The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg (France), now covers virtually the entire European continent, with its 47 member countries. Founded on 5 May 1949 by 10 countries, the Council of Europe seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.
From the Foreword
The activities carried out in the Council of Europe for many years now, on the organisation of Justice in a democratic State governed by the rule of law, have allowed the variousaspects of the issue of the status of judges to be addressed on numerous occasions.These meetings over the past years have been devoted to the recruitment, training, career and responsibilities of judges, as well as the disciplinary system governing them. Thenumber of these meetings has increased since the end of the eighties due to the profound changes that have taken place in Eastern Europe.In 1997, the idea developed to maximise the results of the work and discussions in order to give this work better ‘visibility’ and above all to give a new impulse to the continuing effort to improve legal institutions as an essential element of the rule of law.The need to draft a European charter on the statute for judges was confirmed in July 1997, following a first multilateral meeting in Strasbourg devoted to the Status of Judges inEurope. The participants at this meeting came from 13 Western, Central and EasternEuropean countries, as well as from the European Association of Judges (EAJ) and theEuropean Association of Judges for Democracy and Freedom (MEDEL). The participants expressed a wish for the Council of Europe to give the necessary framework and support to the elaboration of the Charter.On the basis of these conclusions, the Directorate of Legal Affairs entrusted three experts from France, Poland and United Kingdom with the realisation of a draft charter.This draft, created in Spring 1998, was laid before the participants of a second multilateral meeting, also held in Strasbourg, on 8-10 July 1998. At the end of the three days ofdiscussion, the text, after having been improved by a certain number of amendments, was unanimously adopted.The value of this Charter is not a result of a formal status, which, in fact, it does not have, but of the relevance and strength that its authors intended to give to its contents. Athorough knowledge of its contents and a wide distribution of the Charter are essential for its goals to be realised . The Charter is aimed at judges, lawyers, politicians and moregenerally to every person who has an interest in the rule of law and democracy.
This is a draft report by Mr Dick Marty to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe on Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.