06 April 2006 :the Council of Europe's envoys urged Russia to fulfill its pledge to abolish the death penalty as it prepared to take over the rotating presidency in the continent's top human rights body. Belgian Senate member Luc Van den Brande and Theodoros Pangalos of Greece, who monitor Russia's compliance with its commitments to the council, said Russia's failure to abolish capital punishment was a concern.
"It's of first importance ... there are principles where it's not possible to make a compromise," Van den Brande said at a news conference.
Russia had maintained a moratorium on the death penalty since 1996 when it joined the Council of Europe, but the Kremlin had remained reluctant to outlaw it altogether because of widespread public support for capital punishment. "Politicians ... should find courage to stand up to pressure," Pangalos said.