Cover 9781785906640

From the Nuremberg trials to the arrest of General Pinochet to the prosecution of barbarians of the Balkans, we have crafted a global human rights law to punish crimes against humanity. And yet today it is rarely applied: the International Criminal Court has faltered, populist governments refuse to cooperate, the UN Security Council is pole-axed and liberal democracy is on the defensive.

When faced with the torture of Sergei Magnitsky, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the repression of the Uighurs, what recourse do we have?

Distinguished human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson argues that our most powerful weapon is Magnitsky laws, by which not only perpetrators but their accomplices - lickspittle judges, doctors who assist in torture, corporations that profit from slave labour - are named, shamed and blamed.

Though the UK and the EU have passed nascent Magnitsky laws, they are not deploying them effectively. It is only by developing a full-blooded system of coordinated sanctions - banning human rights violators from entering democratic countries to funnel their ill-gotten gains through Western banks and take advantage of our schools and hospitals - that we can fight back against cruelty and corruption.

Bad People sets out a Plan B for human rights, offering a new blueprint for global justice in a post-pandemic world.


“Geoffrey Robertson has spent a career as one of the world’s top human rights lawyers looking for justice for victims of dictators and kleptocrats. His new book Bad People is the first authoritative guide to how liberal democracies can end the impunity of the most corrupt and evil people in the world. Given the atrocities that are going on in so many places, this book couldn’t have come a moment too soon.”

Bill Browder

“This inspiring book, authored by a lawyer on the frontlines of the fight for human rights, sets out a new way for liberal democracies to deter and punish the perpetrators of cruelty and corruption. The book shows how using targeted sanctions can be a ‘Plan B’ for global justice in a post-Trump, post-pandemic world.”

Amal Clooney

“This inspiring book is a call to arms – a demand that governments use their new powers to target sanctions on the perpetrators of human rights abuses. Geoffrey Robertson powerfully argues that a post-pandemic world should refuse to tolerate cruel and corrupt foreigners who currently have access to their banks and universities and their hospitals and casinos. It should become a mission for the human rights movement.”

Helena Kennedy

“Geoffrey Robertson has been at the forefront to introduce Magnitsky laws … This timely book shows how democracies with similar laws can send a strong message to officials everywhere.”

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch

Bad People deftly illuminates a bright line from Nuremberg to Magnitsky, and what good people can and must do to fight evil in all its modern forms.”

Garry Kasparov, chairman, Human Rights Foundation

"Bad People ought to be widely translated in order to help other people to adopt Magnitsky laws - and to do so in a manner rooted in human rights law."

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  • Hardback, 272 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785906640
  • 30 March 2021
  • £18.99
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  • ISBN: 9781785906701
  • 30 March 2021
  • £13.99
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