Postwar attempts to codify human rights into international instruments have been criticized for not setting effective limitations on national sovereignty. The European Convention on Human Rights, however, has been singled out as an exception, due to its legally enforceable character. In this chapter, I explore what led and enabled European states to produce a binding instrument, in order to understand the current predicaments of the Convention system from a historical perspective. The chapter argues that the formation of a unity around a commitment to human rights, rule of law and democracy was a means to secure and reinforce the sovereignty of the member states, as much as it was an attempt to limit it. At the heart of the drafting of the ECHR as an enforceable instrument stands the discourse of the similarity and equality of European states, the validity of which is no longer unquestioned.