The Council of Europe was founded on May 5, 1949. This international organisation has its headquarters in Strasbourg, France, and it gathers 47 member states. It is important to discern the Council of Europe from the European Council. The fundamental difference between the two institutions lies in the fact that the former deals with the promotion of democracy, human rights and rule of law in Europe, while the latter is committed in planning European Union policies, by defining its general positioning.
After this clarification, we will now examine in depth the role of the Council of Europe and its action, specifically towards the death penalty. In this regard, it is important to remember that from 1985 the abolition of the capital punishment is a preliminary condition in order to join the organisation. Another fundamental step was the signing in Rome in 1950 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), which entered into force in 1953. The Convention led to the establishing of the European Court of Human Rights, to which it is possible to appeal provided that a certain procedure is followed. In the majority of cases, almost 90% of them, the Court rejects the pleas and evaluates them as inadmissible, as it is necessary that they respect precise standards.
Compliance to human rights and democratic practices, non-discrimination and fight against racism, respect for freedom of expression, gender equality are only some of the areas of interest and commitment of the Council of Europe. Lastly, we remember that it was the Council that created the flag that was adopted at European level: a blue background and 12 stars in circle, as a symbol of perfection.