The Congressional Trigger for U.S. Global Magnitsky Sanctions: Section 1263(d)

Targeted sanctions like the Global Magnitsky program are valuable tools for the U.S. government to respond to corruption and human rights abuses around the world.  While the executive branch generally has discretion over the use of these tools, a provision of the Global Magnitsky Act requires the administration to respond to bipartisan requests from certain members of Congress to determine whether specific alleged perpetrators meet the criteria for such sanctions.  

Invoking that provision – Section 1263(d) of the Act – is no guarantee of effective congressional advocacy.  The executive branch disputes that it is legally bound to act on such requests, and it has rarely, if ever, responded to requests with the kind of written assessment the statute requires.  Executive branch officials have sometimes sought to appear responsive to such requests, however, and the executive branch has imposed sanctions on at least some of the targets identified in most of the requests that members of Congress have made under this provision.

Members of Congress should continue to use Section 1263(d) to urge the executive branch to be transparent and proactive with Global Magnitsky designations.  Such requests may be more effective in raising the priority the executive branch gives to lower-profile sanctions recommendations than in overcoming strong policy objections to a specific proposed sanction.  The Treasury and State Departments should be responsive to requests made under this provision.

Read more in the fact sheet below.

Fact Sheets

Published on April 15, 2024


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