The European Court of Human Rights ("the Court") was established by the Council of Europe in 1959 to enforce the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention"). The Court, by combining the expansive provisions of the European Convention with a "living document" philosophy of interpretation, has become a powerful international organization in the arena of human rights. Not only has the Court advanced a progressive social agenda throughout the member countries of the Council of Europe (now 44), as an international court interpreting a multi-lateral treaty, its rulings can provide "evidence" of international legal standards/customary international law that broaden its influence beyond the signatories to the Convention.