Of the various bodies and mechanisms affecting human rights in Europe, this page deals primarily with the Council of Europe and with the European Union. (The Zief Library research guide Human Rights Research - The Basics has general advice on human rights projects, and emphasizes the U.N. human rights system.)
The EU as an entity distinct from the Council of Europe addresses human rights issues in a variety of ways. The following sites and documents offer some basic introductory information.
The Council of Europe (which is not part of the EU), is the oldest of the European human rights mechanisms, and is very active in many areas of human rights. Under its auspices, Council of Europe members have entered into over 100 treaties, including the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court was established by the European Convention on Human Rights. It has the power to rule on complaints by individuals, groups, and organizations alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Case law from the European Court of Human Rights is freely available on the Web.
The European Human Rights Reports database is the best Westlaw source for European Court of Human Rights cases.
Sample searches (run as "Advanced" searches on Westlaw):
Locally, Hastings Law Library has the official reports of the European Court of Human Rights from 1961 to 1996 and from 2002 to 2006.
Try these books for background on human rights in Europe — and especially on the Council of Europe mechanism, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights.