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  • Writer's pictureInternational Lawyers Project

Why the EU Needs an Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime: A Powerful Tool

To watch a recording of this event, please see below:

On 22 November 2022, ILP’s Program Director for Governance and Anti-Corruption, Stephanie Muchai joined Sandra De Waele, Head of Division for Sanctions at the European External Action Service and other panellists to discuss the use of sanctions as an anti-corruption tool.

Sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy has become prevalent against a backdrop of regressing democratic rule of law and human rights standards, increased authoritarianism and attempts to undermine rules-based international order.

Using sanctions to tackle corruption is a relatively novel and promising approach to fighting corruption that has not been universally adopted. In the U.S., legislation authorising corruption sanctions (the Global Magnitsky Act) has been in place for over five years.

Steph Muchai, the International Lawyers Project’s Programme Director for Governance and


The EU, which has taken a leading role in utilising sanctions to protect human rights, respond to violations of international law and to preserve peace and security, currently lacks the legislative framework to sanction kleptocrats and acts of serious corruption.

In this context, there is a need for a consensus to develop around setting common goals for effectiveness and for measuring how sanctions actually effect change. The ILP, along with Open Society Foundations (OSF) put together an expert panel to take stock of the impact of corruption sanctions to date presenting specific case studies to identify lessons that current experience may hold for the EU.

Anton Moiseienko, ILP’s Sanctions Research co-author and Lecturer of Law at the Australian National University (ANU).

ILP and Anton Moiseienko’s joint research into the impact and effectiveness of Magnitsky anti-corruption sanctions will be published early in 2023.


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