Canada and International Law: Supporting a Rules-Based Approach to International Relations
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Canada has long supported a rules-based approach to international relations. Indeed, by statute, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs is tasked with fostering the development of international law and Canada conducts a significant component of its international relations through legally-binding treaties made with other states. Canada also engages in the setting of normative goals and political commitments through the negotiation of non-treaty texts which, while non-legally binding, may help build a consensus in support of future legal developments. Canada's respect for a rules-based approach also extends to international dispute settlement, although Canada rarely resorts to international courts for inter-state disputes. Canada was, however, heavily involved in the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court to hold individuals, as distinct from states, responsible for internationally-wrongful acts. But while international law is respected by Canada as an important ordering regime and worthy of promotion within the international community, there remain times when national interests may take precedence.
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