Chapter 3: Implementation of international agreements in national law
The first and basic rule to keep in mind whenever international relations are discussed is that it is the law of the land that rules. Thus the primary source of law in any country is the national legislation as adopted and promulgated in accordance with the constitutional arrangements of that country. As a starting point international treaties are agreements between states and therefore do not have the force of primary or secondary legislation in individual countries. Whether such force is granted to them will depend on whether they are formally accepted by the constitutional bodies of the country in question and how they are implemented. Much can be said about these topics, but let it suffice here to note that any international instrument discussed in this book must have been signed and ratified or acceded to by a country before it has any legally binding effect on that country. Furthermore even when such binding effect has been established, whether the treaty will have any legally binding effect on the subjects of that country, its citizens, authorities, enterprises and other corporate entities, will depend on how such treaties are incorporated into national law under the national constitutional system. Two different systems dominate. Either there is no direct legal effect of such treaties in national law at all: thus in order to implement an international treaty, the national legislator needs to replicate all relevant provisions in the national legislation.
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