Targeted sanctions can be a useful accountability tool, particularly in situations where other methods of accountability – such as criminal investigation or prosecution – are not feasible. Australia has the ability to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities as part of the Australian sanctions framework. This includes the ability to impose sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for serious violations or serious abuses of human rights under the targeted human rights “Magnitsky” sanctions legislative framework.
ACIJ was instrumental in advocating for the adoption of this legislative framework, and now that it is in force, continues to advocate for opportunities for the framework to be improved, implemented consistently, and enforced effectively. It is our view that for Australia’s sanctions laws to be the most effective, individuals and corporations must comply with the obligations placed on them and the Australian government must take action in relation to potential breaches of the laws.
Accountability for Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine
On 24 February 2022, in a blatant violation of international law, Russia invaded Ukraine and has occupied parts of it since this time. This signified a dramatic escalation from Russia’s previous annexation of Crimea in 2014. Since the invasion, there have been numerous reports of Russia’s gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including widespread targeting of civilians and civilian objects, torture, sexual violence and the mistreatment of prisoners.
Condemnation of Russia’s actions and support for the Ukrainian people from the international community has been swift. The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin. Weaponry and humanitarian aid are being provided to Ukraine. Australia, alongside other allies including the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, has instituted sanctions against individuals and entities, targeting those responsible for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Sanctions also target the import and export of certain goods to Russia, to address the economic resourcing of Russia’s war machine.
Yet, these sanctions measures are meaningless if they are not properly enforced. In June 2023, together with Transparency International Australia and Ukraine and Razom We Stand, ACIJ brought attention to the operations of Tigers Realm Coal Limited – an Australian company whose operations involve the import of coal from Russia. We called for action in relation to the enforcement of Australia’s sanctions laws, to ensure the effectiveness of Australia’s sanctions against Russia. This collaborative project demonstrates the intersectionality of our international justice work with the broader climate justice movement, and the opportunities available to take action across issues of concern.
Latest on Sanctions Compliance
Joint Media Release: NGOs welcome Aussie coal company suspension of privatisation, amid concerns that court case against government undermines sanctions laws
5 July 2023 Joint Media Release: NGOs welcome Aussie coal company suspension of privatisation, amid concerns that court case against government undermines sanctions laws The Australian Centre for International Justice and Transparency International Australia welcome...
21 June 2023 Joint Media Release: Granting permit to Aussie coal company in Russia could enrich Putin The Australian Government must refuse ASX listed, Tigers Realm Coal’s application for a permit to avoid sanctions, or risk money flowing to Putin’s bloody war in...
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