft of state property facilitated by Russian officials. After the USA, the Magnitsky legislation spread to about 30 countries, including Great Britain, Canada, and several European countries. Due to significant human rights violations, the Global Magnitsky Act has recently been incorporated into the EU legal order.

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