International Organisations

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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 collateral damage (on the case of Ukraine, see here), the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, on the 1st of April 2022, should definitely count as a positive one. The Convention entered into force following the deposit of the fifth instrument of ratification with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The fifth state to deposit its ratification was Hungary, which followed Latvia, Greece, Mexico and Cyprus. Although not specifically designed to apply in the event of armed conflict, the Convention was drafted mindful of today’s alarming reality of increasing attacks on cultural property in both peace and wartime. As laid down in its…

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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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Three Options for the Veto Power After the War in Ukraine

If any good can come out of the war in Ukraine, it should be a resumption of the decade-long process in the United Nations aiming at reining in or even removing the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council. President Zelensky’s recent call for reforming the veto system may help to create the necessary…

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Russia and the UN Human Rights Council: A Step in the Right Direction

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council. This is only the second time in the Council’s 16 year history that a member has been suspended under GA resolution 60/251 paragraph 8 for committing ‘gross and systematic violations of human…

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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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