Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: EU sanctions work and provide real help to civil society in Russia

Source: Republic of Lithuania

On 22 February, EU ministers of foreign affairs made a political decision to impose targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for Alexei Navalny’s imprisonment and the crackdown on peaceful protesters under the EU global human rights sanctions regime, or the so-called European Magnitsky Act.

“The most important decision made today is our agreement on sanctions against individuals responsible for Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment. Today’s Foreign Affairs Council is extremely symbolic. It has shown that the EU can react both quickly and unanimously,” said Landsbergis. According to the Foreign Minister, a list of persons subject to the sanctions will be published a little later.According to the Foreign Minister, we know that targeted sanctions can be effective and work, if used meaningfully. “Today’s agreement is the first step on the road to success. It is important not to limit ourselves to individuals who are directly responsible for the conviction of Alexei Navalny. We must seek to put on the sanctions list also those whom the regime has used to orchestrate the case against Navalny, including persons from Putin’s inner circle. If we want to help civil society in Russia, the best way to do this is to impose sanctions on those Russian judges and prosecutors, who are part of the corrupt law enforcement system and legitimise the systematic repression of Russia’s democratic institutions, free media and political opposition by the regime,” said the Foreign Minister.Sanctions under the EU global human rights sanctions regime can be imposed on those responsible for the acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses (e.g. torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions). Other human rights abuses can also fall under the scope of the sanctions regime where those violations are widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern.