Managing the Backlash? The PACE and the Question of Participation Rights for Russia

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is currently meeting in Strasbourg for its autumn session. Today, its 306 members eligible to vote had to face a crucial choice: Should they approve the amendment on the participation rights of national delegations, thus allowing Russia’s delegation to regain at least some participation rights, and hopefully resolve the looming financial crisis faced by the Council of Europe – or not?

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Bulgaria’s Constitutional Troubles with the Istanbul Convention

On July 27th Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court ruled that the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, contradicted Bulgaria’s Constitution. The decision may cause a stir among Western commentators not only because of its result, but also because of its peculiar legal arguments and untidy, repetitive narrative.

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The ECtHR and Post-coup Turkey: Losing Ground or Losing Credibility?

Since Turkey’s coup attempt in July 2016, human rights violations have been abundant. With a broken Turkish justice system, the ECtHR has received over 33,000 applications from the country, with 30 to 40 more incoming each week. Shockingly, more than 90% of these applications have been dismissed. This is often on dubious grounds, causing experts and Turkish citizens alike to condemn its response.

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Polish Constitutional crisis goes to Europe – or does it?

The latest move by the Polish government in its attempt to disembowel the Constitutional Court looks, on first sight, like a conciliatory gesture: The Minister of Foreign Affairs has submitted two proposals amending the Act on the Constitutional Court to examination by the Venice Commission, the expert body on constitutional issues of the Council of Europe. Does this turn to Europe signal a change of heart in the revolutionary zeal on the part of the Polish government? Not so fast. On closer inspection, the request appears conspicuously ambiguous. The motion does not even specify in sufficient detail what text(s) the Venice Commission is to provide its opinion on.

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