Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm not qualified to comment on the statistical methods most appropriately employed in this analysis, so I will restrict myself to some non-statistical points.

  1. Are we not assuming that the average number of civilians killed by a war criminal will be the same for all ethnic/national groups.  Clearly the war criminal/civilian death ratio would be different if (say) the average Serbian war criminal killed more than the the average Croat war criminal - perhaps because of access to more powerful weaponry.  In that case you would expect a lower Serb prosecution ratio.

  2. Are we not conflating a huge number of different processes required to bring a war criminal to justice, any one of which could have a differential impact on the likelihood of successful prosecution?  E.g. Press coverage of atrocity, availability of survivors/witnesses, "Visibility of crime", degree of outrage created, ability to identify and detain suspects, quality of forensic and other evidence available, need to be seen to "do something" about an atrocity, quality/fairness of the judicial process itself.

  3. The realities of power.  Just as someone who scams Billions can get away with a relatively minor sentence whilst a common thief gets years, the person who personally tortures/kills a few civilians is more like to be prosecuted than a Cheney responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands.  Justice has always been an elite/winner determined process, and is more an attempt to restrain the worst excesses of the victors than and even handed administration of justice on the same basis for all.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 03:58:46 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series