Russia quits EU rule of law body, sparking questions over death penalty


Russia has announced it will withdraw from Europe’s oldest rule of law body, the Council of Europe, sparking questions about the future of the Kremlin’s moratorium on the death penalty.

The Kremlin imposed a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which remains enshrined in Russian law, as a condition of joining the Council of Europe in 1996.

The Council of Europe suspended all Russian representatives of the participation in the aftermath of President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of an invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The decision did not affect the European Court of Human Rights.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia’s suspension from the Council of Europe was a “good opportunity” to reinstate the death penalty.

“Russia will not participate in the transformation of Europe’s oldest organization into yet another platform for invocations of Western superiority and narcissism by NATO and its obedient supporter, the EU,” the ministry said Thursday. Russian Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“Let them enjoy talking to each other without Russia.”

The forcefully worded two-paragraph Foreign Ministry statement did not indicate when Russia intended to withdraw from the 47-member organization.

Russia’s membership will expire at the end of fiscal year 2022, said Senator Konstantin Kosachev, deputy speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Recount state media.

Kosachev said Russia’s exit from the Council of Europe implied a denunciation of its charter and of the European Convention on Human Rights, which obliges member states to abolish the death penalty.

The move would also bar Russians from filing complaints with the European Court of Human Rights.


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