Council of Europe

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Setting the Cat amongst Pigeons: Kosovo’s Application for Membership of the Council of Europe

Kosovo is one of the few places in Europe not party to the European Convention on Human Rights due to a legacy conflict with Serbia. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 after a bloody war followed by a period of international administration, but this is strongly disputed by Serbia which claims exclusive sovereignty over the entire territory. The conflict has given rise to a protracted stalemate which has directly limited Kosovo’s ability to engage with, and benefit from, Europe’s human rights protection system. In spite of this, for more than 10 years, successive Kosovo Governments have committed to applying for membership of the Council of Europe (CoE) imminently. In 2013, then Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, made the most decisive moves towards lodging an application, describing it as the “next natural step” following Kosovo’s admittance to the CoE Development Bank and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). However, the letter of application never came. Then on 12 May 2022, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign…

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The Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property eventually enters into force:  A new tool to the arsenal of international criminal law responses to the trafficking of cultural property

In the face of the dramatic events taking place over the last few weeks as a result of the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine, it is hard to trace any positive developments in the field of international law. This being so, taking into account that cultural property is often a target during armed conflicts, either deliberately or as a…

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Europe’s Kairos? The Role of the Council of Europe under a Negotiated Peace in Ukraine

In a seminal speech to the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1954, Germany’s Federal Chancellor and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Konrad Adenauer, exhorted member states to respond to matters of common concern with courage and confidence, and insisted that ‘any weakening in our zeal, in our striving to fulfil what we have…

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Russia and the European human rights system: Doing the right thing … but for the right legal reason?

Less than a month after its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Federation has ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe. On 16 March 2022, the Committee of Ministers decided to expel Russia from the regional organization with immediate effect, although without resolving the many legal consequences of this decision. Perhaps the most important…

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The Council of Europe Excludes Russia: A Setback for Human Rights

Announcements and decisions of the Council of Europe (CoE) and Russia regarding the latter’s membership in the CoE have been outdating each other over the past few days. Upon unanimous request of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the Committee of Ministers (CoM) decided on 16 March 2022 to exclude Russia from the CoE as of that date.

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