Russia ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe after 26 years as a result of the war in Ukraine, announced this body that defends human rights and democratic principles.
The Committee of Ministers, the decision-making body of the Council of Europe, thus completed the application of article 8 of its Statute to exclude it, he explained in a statement.
On February 25, with the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia‘s participation had been suspended and this Wednesday the formalized the expulsion.
The general secretary of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic, had stressed that the process that has ended with that expulsion was opened because the Ukraine attack “goes against everything we defend and constitutes a violation of our status and the European Convention on Human rights”.
The ambassadors meeting in the Committee of Ministers to formalize the exclusion had at the same time the request of the Russian authorities to leave the organization under another of the articles of its statute, 7.
But what has prevailed is the process opened on February 25 to apply Article 8, and that means that this is the first expulsion from a member state in the nearly 73-year history of the organization.
Once announced, several officials of the Council of Europe proceeded to lower the Russian flag from the entrance of the Palace of Europe, in Strasbourg, where it waved along with those of the other 46 member states, including Ukraine.
Russia’s withdrawal from the institution – which devised the European Convention on Human Rights and helped Eastern European nations democratize their political systems after the collapse of communism – has a symbolic weight.
However, the decision, announced a few hours before his expulsion is voted on at the Council of Europe assembly, has also concrete consequences.
The human rights convention will no longer apply to Russia, and Russians will no longer be able to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against their government.
Leonid Slutsky, head of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Lower House, said that the NATO countries and the European Union had seen in the Council “a means of ideological support for their military-political and economic expansion to the east”. .
“But don’t be afraid,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “All rights will be guaranteed in our country, necessarily and unconditionally.”
In a draft resolution, expected to be approved on Tuesday, the Council of Europe assembly was to call for Russia to leave the institution, saying: “In the common European home there is no place for an aggressor.”
The draft resolution also stated that the impact of Russia’s withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights would be mitigated by the fact that Russia, it said, did not act adequately on its sentences.
“There is no place for such a brutal country among us,” Maria Mezentseva, head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly, said during Tuesday’s debate.
(With information from EFE and Reuters)
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