Council of Europe

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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 begun, will spell retrogression, and will indeed jeopardize the entire structure.’ As Europe witnesses Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine, in flagrant violation of the Statute of the Council of Europe (CoE), Adenauer’s words seem particularly poignant. This is Europe’s kairos, the defining moment in the CoE’s history that will either mark the beginning of the downfall of Europe’s human rights framework, or the moment at which that system was given a renewed sense of purpose. Only the Member States can determine which will prevail. Recent events have raised numerous difficult questions for Europe’s human rights protection system. Beyond Russia’s expulsion, how will the organisation respond to the war? What role could or should the CoE play…

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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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ICJ Indicates Provisional Measures Against Russia, in a Near Total Win for Ukraine; Russia Expelled from the Council of Europe

This afternoon the International Court of Justice, by 13 votes to 2, issued its order on provisional measures in the case brought by Ukraine against Russia under the Genocide Convention. The Court essentially accepted all of the arguments made by Ukraine for the purposes of the provisional measures stage of the proceeding, and rejected those…

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Russia’s Submission to the ICJ in the Genocide Case; Russia’s Withdrawal from the Council of Europe

A quick update on two important developments. First, the ICJ has put up on its website a submission it received from the Russian Federation in the Ukraine v. Russia genocide case, in which the Court’s provisional measures decision is pending. Because Russia has declined to participate in the proceedings – at least for now –…

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