Logo der Universität Wien

Current Issue


Initiates file downloadDOWNLOAD (pdf)

No. 6: Werther-Pietsch, Ursula (2015): Staat und/oder Gesellschaft Statebuilding III: Die Bedeutung von Selbstbestimmung im Staatsaufbau. Department of Development Studies Working Paper No. 6, URL (Date of last visit).


One of the most complex challenges of today is defining new balances of power in fragile post-conflict societies. In the aftermath of conflict, it is a mix of internal and external actors that play crucial roles. Whereas older statebuilding originally followed a Westphalian, predominantly institutional approach, recent strategies include contextualization as a key lesson from the development arena and put State/citizen relationships at the centre.

I argue that peacebuilding, statebuilding and human rights, despite difficult frictions to overcome, may work together in favor of the marginalized and poor, and thus for sustainable peace. The guiding human rights principles of non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability translate citizens’ expectations regarding governmental policies into positions of rights’ holders and contribute to self-determined life.

This shift towards local empowerment (local self-determination) creates a new normative space by promoting the acceptance of a future-binding inner dimension of sovereignty (“ius post bellum”, international law of transition). This can be derived from a concurrence of law, politics, peace and development policies, which shows how interaction between different disciplines can lead to new solutions.

Keywords: Fragility, self-determination, ius post bellum, conflict transformation, legitimacy, human rights-based approach

Author information: Ursula Werther-Pietsch is Priv.-Doz. (associate professor) of International Law and International Relations and Deputy Director within the Austrian Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. She worked at the Federal Chancellery – Constitutional Service and the Bureau of the Legal Advisor at the Foreign Ministry as well as at the Universities of Vienna and Graz. Her research areas include human security, peacebuilding, EU, development and transitional law.

IE Working Papers
Department of Development Studies
University of Vienna
Sensengasse 3/2/2
1090 Vienna

T: +43 1 4277 23901
F: +43 1 4277 9239
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0