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In the United States, with its government of separated powers and functions, it is the executive branch, and in particular the Department of State, that bears responsibility for implementing legislation on foreign relations. The success of implementation will depend on political decisions, involving competing national interests, as well as on institutional and personal considerations of I he officials concerned. Inevitably, there is a gap between legislation and execution, especially when the Executive is not wholly sympathetic to the law. The gap may even devour legislated policies as the Executive refuses "to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," and bureaucratic and personal considerations distort judgments, exploit the generality and uncertainty of language, and lead to abuse of discretion. A notable instance of this problem has been executive implementation of legislation on international human rights.

Publication Citation

Stephen B. Cohen, Conditioning U.S. Security Assistance on Human Rights Practices, 76 Am. J. Int’l L. 246 (1982)