Dipartimento di
Scienze giuridiche

institution building

Italy for Iraq 2008
A series of study seminars on the Italian legal system from a comparative point of view
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Suor Orsola Benincasa University, Naples

Nassyria, Iraq
May-October 2008


The Law Faculty at Suor Orsola has launched a project for Institution building which will consist in study activities and cultural exchanges, providing information on Western legal systems for the countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle-East, in view of aims to reconstruct Iraq's socio-economic structure and administrative skills, as well as the promotion of projects concerning human rights and the Rule of Law.
The project is original, as it focuses on information, study and comparison, and involves all areas of law and thus envisages not only the involvement of areas of international law, but of all the categories of law within the Law Faculty.
What matters is a consideration of the institutions of the various areas of law: from private and commercial law to constitutional law, from administrative and tax law to criminal law, from the organisation of the public administration to that of justice and its procedures, from international relations to the protection of social rights and fundamental freedoms.
All this in the awareness that, ultimately, the knowledge involved in university education is what gives substance to the institutions of a society.

The first activity is to be an education programme drawn up as part of an agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa in April 2008, in order to provide more detailed knowledge of the history, theory and techniques of a Western legal system.
The project will take place in Nassyria, Iraq, between May and October 2008, and consists of seven study seminars addressed to representatives of the institutions, universities, and the world of the law and the mass media.
The texts and findings of the seminars will be published.


A series of study seminars
Italy for Iraq 2008

Aim: The course aims to supply an overview of the main issues of the workings of a constitutional State, with particular reference to the Italian experience, as seen from the point of view of comparative and European Union law, also in the light of the development of the case-law of the Courts of Strasbourg and Luxemburg. Areas covered are those strictly connected with organisation, and subjects pertaining to rights and freedom, concentrating on those of particular importance for the reconstruction of the State and the civil society, by bolstering the culture of legality.

1) Rule of law
1. Constitution and the principle of legality. - 2. The separation of powers. - 3 rights and freedoms: Constraints and guarantees.
Film: Porte aperte, G. Amelio, Italy, 1990

2) Federalism
1. Federalism and regionalism. - 2. Federalism and rights. - 3. Fiscal federalism, equal distribution, the principle of equality.
Film: The Wind that Shakes the Barley, K. Loach, UK, 2006

3) Religious freedom and worship
1. Freedom of conscience and religion. - 2. The principle of the secular state. - 3. Relations between the State and religious faiths.
Film: In memoria di me, S. Costanzo, Italy, 2007

4) Women and the family
1. The principle of equality and non-discrimination. -2. The evolving concept of the family. - 3. The protection of minors and affiliation relationships.
Film: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, S. Kramer, USA, 1967

5) Work
1. Social rights and the right to strike. - 2. Rules disciplining employment. - 3. Protecting the rights of workers.
Films: 1) Raining stones (UK); 2) La classe operaia va in paradiso (It); 3) Riff Raff (UK, both by Ken Loach); 4) I lunedì al sole (Spain); Pane e cioccolata

6) Cultural heritage and territory management
1. The right of ownership. - 2. Culture and cultural heritage. - 3. The environment and territory.
Film: Le mani sulla città, F. Rosi, Italy, 1963

7) Freedom of information, schools and Universities
1. Freedom of information. - 2. Education for democracy. - 3. Universities and research.
Film: All the President's Men, A.J. Papula, USA, 1976


  departure for Iraq on Saturday return to Rome on Friday subject of the lessons films
May June 31st May 7th June Rule of Law Porte aperte, G. Amelio, Italy, 1990
  7th June 14th June Religious freedom and faiths In memoria di me, S. Costanzo, Italy, 2007
  14th June 21th June Women and the family Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, S. Kramer, USA, 1967
September 13th September 20th September Cultural heritage and territory management Le mani sulla città, F. Rosi, Italy, 1963
  20th September 27th September Federalism The Wind that Shakes the Barley, K. Loach, UK, 2006
September October 27th September 4rd October Freedom of information, Schools and Universities All the President's Men, A.J. Papula, USA, 1976
  4th October 11th October Work Riff Raff, K. Loach, UK, 1991


Academic Staff

prof. Franco Amarelli, Università di Napoli Federico II
prof.ssa Gisella Bassanelli, Università di Bologna
prof. Francesco De Sanctis, Rettore dell'Università Suor Orsola Benincasa
prof. Franco Fichera, Università di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa, Preside della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza
prof.ssa Vittoria Fiorelli, Università di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa
prof. Tommaso Frosini, Università di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa
avv. Giuseppe Galgano, foro di Napoli
prof.ssa Tania Groppi, Università di Siena, Università Suor Orsola Benincasa
prof.ssa Evelyn Hoebenreich, Università di Graz
prof. Roberto Migliorini, Università del Laterano
dott. Angelo Puglisi, Università di Napoli Federico II
prof. Mario Rusciano, Università di Napoli Federico II
avv. Giuseppe Sommariva, foro di Bologna
prof. Valerio Tozzi, Università di Salerno


institution building

The expression institution building frequently recurs in the documents of various international organisations - suffice it to mention the United Nations, the OSCE, the Venice Commission - meaning activities aiming to lead to the establishment, or the reconstruction, of democratic institutions in developing countries.
In none of the documents of these organisations, however, can a definition of institution building be found, nor does it appear possible to define its content by referring to exclusively legal categories. In this broader context, the very notion of institution finds itself taking on a broader meaning than is proper to it in the legal disciplines.

capacity development and institution building

From the Political Science point of view, institution building is one aspect of the process of capacity development.
Capacity development refers to a "process whereby individuals, organisations and companies obtain, strengthen and preserve the ability to establish and reach their own development objectives". It is a complex process, which consists of, among other things, a phase where a capacity development response is drafted. This phase includes institutional reforms, but also training and education programmes.
The capacity development programme was defined as "endogenous", as the capacities, already present in developing countries, must be developed but not imported. Thus, only home-grown policies, based on local capacities, are sustainable and potentially efficacious. Furthermore, there is no one-size-fits-all economic model, but the development models must be drafted case by case, in relation to the characteristics and peculiarities of the countries they are intended for.

the Pittsburgh model

Political scientists have defined institution building as a "strategy of social change created by introducing new organisations and institutions within a society, or by the re-institution of existing organisations and institutions".
Milton Esman, through the drafting of the so-called Pittsburgh model, was its main theoretician. According to the author, institution building is "the institution of new organizations for purposes which, in the opinion of those who hold power, require autonomous administrative operations and specific connections (linkages) with a broader social system, and they will be different from those that can be provided by the already existing administrative units".
The general model of institution building worked out by Esman is made up of two groups of factors, named variables and linkages. The variables are internal factors concerning the efficiency of an organisation: leadership, doctrine, programme, resources and internal structure. Linkages concern the relationships of an organisation with its environment, and are of four types: "enabling", "functional", "normative" and "widespread". Enabling linkages provide the organisation with resources such as money, personnel and legal authority. Functional linkages are relationships with other organisations which provide the necessary input or consume the output. Normative linkages are relationships with the other organs which share interests in the aims or methods of the new institution. Widespread linkages are the relationships with non-aggregated individuals or public actors able to support or oppose the organisation.
The model is based on various propositions, including, first of all, the principle of systems theory, according to which the creation of a more complex system is dependent on a subsystem capable of supporting it. Furthermore, institution building is a process of democratic rather than coercive change.
It has an "innovative function" - the introduction of new values, norms, behaviour and technology through new or reconstructed organisations - and a "supplementary function" - which comes about when the organisation and the changes introduced are accepted in a broader society in which they become part.
Because of the supplementary function of the institution building process, it must not comport excessive "social disturbance" (societal dislocation). It is necessary, that is, to guarantee a correspondence between the planned social change and the existing environment.

institution building and democracy in the European Union

On the political level, an application of doctrine, as it has just been described, of institution building can be identified in the democracy support plans set up over the last few years by the European Union.
2005 saw the institution, in Brussels, of the European Foundation for Democracy, a group of experts coming from Europe, North America, and the Middle-East, which, through cooperation with the European institutions, civil society and individuals, supports the spread of democracy and freedom throughout the world. To this end, they aim to promote the protection of human rights, the freedom of conscience, individual freedom, and pluralism.
Setting up the foundation comes within the area of activities which the community institutions carry out to strengthen democracy, including the European Neighbourhood Policy programme - launched in the light of the entry of new States in 2004, to favour stability in the Eastern European countries, through adhesion to bilateral agreements - and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, of 2006, which constitutes the financial instrument through which the European Union will provide complementary support for the promotion of democracy and human rights for the period from 2007 to 2013.
However, the European Union's activities promoting democracy have seen important developments especially over the last few days. On 15 April, in fact, President Barroso of the European Commission, and former President Chissano of Mozambique presented the new European Foundation for Democracy through Partnership (EFDP), with its head office in Brussels, founded on the premise that "democracy cannot be exported", but must be supported throughout the world. It is an independent European organisation, which aims to contribute to the advancement and strengthening of democracy beyond the borders of the European Union, completing existing democracy support programmes. It is made up of around 15 organisations (civil society organisations) working to support democracy, and will have three main functions: the spread and sharing of knowledge and experiences; pressure activities to contribute to defining a common EU approach in supporting democracy; to increase the financial resources which already exist, to make funding available in cases where reforms are possible or when democratic institutions are threatened. The foundation's fields of action will concern the so-called hard case countries (Cuba, Burma, Zimbabwe), characterised by a high level of corruption, "fragile" democracies at an initial stage of transition (such as Georgia in 2003/2004), countries currently, or until recently, in conflict (such as Somalia) and, lastly, democracies at the consolidation stage going through new transition phases (Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya).

institution building and the Council of Europe

From a legal point of view, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission especially, organise joint activities to set up institutions in States which have recently adopted democracy, or to strengthen them in countries with a longer democratic tradition.
Indeed, the founding, in 1990, of the Venice Commission answered, on one hand, the need for urgent support for countries which had only recently become free of totalitarian regimes, creating the political and legal infrastructures necessary for the creation of a pluralist democracy, human rights and the rule of law and, and on the other hand, the need to strengthen the already existing democratic institutions (see CSCE Seminar of Experts on Democratic Institution, Oslo, 4-15 November 1991).
Furthermore, the role of the Venice Commission in strengthening democracy has gradually extended over the years, also through its application of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Especially, in recommendation No. 1629 (2003) on the future of democracy (Strengthening Democratic Institutions), the Parliamentary Assembly encouraged the development of democratic standards, assistance in setting them up, and the assessment of how they are respected by member States, as well as the definition of precise and suitable programmes, and the allocation of sufficient resources in the fields of education in democratic citizenship, the preparation of young democratic leaders and the media.
It is clear that the strengthening of democracy, according to the orientation of the Council of Europe, is not exclusively guaranteed by the mere existence of the traditional institutions of constitutional rule of law, but also, and especially, requires their concrete inclusion in a broader context which will favour, from the substantial point of view, the development of a democratic culture. It is necessary therefore to support the spread of a culture where democracy is considered the best guarantee of respect for human dignity, and where its advantages and utility are made known, as well as showing its superiority over other systems, excluding all alternatives. To achieve this, it is fundamental to carry out a programme of education in democracy. This need is essential to avoid the risk of dislocation - the non-correspondence between the institutions and the environment in which they exist - which political scientists fear.
Education in democratic culture is useful in consolidated democracies, where sometimes, however, the anachronism of democratic institutions and the lack of confidence in the political class means the delegitimisation and undermining of the traditional fora for the expression of the power of the state, but it is urgent in the new democracies, where the transformation of society has still not been fully achieved.
Lastly, the spread of a culture of democracy, necessary for the actual consolidation of institutions, cannot be fully accomplished without fruitful cooperation between the academic and political worlds, opening up room for discussion on the limits of the institutions and the reforms needed to overcome them in consolidated democracies, as well as on the actions necessary for institution building in the countries facing a process of social and political transition.

note edited by
Tania Groppi
Maria Dicosola




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