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The history of the genesis and institutionalization of the European Convention on Human Rights offers a striking account of the innovation of a new legal subject and practice—European human rights—that went along with, but also beyond, the political and legal genesis of Europe following World War II. The rise of the European human rights institutions shows not only how law and lawyers played key roles in the early politics of European integration but also how the subtle combination of law and politics—as both national and international strategies—continued to play a decisive part in the institutionalization of European human rights. The article generally argues that the interplay between law and diplomacy had a fundamental impact on the innovation of European law and that lawyers capable of playing an intermediary role between the two were particularly central to this development.