Friday, March 03, 2023

Thursday, March 9, 2023 
Room: Rayburn 2020
Streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YuZK-A3YtQ 


WASHINGTON— The notorious Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary network, is known to have conducted predatory and terroristic activities since 2014, including in Ukraine, Mali, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Its actions in the service of Kremlin political interests have been characterized by deliberate violations of human rights and atrocities, including heinous acts of violence against civilians, killings, kidnappings, torture, human trafficking and threatening of journalists. The Wagner Group has also received weapons from North Korea, a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, for its operations in Ukraine.

As a response to the terroristic actions of the Wagner Group, Members of the House and Senate have introduced the Holding Accountable Russian Mercenaries (HARM) Act (H.R. 506/S. 416), bipartisan legislation that would require the Secretary of State to designate the Russian-based Wagner Group (and its affiliates and successors) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). 

At this hearing, witnesses will evaluate the most effective tools to counter the Wagner Group and its affiliates – including potential FTO designation through the HARM Act. 

The following witnesses are scheduled to participate:
1. Justyna Gudzowska, Director of Illicit Finance Policy, The Sentry; former lead sanctions lawyer at Morgan Stanley, former attorney-advisor for the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and former expert on ISIS and Al-Qaida for the UN Security Council.

2. Jason Blazakis, Director, Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC); Senior Fellow, Soufan Center and Senior Advisor, Soufan Group; former Director of the Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office, Bureau of Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State. 
3. Jason Wright, Partner, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP and chair of its Economic Sanctions and Trade Control Committee and National Security Law Practice Committee; former Army judge advocate (JAG) with tours in Germany, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay; current Army Reserve JAG assigned as Assistant Professor of Law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; former adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Media contact: 
Beth Wiesinger