skip to main content

S. 2034 (112th): Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012


The text of the bill below is as of Jan 24, 2012 (Introduced).


II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2034

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 24, 2012

(for herself, Mr. Schumer, and Mr. Brown of Ohio) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

A BILL

To impose sanctions with respect to human rights abuses committed against the people of Syria, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Syria Human Rights Accountability Act of 2012.

2.

Imposition of sanctions on certain persons who are responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses committed against citizens of Syria or their family members

(a)

In general

The President shall impose sanctions described in subsection (c) with respect to each person on the list required by subsection (b).

(b)

List of persons who are responsible for or complicit in certain human rights abuses

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of persons who are officials of the Government of Syria or persons acting on behalf of that Government that the President determines, based on credible evidence, are responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Syria or their family members, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Syria.

(2)

Updates of list

The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an updated list under paragraph (1)—

(A)

not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and every 180 days thereafter; and

(B)

as new information becomes available.

(3)

Form of report; public availability

(A)

Form

The list required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

(B)

Public availability

The unclassified portion of the list required by paragraph (1) shall be made available to the public and posted on the websites of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.

(4)

Consideration of data from other countries and nongovernmental organizations

In preparing the list required by paragraph (1), the President shall consider credible data already obtained by other countries and nongovernmental organizations, including organizations in Syria, that monitor the human rights abuses of the Government of Syria.

(c)

Sanctions described

The sanctions described in this subsection are ineligibility for a visa to enter the United States and sanctions pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), including blocking of property and restrictions or prohibitions on financial transactions and the exportation and importation of property, subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe, including regulatory exceptions to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, and other applicable international obligations.

3.

Imposition of sanctions with respect to the transfer of goods or technologies to Syria that are likely to be used to commit human rights abuses

(a)

In general

The President shall impose sanctions described in section 2(c) with respect to—

(1)

each person on the list required by subsection (b); and

(2)

any person that—

(A)

is a successor entity to a person on the list;

(B)

owns or controls a person on the list, if the person that owns or controls the person on the list had actual knowledge or should have known that the person on the list engaged in the activity described in subsection (b)(2) for which the person was included in the list; or

(C)

is owned or controlled by, or under common ownership or control with, the person on the list, if the person owned or controlled by, or under common ownership or control with (as the case may be), the person on the list knowingly engaged in the activity described in subsection (b)(2) for which the person was included in the list.

(b)

List

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of persons that the President determines have knowingly engaged in an activity described in paragraph (2) on or after such date of enactment.

(2)

Activity described

(A)

In general

A person engages in an activity described in this paragraph if the person—

(i)

transfers, or facilitates the transfer of, goods or technologies described in subparagraph (C) to Syria; or

(ii)

provides services with respect to goods or technologies described in subparagraph (C) after such goods or technologies are transferred to Syria.

(B)

Applicability to contracts and other agreements

A person engages in an activity described in subparagraph (A) without regard to whether the activity is carried out pursuant to a contract or other agreement entered into before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(C)

Goods or technologies described

Goods or technologies described in this subparagraph are goods or technologies that the President determines are likely to be used by the Government of Syria or any of its agencies or instrumentalities to commit human rights abuses against the people of Syria, including—

(i)

firearms or ammunition (as those terms are defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code), rubber bullets, police sticks, mace, stun grenades, tasers or other electroshock weapons, tear gas, water cannons, or surveillance technology; or

(ii)

sensitive technology (as defined in section 5(c)).

(3)

Special rule to allow for termination of sanctionable activity

The President shall not be required to include a person on the list required by paragraph (1) if the President certifies in writing to the appropriate congressional committees that—

(A)

the person is no longer engaging in, or has taken significant verifiable steps toward stopping, the activity described in paragraph (2) for which the President would otherwise have included the person on the list; and

(B)

the President has received reliable assurances that the person will not knowingly engage in any activity described in paragraph (2) in the future.

(4)

Updates of list

The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an updated list under paragraph (1)—

(A)

not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and every 180 days thereafter; and

(B)

as new information becomes available.

(5)

Form of report; public availability

(A)

Form

The list required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

(B)

Public availability

The unclassified portion of the list required by paragraph (1) shall be made available to the public and posted on the websites of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.

4.

Imposition of sanctions with respect to persons who engage in censorship in Syria

(a)

In general

The President shall impose sanctions described in section 2(c) with respect to each person on the list required by subsection (b).

(b)

List of persons who engage in censorship

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of persons that the President determines have engaged in censorship, or activities relating to censorship, in a manner that prohibits, limits, or penalizes the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression by citizens of Syria.

(2)

Updates of list

The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an updated list under paragraph (1)—

(A)

not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and every 180 days thereafter; and

(B)

as new information becomes available.

(3)

Form of report; public availability

(A)

Form

The list required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

(B)

Public availability

The unclassified portion of the list required by paragraph (1) shall be made available to the public and posted on the websites of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.

5.

Prohibition on procurement contracts with persons that export sensitive technology to Syria and their affiliates

(a)

In general

Except as provided in subsection (b), and pursuant to such regulations as the President may prescribe, the head of an executive agency may not enter into or renew a contract, on or after the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, for the procurement of goods or services with—

(1)

a person that exports sensitive technology to Syria; or

(2)

any person that—

(A)

is a successor entity to a person referred to in paragraph (1);

(B)

owns or controls a person referred to in paragraph (1), if the person that owns or controls the person referred to in paragraph (1) has actual knowledge or should know that the person referred to in paragraph (1) exports sensitive technology to Syria; or

(C)

is owned or controlled by, or under common ownership or control with, a person referred to in paragraph (1), if the person owned or controlled by, or under common ownership or control with (as the case may be), the person referred to in paragraph (1) knowingly engages in the exportation by the person referred to in paragraph (1) of sensitive technology to Syria.

(b)

Authorization To exempt certain products

The President is authorized to exempt from the prohibition under subsection (a) only eligible products, as defined in section 308(4) of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (19 U.S.C. 2518(4)), of any foreign country or instrumentality designated under section 301(b) of that Act (19 U.S.C. 2511(b)).

(c)

Sensitive technology defined

(1)

In general

The term sensitive technology means hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, or any other technology, that the President determines is to be used specifically—

(A)

to restrict the free flow of unbiased information in Syria; or

(B)

to disrupt, monitor, or otherwise restrict speech of the people of Syria.

(2)

Exception

The term sensitive technology does not include information or informational materials the exportation of which the President does not have the authority to regulate or prohibit pursuant to section 203(b)(3) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(3)).

(d)

Special rule To allow for termination of sanctionable activity

The prohibition in subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to a person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) if the President certifies in writing to the appropriate congressional committees that—

(1)

the person described in paragraph (1) of that subsection is no longer engaging in, or has taken significant verifiable steps toward stopping, exporting sensitive technology to Syria; and

(2)

the President has received reliable assurances that that person will not knowingly export sensitive technology to Syria in the future.

6.

Waiver

The President may waive the requirement to include a person on a list required by section 2, 3, or 4 or to impose sanctions pursuant to any such section, or the application of section 5(a), if the President—

(1)

determines that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States; and

(2)

submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the reasons for that determination.

7.

Termination

(a)

In general

The provisions of this Act and any sanctions imposed pursuant to this Act shall terminate on the date on which the President submits to the appropriate congressional committees—

(1)

the certification described in subsection (b); and

(2)

a certification that—

(A)

the Government of Syria is democratically elected and representative of the people of Syria; or

(B)

a legitimate transitional government of Syria is in place.

(b)

Certification described

A certification described in this subsection is a certification by the President that the Government of Syria—

(1)

has unconditionally released all political prisoners;

(2)

has ceased its practices of violence, unlawful detention, torture, and abuse of citizens of Syria engaged in peaceful political activity;

(3)

has ceased its practice of procuring sensitive technology designed to restrict the free flow of unbiased information in Syria, or to disrupt, monitor, or otherwise restrict the right of citizens of Syria to freedom of expression;

(4)

has ceased providing support for foreign terrorist organizations and no longer allows such organizations, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to maintain facilities in territory under the control of the Government of Syria;

(5)

has ceased the development and deployment of medium- and long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles;

(6)

is not pursuing or engaged in the research, development, acquisition, production, transfer, or deployment of biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, and has provided credible assurances that it will not engage in such activities in the future; and

(7)

has agreed to allow the United Nations and other international observers to verify that the Government of Syria is not engaging in such activities and to assess the credibility of the assurances provided by that Government.

(c)

Suspension of sanctions after election of democratic government

If the President submits to the appropriate congressional committees the certification described in subsection (a)(2), the President may suspend the provisions of this Act and any sanctions imposed under this Act for not more than one year to allow time for a certification described in subsection (b) to be submitted.

8.

Recordkeeping

The President may prescribe such regulations requiring recordkeeping, reporting, and production of documents as the President determines appropriate to carry out this Act.

9.

Definitions

In this Act, the terms appropriate congressional committees and knowingly have the meanings given those terms in section 14 of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–172; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note).