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A decent diary, vlad. I don't know enough about statistics other than to say that weighting is practiced surveys aimed at predicting outcomes. I have no idea whether it applies to analysis of this kind. The statistical universe you present is small enough that were it a survey attempting to predict, weighting would definitely be called for.

That being said, your overarching point is well taken by me, that there may indeed be (and I am not as certain of it as you are evidently - these are after all, UN proceedings) a political bias involved. Right now, I'm halfway through a book about humanitarian intervention in international law. The author's main point is that historically, there has been virtually no intervention without political motives being involved, be they unspoken publically.

So far it looks impossible to divorce geopolitical competition from humanitarian interventions or human rights prosecutions (I think a reasonable extrapolation here). Press coverage is a highly determining factor here, and Russia will never catch up with the West in cases like this because few believe the Russian press. How can we tell when RIA Novosti, Moscow Times, Russia Today, Voice of Russia, Interfax, etc when there's little evidence of journalistic independence? (Yes, I read all those -  just not lately.)

The bias you propose probably exists to some extent, but is it a result of conspiracy or what I'll call the "quality of information" that good people called upon to make judgements possess? This is a problem that has been raised in the humanitarian intervention debate - the uneveness of enforcement, mostly due to uneven attention given in the press. I wouldn't be surprised if the same dynamic wasn't working here as well. These are highly, highly charged issues.

And with that, I'm off to bed. I must be mad. The alarm clock goes off in 3 1/2 hours.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:38:26 AM EST
Of course, the law has always been a political travesty. Examples are omnipresent:
> Nuremberg - where the Allies decide that torching enemy cities isn't a crime because they themselves engaged in the practice,
> the US treatment of prisoners of war who are reclassified into... what was it - enemy combatants or something fuzzy - thereby 'legally allowing' the US to torture,
> The bombing of Yugoslavia without a UN resolution, the destruction of its civilian infrastructure,
> The invasion of Iraq, ...
And all of it was deemed 'legal' in London, Washington, or wherever else the decisions were taken.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:17:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the law is ok, if impractical: only the Security Council can authorize any intervention, and I know they can instruct the ICC to open an investigation. Though I don't know if any other party can. I believe signatories to the genocide convention are obligated (or may) bring a case to the ICC or ICJ or something.

But once something hits the Security Council, it all appears political What the UN needs is a citizenship of its own..

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen all sorts of characterizations about Kosovo, one of my favorites is that it was "illegal but legitimate." How Orwellian can you get? The hair they split there is that since diplomatic, legal efforts failed the intervention was legitimized (they must mean politically) by the perceived need to save lives.

I know no one - ot a single person - who would even try to justify Gitmo. Why the world doesn't prefer charges against Rumsfeld, Yoo, Addington, Cheney, Bush et al is beyond me. There is at least one city here in the US who passed a law ordering the arrest of Cheney should he go there. Look at Bashir in Sudan. Not being a party to the ICC is no longer a barrier to prosecution.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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