The “Empty-Shell” Approach: The Setup Process of International Administrations in Timor-Leste and Kosovo, Its Consequences and Lessons

Nicolas Lemay-Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
599 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

State-building under the aegis of international administrations has faced various hurdles and obstacles in Kosovo and Timor-Leste — failures that came to full light in March 2004 in Kosovo and in May 2006 in Timor-Leste. However, the international conception buttressing the set up of international administrations — I dub it the "empty-shell" approach — is still present in certain policy circles. This article aims to analyze this international conception by clarifying how the UN came to impose its authority over the two territories in a very similar process. While the literature on each state-building experiment is vast and com- pelling, few authors have attempted to contrast the two case studies, especially regarding the mental conception informing the governance process of these territories since 1999. This article links the empty-shell approach with the delegitimization process that came to be experi- enced by the UN in both cases. The article describes the international policies put in place by the UN to expand its control over the two terri- tories, a mix of co-option of local elites and the marginalization of the local population. Finally, the article reveals some possible solutions in order to avoid the more blatant difficulties pertaining to state-building conducted from the outside-in.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-211
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Studies Perspectives
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011

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