Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
is that I don't see a consensus on a sensible statement of what "an unbiased ICTY scorecard" would look like. [By the way, that's what a null hypothesis would be, vladimir seems to be calling anti-Serb bias "his null hypothesis" which is precisely what he's trying to prove, so calling it a null hypothesis is begging the question]

The observed scorecard is

To my mind, it is a differential rate of conviction to acquittal that would indicate bias - and then it would be a question of whether more/fewer people are indicted from a given group because of bias in the workings of the trials, or because of bias in the issuing of indictments. For instance, if more Serbs are convicted than Albanians, proportionally, is it because more Albanians were indicted than should have been, or because fewer Albanian indictees were convicted than should have been? And that is a question that cannot be answered from the court's scorecard.

Which I suppose is why we ended up comparing the number of indictments to the number of civilian casualties of the various factions. But again without a sensible consensus on what the "null hypothesis" would be. So you start fishing for correlations. And when you fish for correlations you cannot then use a test to show that the correlation you found is significant - that's a well-known source of confirmation bias.

So, to sum up - the situation is that there is a reference population from which indictees can come, and then we have two "error" probabilitites:

  • probability of wrongly indicting an innocent person
  • probability of wrongly not indicting a war criminal
These are two parameters that would have to be estimated. Then you can estimate the
* number of actual war criminals
And then you look at the trial process, and you have
  • probability of wrongly convicting an innocent indictee
  • probability of wrongly releasing a guilty indictee

This is the minimum number of parameters one would have to estimate per faction or per war or altogether.

And there's the vexed question of what the "reference population" and the "likely number of war criminals" would be.

Again, since [after over 200 comments in two threads] I don't see a sensible consensus on what an "unbiased court" would look like, I can't proceed with a statistical analysis.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:42:44 AM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series