The Magnitsky Act was promulgated over five years ago in Washington (Office of the Press Secretary of the President of United States of America 2017), and ever since then, it has been causing controversy and dispute among the legal experts and jurists in the area of International Law (Ruys 2017; Booth 2020–2021). This is due to the fact that some international legal experts and a majority of scholars consider this Act as a new means of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and that it thus constitutes a clear violation of the United Nations Charter. (United Nations 2021). In a contrary view, the Magnitsky Act as seen by other legal scholars, such as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, consider it as a means of accountability (Limon and Greenacre 2018). He has stated that the Magnitsky Act “is the missing piece in the decades long effort to give full meaning to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (Greenacre 2019). In view of these two contradictory positions, the main objective of this paper is to provide answers to the initial basic questions that even led the two opposing sides to take their stands: (A) What is the Magnitsky Act? (B) What is the origin and source of this controversial Act? (C) What are the contents and scope of this Act? (D) What are the legal consequences and implications of this Act? The paper seeks not only to examine the importance of issuing an Executive Order by a US President in respect of the Magnitsky Act, but also to highlight the legal basis by which it was proclaimed. Some brief comment is included on its impact on date regarding Lebanon and Libya.

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