Suspension of the Russian Federation’s rights of representation in – and the Russian Federation’s potential withdrawal from – the Council of Europe

On 25 February 2022, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, an international organization founded in the wake of World War II to uphold human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe, decided to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Committee and the Parliamentary Assembly with immediate effect because of the Russian Federation’s armed attack on Ukraine. The decision was taken following an exchange of views between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly in the Joint Committee.

The decision to suspend the Russian Federation from its rights of representation is a temporary measure, which means that the Russian Federation still remains a member of the Council of Europe and party to the relevant Council of Europe conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Russian judge elected to the European Court of Human Rights also remains a member of the Court, and applications filed against the Russian Federation will continue to be examined and decided by the Court.

In response, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement on 10 March 2022 announcing that Russia is no longer going to participate in the Council of Europe. It is, thus far, unclear whether Russia has already formally filed a notice of withdrawal under Article 7 of the Statute of the Council of Europe or is only indicating its intention to do so.

When asked if the Russian Federation’s exit from the Council of Europe would also result in the country’s withdrawal from all of the Council’s institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov specified that the withdrawal from the Council of Europe would clearly mean a withdrawal from all of its mechanisms.

In light of the objects of our association (the promotion of a fair administration of justice, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the Netherlands and the Russian Federation) it goes without saying that the DRLA deplores this turn of events. We will keep you posted on the latest developments in this matter.

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