The Council of Europe is a body quite separate from the European Union. Proposed by Winston Churchill, it was founded in 1949 for "the pursuit of peace based upon justice"(1). It drew up the human rights convention and runs the European Court of Human Rights. It has an annual budget of €197m and 46 members. Among them is every state in Europe except Montenegro and Belarus. The exclusion of Belarus is perhaps the only difficult decision it has ever taken.
Observe its perpetual cowardice in dealing with Russia. The European court of human rights has repeatedly ruled against Russia's abuses in Chechnya. Russia's response has been to pretend to abide by its decisions – handing out a few roubles in compensation, for example – while protecting and promoting the people responsible for the torture and kidnappings and killings. That is one response. The other is to beat or kill the complainants. In May 2003, for example, armed men broke into the house of Zura Bitieva, who had applied to the court over her illegal detention and torture, and shot her and three members of her family(2). Case closed.
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