The Magnitsky List was not something that was known to most people. The list was thrust back into the limelight when the US drew up the first of the sanctions against Russia for their involvement/backing the Donbass rebels. What was then a thinly veiled attempt to weaponize a piece of legislation in the new cold war against Russia, is now an event that can be referenced to support the idea of a further expanded Magnitsky List. This idea, has recently passed through Congress as the Global Magnitsky List.
The original Magnitsky List was a bipartisan effort to sanction Russian officials for what was largely considered the abduction and targeted killing of a Russian government dissident. Unbeknownst to many, law enforcement use a lot of mechanisms to help ensure justice is met on an international level through means such as sanctions, travel restrictions, blocking liquidity of assets, or straight up forfeiture.
This may come across as redundant, as actions that would land one on the Magnitsky list (ex. extrajudicial killing, torture) are already illegal in the US. Prior to the Magnitsky list, U.S. prosecution for crimes abroad were required to have a U.S. nexus, as law enforcement has a more limited toolset when dealing with transnational enforcement (ex. barring visitors from the U.S.).
While I think expanding the Magnitsky List for global impact will be a universal good, I will wait in earnest to see how potential targets are selected for addition and who will hold final say on making an addition to the list (ex. Congress, Presidential nomination, or various three-lettered agencies). I suspect additions will be reserved for the very highest levels of government in order to ensure that this list will not be yet another hurdle for our foreign policy to trip over in our bid to prop up despots and war criminals.
Who is Magnitsky?
Global Magnitsky Act text
Disregard for human rights