Regulations Amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations: SOR/2023-262

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 157, Number 26

SOR/2023-262 December 7, 2023


P.C. 2023-1192 December 7, 2023

Whereas the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the circumstance described in subparagraph 4(2)(a)(ii) of the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) footnote a has occurred;

Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations under paragraph 4(1)(a) of the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) footnote a.

Regulations Amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations


1 The schedule to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations footnote 1 is amended by adding the following in numerical order:

Application Before Publication

2 For the purpose of paragraph 11(2)(a) of the Statutory Instruments Act, these Regulations apply according to their terms before they are published in the Canada Gazette.

Coming into Force

3 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)


Foreign nationals have perpetrated long-standing and internationally recognized human rights violations in Russia, Iran and Myanmar.


Canada is committed to promoting good governance, combating corruption and standing up for human rights internationally. To this end, Parliament passed the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) [JVCFOA] on October 18, 2017, which allows the Government to make orders and regulations to restrict dealings in property and freeze the assets of foreign nationals who are responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or acts of significant corruption. To date, there have been 73 individuals listed under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations (JVCFOR).

Canada has expressed its profound concern regarding human rights violations and a corresponding culture of impunity that has limited the potential for the individuals responsible for, or complicit in, these actions to be held accountable in their own countries. The imposition of sanctions demonstrates Canada’s ongoing commitment to human rights and to the fight against impunity.

The following three situations are distinct and well-documented cases of long-standing human rights violations that continue to persist.

LGBTQI+ purge in Chechnya

In 2017 and 2019, Chechen government officials executed LGBTQI+ purges, kidnapping on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, and used arbitrary detentions, torture, extrajudicial killings, and humiliation tactics to identify other men of similar perceived sexual orientation in Chechnya. Human Rights Watch, Russian human rights organizations, governments in Europe and North America and others have raised the alarm of these gross and systematic human rights violations. Since 2017, Chechen security forces have targeted more than 200 individuals for their perceived sexual orientation who were seeking to obtain, exercise, defend or promote their internationally recognized freedom of expression.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) rapporteur,footnote 2 via the Moscow Mechanism, has confirmed the violations of arbitrary and unlawful arrest and detention, harassment and torture as well as enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of LGBTQI+ persons in the Chechen republic, including human rights defender and journalists. The OSCE rapporteur has also confirmed there are credible reports of increasing repression of the Chechen Republic against human rights defenders and their institutions. One of the more famous cases includes Oyub Titiev, a human rights defender against whom evidence has been fabricated to stop him from monitoring disappearances and torture in Chechnya in his capacity as the regional representative of Human Rights text-center Memorial (HRC Memorial) and also to give a signal to other human rights defenders of what could happen to them. His predecessor Natalia Estemirova was abducted and killed in 2009 without a perpetrator identified. On 17 January 2018, the office of HRC Memorial in the autonomous Republic of Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya, had its office set on fire after it supported Titiev’s case. Nobody was held accountable for this crime.

Individuals recommended for listing under the JVCFOA reported to Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, during the purges. As the leader of the Chechen Republic, Kadyrov has instructed and enabled anti-LGBTQI+ policies and measures that violate human rights; he is already an individual listed under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations.

Magomed Daudov, as the Speaker of the Chechen parliament, played a role authorizing these policies and eyewitness testimony indicates he was present at detention sites. Apti Alaudinov was the Chechen Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Major General of the Police who instructed his officers to implement the purges and is on record describing his own actions that violated the human rights of these victims. Ayub Kataev, as the Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation in Argun, is responsible for the activities of state security and police agencies, including their involvement in the mass arrest, use of torture, and murder of LGBTQI+ Chechens since 2017. Abusayed Vismuradov, in his role as the leader of the Special Rapid Response Unit Team known as “Terek,” played a significant role in the systematized persecution of LGBTQI+ individuals in 2017.

Torture and killing of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Iran

Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian Canadian photojournalist, travelled to Iran in 2003 to cover demonstrations in Tehran, during which several hundreds of students were arbitrarily arrested and detained at Evin prison. After taking pictures of protesters near the prison, Zahra Kazemi, was arbitrarily detained and brutally tortured by Iranian officials. She died as a result of her injuries. To date, no Iranian officials have been held accountable and no countries have sanctioned any individual for their role in Kazemi’s death. Given the severity of these human rights violations and the impunity enjoyed by those responsible, two Iranian officials involved are being listed under the JVCFOA.

Saeed Mortazavi is a former Iranian politician, judge and prosecutor. It is noted that he was Iran’s Prosecutor General between 2003 and 2009. Given his position at the time, it is undeniable that he was aware of Kazemi’s arrest, detention, abuse, torture and eventual death. In 2010, the Iranian parliament reported and named Mortazavi as an individual responsible for the abuse, detention and torture of dozens of Iranian citizens. Mortazavi was also named as an individual responsible for the torture and death of three political prisoners involved in the protests challenging the re-election of then President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. In 2014, he was barred from all political positions for life by the Iranian government.

Mohammad Bakshi is a former Deputy Chief of Intelligence for Evin prison, and he held this position at the time that Kazemi was arrested, detained, and tortured. During the trial of two prison interrogators charged by Tehran for the murder of Zahra Kazemi, and later acquitted, the lawyer of the Kazemi family claimed that Bakshi was the real murderer. Their request for witnesses to prove that Bakshi was the real culprit was denied by the court of Tehran. Bakshi was also targeted in a lawsuit brought by Kazemi’s estate and son, Stephan Hashemi in Canadian courts. Their lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada because Bakshi was a public official acting in his official capacity, therefore deemed immune from jurisdiction of Canadian courts under the State Immunity Act. The family of Kazemi identifies Bakshi as the person responsible for the treatment of Zahra Kazemi while imprisoned which ultimately resulted in her death.

Attacks against pro-democracy supporters and civilians in Myanmar

Since the Myanmar military deposed the civilian government on February 1, 2021, gross and systematic human rights and international law violations continue to escalate unchecked as the regime attempts to consolidate control and eliminate opposition. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, as senior leader and Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar defence services (also called the Tatmadaw), as leader of the coup d’état, and as self-appointed Prime Minister, has committed to eradicating all opponents and those advocating for a peaceful, democratic Myanmar.

The regime, under Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s full command and control, has systematically and deliberately orchestrated international human rights violations committed by subordinate forces under his effective control in efforts to “annihilate” those opposing the regime. These violations have manifested in the deliberate targeting of civilians, mass killings of civilians via airstrikes, and attacks on civilian infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, places of worship, places of refugee and shelter, and civil administration.

The military has launched major ground and air offensive operations with the aim of wiping out local People’s Defence Forces and the civilian support they enjoy. In recent months, the military has stepped up aerial attacks, bombing villages, schools, medical facilities, and encampments for internally displaced persons. On April 11, 2023, the regime launched a series of airstrikes during an opening ceremony of the resistance forces’ local administrative office in Pa Za Gyi village in the Sagaing Region, resulting in the death of approximately 160 civilians, including women and children. As a result, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is being listed under the JVCFOA.


  1. To signal Canada’s condemnation of all individuals responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, in particular against people who are engaged in some form of public advocacy or activism regarding human rights in these foreign states.
  2. To encourage action to combat impunity and dissuade or deter similar violations against vulnerable groups such as journalists, human rights defenders, and activists in these countries and globally.
  3. To highlight Canada’s commitment to the Rule of Law and the rules-based international order.


The Regulations Amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations (the Regulations) add seven individuals to the Schedule of the JVCFOR. These individuals, in the opinion of the Governor-in-Council, are responsible for or complicit in extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights in Russia, Iran and Myanmar, against persons who seek to obtain, exercise, defend or promote internationally recognized human rights.

Regulatory development


Global Affairs Canada engages regularly with relevant stakeholders including civil society organizations and cultural communities and other like-minded governments regarding Canada’s approach to sanctions implementation. The incidents upon which the Regulations are based are well-documented and internationally recognized cases of long-standing human rights violations.

With respect to the amendments, public consultation would not have been appropriate, as publicizing the names of the listed persons targeted by sanctions would have likely resulted in asset flight prior to the coming into force of the Regulations.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

An initial assessment of the geographical scope of the initiative was conducted and did not identify any modern treaty obligations, as the amendments do not take effect in a modern treaty area.

Instrument choice

Regulations are the sole method to enact sanctions in Canada. No other instrument could be considered.

Canada has three separate pieces of legislation authorizing the imposition of sanctions, which have variable applicability to situations of concern to Canada. The Special Economic Measures Act and the JVCFOA are Canada’s autonomous sanctions legislation tools, and the United Nations Act serves to implement multilateral sanctions regimes decided by the United Nations Security Council. To enact sanctions under either of these laws, new regulations or regulatory amendments must be approved by the Governor in Council.

The JVCFOA entered into force in 2017 and provides for the sanctioning of foreign nationals for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or acts of significant corruption. Following a rigorous assessment and due diligence process, it was determined that the JVCFOA would be the most appropriate vehicle for sanctioning the listed individuals as it best aligns with the objectives listed above.

Regulatory analysis

Benefits and costs

Sanctions targeting specific persons have less impact on Canadian businesses than traditional broad-based sanctions and will have limited impact on the citizens of the countries of the listed persons. It is likely that the individuals listed have limited linkages with Canada, and therefore do not have business dealings that are significant to the Canadian economy.

Canadian banks and financial institutions are required to comply with the sanctions. They will do so by adding the new prohibitions to their existing monitoring systems, which may result in a minor compliance cost.

The Regulations will create additional compliance costs for businesses seeking permits that would authorize them to carry out specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited. However, costs will likely be low as it is unlikely that Canadian businesses have significant dealings with the newly listed persons.

Small business lens

The Regulations could create additional costs for small businesses seeking permits that would authorize them to carry out specified activities or transactions that are otherwise prohibited. However, costs will likely be low, as it is unlikely that Canadian small businesses have or will have dealings with the newly listed individuals. As a result, no significant loss of opportunities for small businesses is expected as a result of the Regulations.

One-for-one rule

The one-for-one rule does not apply, as there is no incremental change in administrative burden on business.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

While the Regulations are not related to a work plan or commitment under a formal regulatory cooperation forum, they are coordinated with actions intended to be brought forward by Canada’s allies to commemorate International Human Rights Day.

Strategic environmental assessment

The Regulations are unlikely to result in important environmental effects. In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)

The subject of sanctions has previously been assessed for effects on gender and diversity. Although intended to facilitate change to protect and advance human rights, and combat foreign corruption, through economic measures on individuals in foreign states, sanctions under the JVCFOA can nevertheless have an unintended indirect impact on certain vulnerable groups and individuals within the relevant foreign states, such as economic hardship caused indirectly by sanctions. That being said, these targeted sanctions impact individuals responsible for, or complicit in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including in respect of vulnerable groups, rather than on target countries as a whole. Targeted sanctions under the JVCFOA are unlikely to have a direct impact on as compared to traditional broad-based sanctions directed towards a state, and limited collateral effects to those dependent on those targeted individuals.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards

The Regulations come into force on the day they are registered.

The names of the listed individuals will be available online for financial institutions to review and will be added to the Consolidated Canadian Autonomous Sanctions List. This will help to facilitate compliance with the Regulations.

Canada’s sanctions regulations are enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In accordance with section 11 of the JVCFOA, every person who knowingly contravenes or fails to comply with the Regulations is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year or to both; or, upon conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.

The Canada Border Services Agency also has enforcement authorities under the JVCFOA and the Customs Act and will play a role in the enforcement of these sanctions.

The foreign nationals listed in the Schedule to the JVCFOR are also inadmissible to Canada, pursuant to paragraph 35.1(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.


Sanctions Policy and Operations Division
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2
Telephone: 343‑203‑3975 / 1‑833‑352‑0769