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A Statistical Analysis of the ICTY's bias.

by vladimir Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 03:45:32 PM EST

This diary follows up on an inconclusive discussion between JakeS and me regarding proof (or lack thereof) that the ICTY is a biased court. Here, I offer the results of a statistical analysis of the available data - mainly on war crimes in ex-Yugoslavia.

In order to complete a statistically significant test, I started out by collecting specific data on the 3 separate conflicts in ex Yugoslavia: 1. the Bosnian conflict, 2. the Croatian conflict and 3. the Kosovo conflict. I went to the ICTY list of indicted individuals and separated according to the specific conflict where they stand accused of war crimes. For 7 Serbs (like Slobodan Milosevic) and others (mostly members of the FRY government or army and navy) who were not accused of a specific war crime in Bosnia or Croatia, I associated their indictment with events in Kosovo.

This approach allowed me to isolate each war as an independent event, thereby eliminating the need to estimate which army killed which civilians.

Here are the results of this analysis:

These figure were then compared to the number of civilian casualties during each of these 3 wars. I limited the casualties to civilians because this is a priori what constitutes a war crime. Most of the civilian casualty figures were obtained from Wikipedia - which itself uses the ICTY, the Red Cross and for the Serbian civilian casualty figures in Kosovo, an EU funded project run out of Belgrade. You can easily find these estimates on Wikipedia. Here are the figures:

In addition to a comparison of Serb versus non Serb accused by the ICTY, it is also pertinent to assess how the ICTY's treatment of Serbs (and others for that matter) compares to other tribunals established to prosecute war criminals - namely the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Nuremberg Trials. Here is the data that I found (on numerous sites for Nuremberg and the official ICTR site for Rwanda):

The total casualty figure for Rwanda is 800 000. I subtracted 100 000 for military casualties and used the result for the analysis. For Nuremberg, I used a ballpark figure of 10 million civilian casualties, although the true number is probably much higher. Whether the figures used for civilian dead during WWII should be higher or lower is up to debate, but given the ratio of indicted and sentenced to civilian dead, another figure would have only a nominal impact on statistical significance test.

Below is a table which offers a synthesis of the findings - per war and per ethnic group - all wars included (ex-Yugoslav wars, Rwanda and WWII).

Ind : Cas = Ratio of Indicted to Casualties
Snt : Cas = Ratio of Sentenced to Casualties

By comparing the ratio of the Serb mean of Indicted versus enemy civilian casualties to the other group (Bosnians, Albanians, Tutsis, Germans and Croats) we see that we have 5,13 more Serbs convicted per enemy civilian casualty than the other groups. A `t test' analysis of the figures gives us a result of 2,89 for 6 degrees of freedom. This is equivalent to a 97,5% rate of certainty that the bias real (ie. that it's not just a statistical fluke). NB. For all those who want the original Excel analysis, I'll be more than happy to mail it to you.

Below is a table which offers a synthesis of the findings - per war and per ethnic group - limited to the ex-Yugoslav wars.

This analysis shows that 3,18 more Serbs are convicted per enemy civilian casualty than Bosnian Muslims, Albanians and Croats. This `t test' gives a result of 2,28 with 4 degrees of freedom - or a certainty rate in the range of 95%.

A final comment on the casualty figures used for the war in Bosnia. Croats and Bosnian Muslims were lumped together (due to limited ICTY data) which puts my null hypothesis at a disadvantage in that the retained assumption (albeit forced and false) is that all Croat and Bosnian Muslim civilians were killed by Serbs - whereas in fact, there is ample evidence of ethnic cleansing and atrocities committed between Croats and Muslims (namely around Mostar).


Display:
By comparing the ratio of the Serb mean of Indicted versus enemy civilian casualties to the other group (Bosnians, Albanians, Tutsis, Germans and Croats) we see that we have 5,13 more Serbs convicted per enemy civilian casualty than the other groups.

No you don't. To find the ratio of indicted Serbs to other people's civvies, you need to do a weighted average, but you're doing a vanilla average.

When you do a weighted average, you get 2.16 indicted Serb for every 1000 enemy civilians, and 2.16 indicted Croat or Bosniac for every Serb civilian. And you get 1.02 convicted Serb for every 1000 enemy civilians, while you get 0.89 Bosniac and Croat convictions for every 1000 Serb civilians.

Also do note that the ratio of convictions will likely change as time progresses, because there is a number of indictees whose trials are not yet finished (that's a story in and of itself, but let's save that for another day).

The figures for Rwanda and Nürnberg are of somewhat dubious value to this discussion: The way you are using it assumes a linear relationship between the number of civilian deaths and the number of war criminals - that's a pretty reasonable assumption when we're talking about wars in the same ballpark (in this case between a couple of thousand civilian deaths and a couple of tens of thousands). But it may or may not be reasonable to extend it to wars involving hundreds or millions of civilian casualties.

(And of course, Re: Nürnberg, one should not forget that the Russians shot a couple of thousand Nazis in the DDR for war crimes and other stuff...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 05:57:29 PM EST
What do you mean by weighted average, how do you weigh it?
And do you mean 2.16 indicted Serb for every 1000 civilians - or civilian war casualties ?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 06:26:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Civilian casualties, as that is what the subject deals with. (One could also divide by the number of displaced people, or the number of permanently displaced people, but right now, we're dealing with civilian casualties during the war.)

Weighted average. In this case weighted by the number of civilian deaths that went into each individual ratio.

The weighted average is preferable because the lower numbers of necessity have higher uncertainties associated with them - similar to the batting averages in the first example here

For the same reasons, the standard deviations given in the diary are nonsense, and cannot be used to show significance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 06:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Call me a statistical dilletant, I still can't see how using weighted averages in this example would change anything - I don't see how you got your numbers either, btw. Are you speaking about the averages made with the numbers of the three wars?

To me he sounds like trying to say that serb casualties are bigger and so are serb indictions and convictions.

Now I would understand if you protested the principle of this thread, that the number of casualties should be (directly or not) related to the number of indicted, which to me is not quite so obvious.

Anyway, the fact that the West declared the Serbs to be the Enemy is in itself sufficient proof that the "international court" established by the West amongst themselves (as usual) is biased. We can't seriously  expect the albanian leaders who allowed their people to be butchered indicted, or a dutch judge to declare US or Germany as the instigators of this conflict. Just as we can't expect Bush brought to justice for going to war in Iraq without a UN Sec. Council resolution, and without any proof at all. Duh.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 07:40:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I should have been clearer about where my figures come from.

I simply take the total number of Serbian indictees (15+71+13 = 99) and divide by the total number of non-Serb civilian casualties from wars they were involved in (3368+38000+4500 = 45868). And then I do the same for (Croats+Bosniacs) - while remembering that they didn't have any hand in the Serbian casualties in Kosova, on account of them not being in Kosova during the war there.

That gives you the numbers I cite in the top-level comment.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:41:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're saying that for the Serb data, I should calculate as if it were 1 war and not 3 separate wars. It's certainly not 1 war. It could eventually be 2 wars.

If I choose to calculate as 3 separate wars, with 3 specific data points, I'm not contravening any statistical rules and I have a case from a historical perspective. So my hypothesis holds.

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sigh

Your three data points do not have the same uncertainty, which is a requirement for the statistical test you're using. And they certainly don't have the uncertainty you imply by taking the standard deviation: The figure for Bosnia is much, much more likely to be accurate than the figures for Kosova and Croatia, if for no other reason than the fact that the numbers involved are an order of magnitude bigger.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of their relative size? Because they were precisely different wars? Why? In that case, none of the 8 points involved have the same uncertainly level.

So you're saying that a statistical significance test requires that all data points used have the same level of uncertainty in order to hold? That means that you can't calculate statistical significance of the output of one factory compared to another - larger one... of one assets price to that of another - traded by a different bank... of one petri dish to another - not manufactured by the same company!

You're saying that statistical significance tests only hold in a controlled laboratory environment. Wow.

If that's true, then we'll never know whether the ICTY was biased. In fact, we'll never know that is was NOT biased.

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of their relative size? Because they were precisely different wars? Why?

Because of their relative size. All other things being equal, smaller numbers have larger relative uncertainties - and relative uncertainties go into multiplication and division. So when you divide two small numbers, than you get a larger uncertainty on the ratio than when you divide two large numbers.

So you're saying that a statistical significance test requires that all data points used have the same level of uncertainty in order to hold?

Not all significance tests, just the one you're using. The one you're using assumes Gaussian distributions with uniform uncertainties. There are other ways to do it, and there are conditions under which that assumption can be relaxed, but the way you're doing it isn't one of those conditions.

That means that you can't calculate statistical significance of the output of one factory compared to another - larger one... of one assets price to that of another - traded by a different bank... of one petri dish to another - not manufactured by the same company!

Yes you can. But not the way you do above.

You're saying that statistical significance tests only hold in a controlled laboratory environment. Wow.

No, I'm saying that the test you're using above only holds when you have (roughly) equal uncertainties, which you don't have. That's more likely to be a reasonable approximation in a controlled lab environment, but when you have independent means to estimate the uncertainties involved (as is usually the case in the real world, you can modify the test to deal with that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are other ways to do it, and there are conditions under which that assumption can be relaxed.

So what's the most appropriate method?

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would use weighted averages, as I said above. You can play with them in different ways to get different kinds of information, but as long as we don't have any really good ways to estimate uncertainties, there is no way you'll ever get a "significance test" in the ordinary sense of the term.

I have to run now, but if you'd like, I can play around with a couple of different measures when I get home, to see what comes out.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly is your null hypothesis?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:44:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That Serbs are more likely to be indicted/sentenced than non Serbs - one tailed.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:57:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is an unbiased court.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:59:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It can be for a t test which can be used to check for a statistically significant difference between the means of two samples.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case the null hypothesis is the equality of means - that is, lack of bias.

In addition, the t-test requires equality of variances as Jake pointed out. The t-test for equality of means is a sad example of a test that is taught because it can be done in closed form on a blackboard rather than because its conditions actually obtain in real life.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct and that's why I calculated the variance of the 2 different data sets.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What parameter are you trying to estimate again?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A t test is specific for small sample populations. Why use Poisson?
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A t test is specific for Gaussian variables.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:58:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And why do you assume that the number of indicted or convicted war criminals per number of civilian casualties follow a Gaussian distribution?
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't, that's why I haven't said you should use a t-test.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could say the number of indicted or convicted war criminals is a Poisson distribution with parameter proportional to the number of civilian casualties, and estimate the coefficient of proportionality.

It is not at all obvious that the ratio of indictees to civilians in that case should follow any given distribution, for instace a Gaussian.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 12:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the size of the relevant population?

All members of the ethnic group in the whole former Yugoslavia? In the relevant republic? The number of combatants? Or would you expect the number of indictees to be independent of the size of the ethnic group? How about proportionality to the number of dead civilians in other factions, etc?

All this for an unbiased court. You can then quantify the deviations from the model.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 10:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By which I mean, in an unbiased court, what would you expect the number of indictments to be proportional to? We have had a large number of incompatible measures thrown about for days.

You'd probably end up with a test for the parameter of a Poisson distribution or something, not a mean and standard deviation of a Gaussian.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 09:58:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it's Poisson we should be using.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 10:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but you need a sensible null hypothesis for the behaviour of an unbiased court.

And then you can do a test for the rate of conviction which is a Bernouilli test.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 10:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's quite intuitive, I guess. I for one payed nearly no attention on the two micro wars.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:16:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right - I overlooked that. But the proof of bias is there... whether you use a weighted average or vanilla average.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You call a 1:1 correspondence in indictments a proof of bias? A 10:9 correspondence in convictions? There is a possible bias in favour of Albanians, but that does not mean that there is a bias against Serbs.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:20:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then we're not comparing the same thing. You said that the group's average should be weighted... and indeed that can be an approach - which would change the estimated factor of bias - but it wouldn't change the t test results - which confirm that there is a statistically significant difference between the two groups being compared.

By weighing the group's average, you don't change any individual ethnic group's results. If you look at these results (in the last graph provided in the diary), you'll see that in the Bosnian war, it appears that all ethnic groups are treated equally. However, these figures work on the wrong assumption that there was no killing of Croats by Muslims and vice-versa...

Compared to Muslims & Croats in Bosnia we have:
> a bias of 100:135 against Serbs in Croatia
> a bias of 100:179 against Serbs in Kosovo
> a bias of 22:100 in favour of Albanians
> a bias of 0:100 in favour of Croatian Croats

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm saying that all your averages and standard deviations should be weighted by the denominators that went into your ratios.

And your comparisons of conviction rates are pure, mean-spirited garbage, because there are still cases outstanding which will in all probability change most of those figures significantly. Compare indictments, or break down the indictments into convictions, acquittals and outstanding cases, if you like to. But using only convictions is nonsense as long as there are cases outstanding.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bull shit Jake. That's something you could eventually argue had the tribunal been set up last year. But after 16 years of the tribunal's work, taking the convictions is perfectly legitimate. Look at Seselj, he's been in jail for 6 years, with no exit date in view... and is without a conviction and even without a trial (it's been indefinitely adjourned)! Where would you put him?

It's perfectly plausible to say that the outstanding cases will follow the same pattern as those already finished. Unless you have some inside information that there is an army of Croats and Albanians in the dock waiting to be convicted.

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:14:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Unless you have some inside information that there is an army of Croats and Albanians in the dock waiting to be convicted.
Bull shit vladimir, by your own data there are 6 Croats whose trial is "ongoing" (and 2 have been transferred to national courts) vs. 9 (+8) Serbs. So there are proportionally more Croatian cases outstanding than Serb.

Regarding Kosovo, it is a well-known fact that when the number of people in a category drops below about 5, statistical tests become insufficiently powerful. In the case of Kosovo the expected numbers are small enough you can't really draw any conclusions.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:23:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bull shit migeru ;)

That's a ratio of 8 Croats : 17 Serbs.
Croatian population= 4,5 M
Serbian population= 8 M (not counting Kosovo Albanians)

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it looks even
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't compare to the population, you compare to the number of indictments in which the ratio is closer to 3:1 than to 2:1.

You are beginning to appear disingenuous. You keep moving the goalposts.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My fault.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:54:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But even with 3:1... we're in the same ball park. It's not going to change your end result by very much.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, I'll be the first to argue that keeping people locked up for decades without trial is a monstrous travesty of justice. I'd argue that Adolf fucking Hitler should be released if you couldn't convict him after five years. But there are a couple of points here that you fail to account for:

  1. Not all the cases started at the same time, because some of the indictees were better at evading capture than others.

  2. You can reasonably expect (at least to first order) that the ratio between convictions and acquittals hold up - so you could use the figure [convictions*(1 + ongoing/acquittals)] if you wanted to. But using just convictions remains nonsense.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, you really shouldn't be making even an implicit comparison between Seselj and Hitler.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, even better than convicted, we could use the severity of the conviction (number of years sentenced to prison). But that's also something that would take time to compile. Really, all the other indicators can be politically charged - including for example, convicted and then released 1 year later.

The cases outstanding only favour the Croats and this by a very small margin. So I'd still go with the convicted indicator.

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember that the more variables you throw into your model the least significant are the results.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The cases outstanding only favour the Croats and this by a very small margin. So I'd still go with the convicted indicator.
Are you cherry-picking your indicators?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:48:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are you insinuating that? I'm just reacting to Jake's comment about me being mean spirited (which I really didn't appreciate) and explaining why I think the convicted indicator is best.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My being mean spirited because I chose the 'convicted' indicator and not the 'acquitted indicator' which in his opinion was much better.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You misunderstand the use of "mean-spirited". Focus on this instead
Compare indictments, or break down the indictments into convictions, acquittals and outstanding cases, if you like to. But using only convictions is nonsense as long as there are cases outstanding.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 01:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, it's the comparison that I call mean spirited, not you - apologies if that wasn't clear.

Second, I'm not arguing that you should use acquittals - I'm arguing that you should use [convictions*(1 + ongoing/acquittals)], which, unlike convictions, would make sense... kind of.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 02:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These figure were then compared to the number of civilian casualties during each of these 3 wars. I limited the casualties to civilians because this is a priori what constitutes a war crime.

Er No, that would be a war crime under the 4th Geneva convention, dealing with the mistreatment of civilians, you can be indicted under the first three for war crimes too, so any mistreatment of prisoners of war also would count as war crimes dealt with under ICTY rules. So the base numbers you are working from are not necessarily correct.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 15th, 2009 at 07:59:45 PM EST
I also limited the exercice to civilian casualties because of the data that was available. Sure, you can find ways of improving the analysis and making it more water tight - but that would require a significant investment in time and resources. Resources that I simply don't have.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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 ]
What you've done is shown that Serbs are convicted more often than you'd expect in random experiments.

But these aren't random experiments, they're not meant to be: there are a lot of possible explanations, other than bias, for the outcome.

Possibly Serbs did commit more war crimes than the others. Maybe Serbs are less likely to testify or bring evidence to the tribunal against others, making it harder to convict them.

Can I  suggest that your conclusion of bias is based on validating your own biases: you might be right, but this doesn't demonstrate it at all.

In fact, I'd be pleasantly surprised, given the narrative and political environment it's operating in, if there wasn't a bias of some sort against Serbs in the tribunal's operations.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:29:21 AM EST
What you've done is shown that Serbs are convicted more often than you'd expect in random experiments.

What I've done is shown that Serbs are convicted more often than in other real life cases where the victor uses 'justice' to convict and discredit the losing side. I'm not even talking about war crimes committed by the victors... which are sure to never be brought to justice.

Possibly Serbs did commit more war crimes than the others.

Do you think that Serbs are genetically more prone to commit atrocities than other groups engaged in warfare? I don't, but that's precisely what MSM and many Western governments that actively participated in the country's dismemberment want you to believe.

This is the reason I listed all those Western wars with staggering numbers of civilian casualties in Upstate NY's diary on humanitarian intervention.

Maybe Serbs are less likely to testify or bring evidence to the tribunal against others, making it harder to convict them.

I don't think so. Just take a look at what happened to Carla del Ponte when she published her book alleging that the Kosovo Albanians engaged in a commerce of organs extracted their Serb victims (POWs and kidnapped civilians). She was not-so-elegantly told to shut up and move on.

Serbs have been active in requesting international arrest warrants of suspected war criminals. But politics always has the upper hand.

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:00:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think that Serbs are genetically more prone to commit atrocities than other groups engaged in warfare?

What makes you think I might?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:13:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you said that... maybe the Serbs DID commit more war crimes than the other groups. So I'm wondering what could drive a given ethnic group to be more murderous than another.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you jump to genetic determinism? Wow.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a question.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a given ethnic group. The whole thing was political and it is entirely possible for a given polity to go temporarily insane (or more insane then their neighbours in a time of general insanity).

Does the fact that Nazi Germany had more war criminals than the Allies point to genetic causes, or political causes?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:40:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think everyone was equally insane. You don't have degrees of sanity in a war. The differentiating factor was military.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
You don't have degrees of sanity in a war.
Was there a degree of sanity in the case of WWII?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it certainly is possible for one side to committ more atrocities than another. Look at Rwanda. It was demonstrably planned. We had accurate intelligence that it was deliberate, and the preponderance of atrocity was committed by the Hutu. Regardless of whatever criminal acts the Tutsi RPF had committed beforehand (or since), the Hutu committed a genocide. Legally, ethically, morally, and politically, the Rwandan leadership bore a preponderance of criminal culpability for that as well.

"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 05:56:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why the statistical analysis was based on the ratio of convicted per civilian casualty. That way, you can compare small wars to large wars. The question isn't who killed more. The question is whether the justice system is impartial in its treatment of the killers.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:01:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The scale and structure of the crimes could also be different.

It's a lot easier to prosecute for a Srebrenica, which was carried out by the regular army with defined lines of command, than for a family murdered in a remote farmhouse by a militia.  That's not bias, that's just the way it is.

Do you mind if I ask, Vladimir, what you hope to achieve?  Speaking as an outsider, I am glad to see people prosecuted for crimes against humanity.  

But I get the impression-and not for the first time-that you believe your allegations of bias undermine the need for the war crimes trials to take place. And that is something I utterly refute.  If it is true, as you allege, that some ethnic groups are not being pursued as vigorously as others, then that is something that needs to be addressed by more prosecutions. "Miss, he did it as well" isn't an acceptable excuse for a slap in the playground, never mind thousands of murders.

If I have misunderstood you, then I apologise, and please take this chance to set the record straight.

by Sassafras on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to prove that the Serbs are getting shafted relative to the other groups... especially the Croats and Albanians.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, Vladmir, I still don't understand.

What would not being "shafted" look like?

If it would look like (potentially) more Croats and Albanians going before the ICTY, then I might agree with you.

If it would look like fewer Serbs being called to account, then I don't.

by Sassafras on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More Croats and Albanians should go before the ICTY.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Names?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ramush Haradinaj immediately jumps to my mind as an example of non-justice.
Is anyone going to followup on this list? I can work on this, but it'll take some time.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:40:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, he went before the ICTY already.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:41:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And was scandalously acquitted. Further proof that the court is biased. Look at the staggering proportions of casualty figures in Kosovo. The guy was running a KLA unit known for its "activities" against isolated pockets of Serb villages.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 03:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you trying to prove that the indictments are biased or that the trials are biased, or both, and are you trying to argue the point statistically or by enumerating examples,or both?

I'm confused.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:34:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm arguing that the court is biased.
I'm arguing mainly from a statistical point of view. But when I'm asked to provide examples, I provide examples.
I don't see what's confusing here... and I AM working on providing a more complete list of war crimes suspects that the Serbian government has been urging the ICTY to indict. It just takes some time.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a topic for a diary, or a diary series. Don't worry about follow up. By all means speak up, and have a little faith.

"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 06:42:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://glassrbije.org/E/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6737&Itemid=26
Investigation of KLA crime against YA soldiers in 1998    
30 March 2009. 14:15

New investigative actions have been taken in the Nis District Court, to establish the facts about the crimes of KLA in the area of Kosare and "Morina" border post in 1998, when six members of the Yugoslav Army were killed, and another seven wounded. Among eight suspects there are two members of the Kosovo Protection Corps. The investigation relates to two events of September 30, 1998, that took place within one hour - first the vehicle of the Yugoslav Army ran into a mine, and the second was ambush against border troopers. War Crime Prosecution Spokesperson Bruno Vekaric has stated earlier that the Prosecution has serious evidence of terrorist attacks of KLA on the border troopers in 1998, including the video recording of the ambush, headed by Agim Ramadani's terrorists, who have fled after the crime to one of the camps in the Albanian territory.


by vladimir on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
List of terrorists and members of organized criminal organizations in Kosovo & Metohiya

   1. Hajdin Abazi
   2. Ekrem Avdija
   3. Alush Agushi
   4. Rasim Agushi
   5. Nazmi Ajeti
   6. Hisni Ahmeti
   7. Abdulah Babalija
   8. Masar Bakija
   9. Idriz Bala
  10. Afrim Basha
  11. Sokol Bashota
  12. Bajram Bega
  13. Gjemajl Bejta
  14. Avni Berisha
  15. Rustem Berisha
  16. Shefik Beqiri
  17. Lahi Ibrahimi
  18. Ram Buja
  19. Shukri Buja
  20. Jah Bushati
  21. Jusuf Velia
  22. Azem Veseli
  23. Kadri Veseli
  24. Rexhep Veseli
  25. Sali Veseli
  26. Skender Veseli
  27. Besim Vokshi
  28. Latif Gashi
  29. Fahrudin Gashi
  30. Jetulah Gecaj
  31. Sabit Gecaj
  32. Gani Geci
  33. Adem Grabovci
  34. Jahir Demaku
  35. Milazim Derguti
  36. Jetulah Dibrani
  37. Sokol Dobruna
  38. Shaban Dragaj
  39. Florim Ejupi
  40. Agim Elshani
  41. Xhabir Zharku
  42. Dritton Zhjeqi
  43. Tahir Zemaj
  44. Genc Zogaj
  45. Bislim Zyrapi
  46. Nuredin Ibishi
  47. Imri Ilazi
  48. Gani Imeri
  49. Elisah Imeri
  50. Bexhet Imishti
  51. Ahmet Isufi
  52. Lirim Jakupi
  53. Januz Januzaj
  54. Bashkim Jashari
  55. Musa Jashari
  56. Rifat Jashari
  57. Sahit Jashari
  58. Naim Kadriu
  59. Giner Kamberi
  60. Ajvaz Karpuzi
  61. Ajet Kastrati
  62. Kadri Kastrati
  63. Mensur Kasumi
  64. Naser Kelmendi
  65. Hisni Kilaj
  66. Anton Kitaj
  67. Fadhil Kodra
  68. Arif Krasniqi
  69. Gani Krasniqi
  70. Gjimshit Krasniqi
  71. Emin Krasniqi
  72. Jakup Krasniqi
  73. Skender Krasniqi
  74. Bajram Kryeziu
  75. Mazlom Kumnova
  76. Mirsad Kurteshi
  77. Agim Kuqi
  78. Ramiz Lladrovci
  79. Fatmir Limaj
  80. Ekrem Lluka
  81. Isa Latifi
  82. Muhamet Latifi
  83. Lulzim Leci
  84. Afrim Lulaj
  85. Nuredin Lushtaku
  86. Sami Lushtaku
  87. Enver Mavriqi
  88. Naim Maloku
  89. Faton Mehmetaj
  90. Nazif Mehmeti
  91. Fadil Mujota
  92. Shefqet Musliu
  93. Isak Musliu
  94. Rustem Mustafa
  95. Salih Mustafa
  96. Arif Muqoli
  97. Maliq Ndrecaj
  98. Selami Neziri
  99. Jakup Nura

  1. Enver Oruçi
  2. Gjumshit Osmani
  3. Nebih Preniqi
  4. Rahman Rama
  5. Illmi Ramusholi
  6. Elmi Reqica
  7. Ekrem Rexha
  8. Bedri Rexhaj
  9. Ismet Sadiku
  10. Ruzhdi Saramati
  11. Rexhep Selimi
  12. Sylejman Selimi
  13. Abedin Sogojeva
  14. Fatmir Sopi
  15. Azem Syla
  16. Shemsi Syla
  17. Fadil Suljevic
  18. Emrush Suma
  19. Rufki Suma
  20. Ismet Tara
  21. Gani Thaqi
  22. Hashim Thaqi
  23. Ahmet Qeriqi
  24. Ramiz Qeriqi
  25. Sami Ukshini
  26. Avni Feta
  27. Adem Hagjocaj
  28. Abit Haziraj
  29. Sadik Halitjaha
  30. Xhavit Haliti
  31. Bujar Haradinaj
  32. Daut Haradinaj
  33. Ramush Haradinaj
  34. Nait Hasani
  35. Safet Hasani
  36. Xhabit Hasani
  37. Zeqir Haxhija
  38. G¸zim Haxhimusa
  39. Hekuran Hoda
  40. Fatmir Humolli
  41. Sabajdin Cena
  42. Agim Çeku
  43. Ethem Çeku
  44. Muhamet Çerkezi
  45. Emrush Xhemajli
  46. Idriz Shabani
  47. Besnik Shala
  48. Shaban Shala
  49. Shaban Shala
  50. Naser Shatri
  51. Xhafer Shatri
  52. Mustafa Shaqiri
  53. Shaqir Shaqiri
  54. Adem Shehu
  55. Elbasan Shoshaj
  56. Bekim Shuti
  57. Met Shuti

Detailed profiles of each of these accused can be found on: http://www.serbianna.com/features/lawless/
by vladimir on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole idea of Vladimir's posts is to 'prove' that Serbia is not the aggressor country in this war. Not only facts are against his idea but also the statistics of Serbs put on trial, as it should be. He believes that Serbia is not the aggressor country but the one who unfortunately lost the war because the whole world is against them and those who put war criminals on trial  are racist.
by SteelLady on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 03:59:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not see any foundation for that in vladimirs diary.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistically there is obvious inclination towards trials for Serbs. Vladimir wants to imply that the reason for this is the unfair treatment for Serbs. The 'fact' hidden in this idea is that there is equal amount of guilt 'per capita'. Without that assumption, you do not reach the same conclusion!
by SteelLady on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:03:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if you have 2 groups on trial, from the first one, there is one murderer who killed 50 persons and in the other there are 5 who killed 2-3 each, you compare number of casualties and people on trial, what does it tell you? That the court is biased? Statistics between victim number and trials does not have any sense
by SteelLady on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the metric is a debatable point. The fact that the T-test is inapplicable to the data in question is not a debatable point. So naturally the critics would choose to argue about the use and abuse of T-tests.

But you're certainly right that the entire exercise is kind of silly, because the metrics we are measuring against are highly dubious in the first place. So even if there had been a signal, it would not have proven the case, only given cause for further investigation.

OTOH, that turns out not to matter, because even in the most generous possible interpretation of the data - according to the metric Vladimir proposed - there is no signal. Full stop. No deconstruction of metrics necessary.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But war is - unfortunately - not murder.

That starting a war is the ultimate crime was a noble sentiment during the Nuremberg trials but it seems to have been lost since. Or have anyone been indicted for that? (Bush and Blair certainly should be, but that is another story.)

Both military and civilian losses are often disproportionally on the loosing side of a war, regardless of who started it. But to count as a war crime you have to target civilians, not merely kill them while bombing for soldiers amongst them (as the ban on "Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons" only lasted five years and to my knowledge was not renewed). Or perform any other of the acts described as war crimes in the Hague and Geneva conventions.

So no, it is not necessary to assume anything about who started a war to assume that number of dead civilians are in proportion to number of war criminals. There are of course other assumptions that are necessary.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 04:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is one of a big misinformations of this last war. Bombings were not done aiming soldiers among civilians. Soldiers were separated on the front lines of the borders and while they were fighting there, towns with no military were bombed around the clock. And were not only bombed from occupied territories. There were long range cannons reaching 52 kilometers from the border of Serbia on Danube into the territory. And bombings began even when still there was no Croatian army formed. The one of the very few planned and strategic bombing was the one of Zagreb aiming the house of parliament. The bombings aimed on civilians were revenge for actions of Croatian army. Even during the action of Oluja in another part of country, Slavonia was receiving heavy bombing as their revenge
by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not believe my comment carried any specific information about bombings in any war. I just tried to convey the point that killing a lot of people does not in itself (absurdly enough) mean that there is a war crime.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If in some war there are a lot of civil victims, it means that either the army was hiding among their own civilians (what is equal war crimes for me) or that the enemy army was particularly aiming civilians that is the war crime again.

Also, there can be situations when somebody is particularly aiming on civilians and it does not result in so many casualties. Some examples of that you can see in ex Yugoslavia which built numerous atomic shelters underground (I lived in a 'town' of 20k including all the surrounding which had 11 completely equipped atomic shelters). For decades during Yugoslavia, there was an exercise practiced in spring that was called 'Nothing can surprise us'. They would turn the sirens on and people would go to the nearest shelter. The idea was to teach people during the peace where those shelters are, how they function and to practice quick evacuation.

by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:13:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I believe is that there were victims on all sides. What I also believe is that the perpetrators of war crimes came from all sides.

What you seem to believe is that Serbs were the aggressors and that the Croats, Muslims and Albanians were their victims. If what you say is true, then:
> Who is responsible for Serbian civilian casualties?
> Why did over 600 000 Serbs flee their homes to become refugees in Serbia?
> Why do Serbs represent the ethnic group that has lost by far the most personal land and property?

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:58:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In every war there are victims and war criminals on both sides. I am not saying that there are no criminals on the side other than Serbia but the fact is that Serbia was sending it soldiers to fight in Bosnia and Croatia, those were not only people there.

More, there were videos on youtube from the beginning of the war in Croatia where Serbian villans were interviewed saying that they caught arms and put trees over the roads because the stories coming from Serbian side are saying that new independent Croatia would attack them. You can't say that Serbs have ever had problems there before!

After Serbia took a big part of territories of Croatia and it stayed like that since '91. to '95, apart from local Serbs living there, there were other Serbs coming to live there because they were offered Croatian houses of those Croats that were expelled from their homes or murdered. One of many examples is a Croatian village Ceric that they renamed to Srbac. So, knowing that, Tudjman realized that if they even manage peacefully to bring back the country under their command (what was actually impossible), they will have a huge problem with Croatian refugees because it would be difficult to remove new planted Serbs from their houses. So they prepared the action 'Flash' that would be very strong and sudden, and if you follow the trial of Gotovina in detail, you will see that the voice of it (probably deliberately) came to Krajina a couple of days before it actually begun and they already prepared buses and trucks.

The point is that other nations that live in Serbia never thought of doing what some Serbs did to Croatia and Bosnia. and those SOME were commanded from Serbia. Serbia was calling them to occupy Croatian houses, giving then arms and telling them that if they do not fight they will be killed. They were even sending them buses of hookers from Belgrade to have some fun! Ones who lived there peacefully never had any problems and actually lived in shelters with us and suffered the same what we did.

And please, stop playing with speculative numbers! They say that there is some law that you can not say in Germany that there were less than 6 million of victims of holocaust. Well, they should probably change the law because they forgot to count all that Serbian victims that would elevate that number a lot! And sadly, some take that fact as an excuse to continue vendetta and kill as many as they speculate that were being killed, plus some interest.

by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 04:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that Serbia was sending it soldiers to fight in Bosnia and Croatia

Croatia was also sending it's soldiers to fight in Bosnia. Albanians were also fighting in Bosnia. Arab Mujahideens were also fighting in Bosnia and Kosovo.

You can't say that Serbs have ever had problems there before!

No kidding. Only 600 000 Serbs were murdered in Croat run death camps during WWII. With another 500 000+ sent fleeing to non HDZ territory. The same insignia used by Ustashi in WWII appeared again in the 1990's - on the Croat flag, it's police and army uniforms. That, coupled with Tudjman's anti-Serb rhetoric was clearly enough to bring back some nasty memories.

there were other Serbs coming to live there because they were offered Croatian houses

No. The documented flow of refugees was to Serbia - as of the early 1990's. Where would these new occupants have come from?

other nations that live in Serbia never thought of doing what some Serbs did to Croatia and Bosnia.

Funny you mention that, because if you take a look at the breakdown of ethic minorities in the Balkans, you'll find that the most multi-ethnic country today is... well, SERBIA.

They were even sending them buses of hookers from Belgrade to have some fun!

Busses of hookers. I see.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The documented flow of refugees was to Serbia - as of the early 1990's.
Didn't that start before there was any shooting?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It did indeed.
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why did it?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:44:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of harassment.
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Documented? In a scale to justify the size of the exodus?

The Croatian claim is that rumours coming from Serbia were the cause of the exodus. I doubt that can be documented either.

The Serbs of Croatia also took arms first, in the Log Revolution.

As a part of his plea bargain with the prosecution, Milan Babić testified against Martić during his ICTY trial, saying Martić "tricked him into agreeing to the Log Revolution". He also testified that the entire war in Croatia was "Martić's responsibility, orchestrated by Belgrade".
(Wikipedia)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:03:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that IS a negotiated plea bargain isn't it. It's a deal with the prosecutor to plead "X" in exchange for a lenient sentence.

Biljana Plavsic also plea bargained... and today she is saying that she was 'misled' by Albright, that she misrepresented the truth in the hope of avoiding sentence.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Normally one would have arranged a face-off in the courtroom between Babic and Martic. At least that's what the Spanish courts do quite often when one of the accused testifies against others.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do spanish courts have negotiated plea bargains? I had the impression that it was an anglo thing.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't. It appears face-offs are not an Anglo thing, either.

Is this going to become another Inquisitorial vs. Adversarial justice system debate? And is the ICTY run on an inquisitorial or an adversarial system?

Although international tribunals intended to try crimes against humanity, such as the Nuremberg Trials and the International Criminal Court, have generally used a version of the adversarial system, they have also incorporated some key features of the inquisitorial system, such as the use of professional judges, and in the case of the International Criminal Court, the use of a screening pre-trial chamber.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
And is the ICTY run on an inquisitorial or an adversarial system?

I checked the statute.

ICTY - TPIY :: Statute of the Tribunal

Updated Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:

September 2008 (PDF format)

It's a long pdf and my result is simply that I do not know, I think I lack the legal background to sniff out the key sentences. It would appear that the court has had some room to decide its own procedures, which might mean some mix considering the mix of judges.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's difficult if not impossible to pinpoint a single event as being the trigger for all-out war. I think it was more of a chain of events that escalated.

I personally know Serbs who were driven out of Dubrovnik in 1990. While the hysteria was being propagated by all media in the region (not only Serb) there were also numerous acts of violence perpetrated against individuals. I can't say whether the media was instigating or reacting to real events.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Because of harassment.

Which harassment? Yugoslavia separated. Croatia got its independence. And that is all that Croatia wanted. There was no reason to go against people who were living in it!!!

I remember my friend Jelena who also left. According to her family harassment consisted in saying that we are living in Croatia and not Yugoslavia. So the very name was a harassment for them.

by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your friend Jelena left because the term Croatia was a harassment. You seem to be suggesting that there were no acts of violence by croats against the Serbs as of the early 1990's. Is that right?

I also have some Serbian friends. Dusko, for instance, left Dubrovnik because his tourism and excursion shop was vandalized in 1990.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:04:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Where would these new occupants have come from?

From Serbia, those who were living in powerty in overcrowded houses with several generations under the single roof in very little space, offered houses if they move there.

by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're saying that Serbs were leaving Croatia as early as 1990 because Serb media was whipping up fear and telling them to leave (no harassment of any sort from Croatians)... and at the same time, there was a mass colonisation of Croatia by Serbs who lived in poverty?

That doesn't add up.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colonisation of ethinically cleansed territories. The two theories are not inconsistent - though they might be wrong.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though the actors must either be inconsistent or different actors - with different motives - to at the same time promote rumors designed to make the existing population flee and try to colonize. That is, when the existing population already is the desired one.

If there where rumors that made the serb population flee that is on the other hand conssitent with croatian colonising. And vice versa.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:02:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the sequence of events which I think neither vladimir nor SteelLady will dispute (broadly):
  1. 1990: some Serbs flee (mostly but not only - Dubrovnik is elsewhere - Slavonia and Krajina in) Croatia for Serbia before the war starts due to "harassment" or "rumours"
  2. 1990: some other Serbs take up arms ("Log Revolution" in Krajina) also due to "harassment" and "rumours"
  3. 1991-2: war - Republic of Serbian Krajina is established in Slavonia and Krajina and Croats in those areas flee to central Croatia.
  4. 1993-4: ceasefire
  5. 1995: Croatia retakes the Republic of Serbian Krajina and Serbs flee.

Now we go to the interpretations which can (and will) be disputed:
Though the actors must either be inconsistent or different actors - with different motives - to at the same time promote rumors designed to make the existing population flee and try to colonize. That is, when the existing population already is the desired one.
No, the existing population is very mixed. So if you're going to turn the area into a war zone you first have your people flee to the rearguard so you can take a clean shot at the others. And then you move back in. And then you're driven back out and the others move back in.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:24:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you first have your people flee to the rearguard so you can take a clean shot at the others.

That's only if you're firing with heavy weapons. While these were used (and not only by Serbs with JNA material - since, as we know, Germany in particular sold billions of $ worth of Soviet arms inherited from East Germany to Croatia just before the war started) the most common form of "ethnic cleansing" was carried out by light, mobile paramilitary units. You don't need to move your people out for the paras to do their dirty work. You just need to know who lives where.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:50:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Slavonia the balance of power in 1991-2 was that the Serb paramilitaries had the artillery units left behind by the Armija on their way out of newly independent Croatia. There was extensive shelling of the whole area. The balance of power had reversed by 1995 when Croatia had managed to build its own army, which it didn't have before.

Let's be clear about who was cleansing whom when: Serbs were driving Croats out in 1991-2 and Croats drove Serbs out in 1995. Neither of these were done by "small mobile paramilitary units" - allegedly there was heavy artillery involved in both cases.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 06:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Croatia had been armed by Germany before 1990... and continued receiving military hardware from Germany and other NATO states up till 1995.

The balance of power was finally reversed in 1995, in part thanks to US military intelligence of key communications and logistics points used by the Croatian Serbs. NATO air support was also provided during Storm.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:00:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Croatia had been armed by Germany before 1990...
After 1990, possibly, but before? Can you substantiate that?

In addition, there was a weapons embargo imposed as soon as Croatia declared independence, which required Croatia to smuggle weapons in, and froze the balance of power where the Serb paramilitaries had JNA backing and Croatia effectively had no army. It took 3 years (and a side war in Bosnia to keep the JNA busy) for the balance to be reversed.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was waiting for that question. In 1995 I remember actually seeing a copy of a contract between the Order of Malta and the "Government of Croatia" for a 20 year, $10 billion loan at - I believe it was 0% interest. At the time, it was widely believed that the loan was intended to help Croatia procure arms.

Before you asked me to substantiate, I sent a mail to the person who sent me a copy of that contract... some 13 years ago. I hope I'll get my hands on it again and if I do, I'll be more than happy to post it on ET.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 07:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And here's more from: http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/carr/carr.html

GERMANY AND CROATIA: RESURRECTION OF THE "PURE" CROATIAN NATION STATE

Reliable intelligence sources claimed in 1990, that in 1988 Mr. Tudjman paid a secret visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and met with Chancellor Kohl and other senior Government Ministers. It was said that the aim of the visit was to formulate a joint policy to break-up Yugoslavia, leading to the re-creation of a new independent State of Croatia with international borders in the form originally set up by the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, in 1941. At a secret meeting in Bonn, the German Government pledged its political, financial, and covert military support for Croatia's secession from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the intelligence source claimed such an action fitted neatly into Germany's strategic objectives in respect of the Balkans, which included bringing Roman Catholic Croatia and Slovenia within the German economic zone, gaining direct access to the Adriatic and Mediterranean, and securing a favored nation status with the oil and gas producing Arab states. The latter to be enhanced by recognizing Bosnia-Herzegovina as a predominantly Muslim nation state, an entrée to modern Europe for Islam along a traditional path from Turkey via Albania and the Serbian areas of Kosovo and the Sandzak occupied by Muslim majorities.

In the period leading up to Croatian secession there were signs that indicated the re-emergence of the historical axis previously seen in the days of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Third Reich. There is no "conspiracy theory" in this: merely the reappearance of a geopolitical pattern.

It was a $2 billion interest free loan for 10 years. Not a $10 billion loan for 20 years.

Evidence of the axis in action occurred on October 4, 1990, when, even though still a part of Yugoslavia, Croatia was covertly provided with a US$2-Billion interest free loan, repayable in full after 10 years and a day. The loan was provided by the Ordre Souverain of Militaire de Saint-Jean de Jerusalem, Chevaliers-Hospitaliers de Malte. This ancient Order of Roman Catholic Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem was based in Malta during the Christian Crusades against the Islamic forces in Jerusalem. Today, the headquarters building of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem is located at 61 Via Nizza in Rome from where these modern Catholic Knights wield the influential power of high finance. There is a known strong link between the headquarters in Rome and Germany, with reports indicating the organization is even directed by German nationals. Ostensibly the loan was to fund priority civil engineering projects with a statement of conditions that the loan should not be used to fund military projects. However, well-placed sources said the loan freed-up other finances earmarked for civil projects, thus enabling the money to be redirected to equip armaments factories and to purchase weapons. The same source said that despite the "no funding of military projects' condition, a significant percentage of the US$2-billion loan was misused on armaments. Signatories to the contract on behalf of the Croats were Vice President Dr. Mate Babic and Madamme Maksa Zeleu Mirjana, Counseler at the Ministry of Finance authorized to act on behalf of the Minister of Finance.

This US$2-Billion loan has never appeared in any Croatian Government financial statement. When Waterman Associates, on behalf of the Croatian Embassy in Washington D.C., sent out a press release in 1994 purporting to show a very low amount of foreign debt/loan, I challenged their figures, mentioning the US$2-Billion loan from the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. The embassy said they had no knowledge of the loan, so I offered to send them a complete copy of the "Object du Financement". My offer was declined as they said such a document did not exist.

It should be remembered, that this loan was made to Croatia prior to secession. At time when Croatia was still a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and obliged under the Federal Constitution to disclose any such transactions.

And German arming of Croatia began as early as 1989.

The reunification of the two Germanies and modernization of the East German armed forces, made available a substantial pool of weapons and military instructors for arming and training of a Croatian militia. During late 1989, and throughout 1990, arms flowed from Germany to Croatia to equip militia units. After HDZ party (Croatian Democratic Union) won control of Sabor in the May 30, 1990, multi-party elections, the newly elected President Tudjman formed a National Guard Corps (ZNG). In effect, the ZNG was not a "national" force in the accepted meaning of the word, rather it was the ultra-nationalist, neo-Ustashi military wing of Tudjman's HDZ political party, in the same way that the "Brownshirts" of the 1930's acted as the vanguard enforcement wing of Hitler's National Party.

It has been asked why did Yugoslav Government in Belgrade not prevent the formation of the ZNG. The answer is quite simple. At the time, all the senior positions in the federal internal security organizations, and many senior posts in the General Staff of the JNA, were held by the Croats. For instance, Croatia's first Minister of Defence, Martin Spegelj, was a senior general in the Yugoslav Armed Forces at the time of secession.

With the full support of Germany, and against the wishes of other members of the EC, the HDZ ruling party declared Croatian sovereignty in the Sabor on December 22, 1990, despite strong objections raised by the opposition parties.

Shortly after the declaration, President Tujman introduced a new Croatian constitution which defined Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people and others, pointedly relegating the Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Muslims to second class status. This was an exact repeat of what had happened in 1941 when nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia and set up Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people and others. After the HDZ dominated Government passed the new constitution, discrimination against the Serbs began immediately. Serbs lost government jobs in the civil service, police, local authorities etc...they were evicted for their homes, many lost the ownership of their own businesses, and Serb newspapers were closed down etc. A special property tax applicable only to Serbs was introduced, and Croatian militia openly looted and closed down shops selling expensive products such as jewelry. These measures clearly indicated to the Serbs living within the administrative borders of Croatia that they must leave the land where they had lived for three centuries, or face the consequences of staying.

One of the most sinister changes was that every identified Serb in Croatia was issued with a new identity card which incorporated the figure 3 as the eight figure in the identity number. The figure 3 thus became the Croatian equivalent for Serbs as nazi Germany's Star of David was for all Jews residing in countries dominated by Germany. When the time came for ethnic cleansing to start, the figure 3 would ensure no Serb would escape.

by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was living there on the military frontline. In '91 as you say yourself, Croatian army still was not formed. We lived in a little town that was connected to the Serbian village where from a distance of 500m only where shooting on us with mortars while in town there was nobody to defend it. Then, some neighbours united, took the locomotive that was close to our buildings and did some home made explosive sending the locomotive to the border between the town and Serbian village and detonating it there because there were gas installations that then provoked mass explosion that scared to death those who were there so they left running to the other end of the village and left the mortar. The whole idea of the action is to capture that mortar that they did, bringing it to town and trying to shoot from it. So then people got angry because they were hiding with it among the people and made them go outside to the fields. There they took the truck moving it along the road and shooting from it every now and then so on the other side it would appear that there are more weapons in various places. Well, if this is what I saw in late '91 with my own eyes in the region of the heaviest shooting at that time, where were those German weapons Vladimir is talking about?!
by SteelLady on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 05:44:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough, that is a possible interpretation. Tough it is geared towards large-scale violence - bombing, artillery, WMDs, starvation - where you have problem discriminating the violence.

If on the other hand the attacker has mostly infantry, local population on the attackers side is an asset as they know terrain, hide-outs etc. And in an ethnic conflict where both parties speak the same language and look the same, local knowledge is essential in determining who is in the desired cathegory and who is not. Of course, you can argue that anyone who does not to as they are told are the enemy in one way or the other.

I have not enough data to form a real opinion on the case here myself, so I'll let you argue which case this is.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 08:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tough it is geared towards large-scale violence - bombing, artillery, WMDs, starvation - where you have problem discriminating the violence.
Well, there was a large number of "internally displaced people" fleeing from Slavonia and Krajina, either from the areas forming the RSK or from the frontline areas still held by Croatia. But part of this might have been just part of the "general mobilization" in the Autumn of 1991.

Similarly, in the days preceding Operation Storm in 1995, the authorities of the RSK initiated a mandatory evacuation of the civilian population, resulting in a wave of refugees into Bosnia.

Now, in both cases a large part of the flow of refugees/internally displaced is an "evacuation towards the rearguard" rather than being driven out at gunpoint, but the distinction is not very useful. The flow of refugees is the same and the cause of the flow is the general condition of fighting.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 08:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does add up is why this piece of propaganda is essential for Croatia: because it justifies the expulsion of 300 000 people from a land... that had just been colonised by Serb invaders.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since Vladimir mentioned the loss of personal land and property by Serbian side, referring I suppose to those who fled from the territory of Krajina, I am not sure if he is aware that, this year Croatian government will buy 2144 flats for Serbs who want to return to Croatia that finishes the number of 8400 that were bought till now. The state have land registers of people who owned the houses and flats or who had 'stanarsko pravo' - the right to rent flats at very low prices so all of those who had their rights before and want to return will get their flats. Now the question is, if so many families returned, they obviously do not feel threatened. But where are those so many that are missing to complete Vladimir's statistics and are not willing to return offered new flats? (I have to say that we are in crisis and that people protest because Serbs have priority for flats because one of conditions Croatia signed to enter EU is 'peaceful reintegration'. That sometimes means that Croats who are left without their flats have to wait and also now the government will not have the money for paying salaries and pensions)
by SteelLady on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why did over 600 000 Serbs flee their homes to become refugees in Serbia?
Can you break those 600,000 down by republic of procedence and year of migration? For instance, how many arrived from Croatia in 1990/1 and in how many in 1995?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might be available in UNHCR data. I'll give it a search.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What you've done is shown that Serbs are convicted more often than you'd expect in random experiments.

No he hasn't. That's a statistical mirage, because he arbitrarily classifies 7 of the Serbian suspects as being related to Kosova (rather than, say, split them evenly among the three wars, or split them among the three wars in proportion to the number of civilian casualties, both of which would have been more appropriate).

To understand why this is misleading, consider the outcome if I placed those seven indictees in Bosnia instead of Kosova: Then the vanilla average (which remains an inappropriate measure), goes from 3 per mille to 2.4 per mille. Purely from arbitrarily designating the 7 Serbian indictees for which there is too little information in the indictments to tell which wars they were indicted over.

And then he proceeds to happily make a vanilla average out of ratios that are up to a full order of magnitude different in both numerator and denominator. You're not allowed to do that. When you divide a very small number by another very small number, you get a higher uncertainty on your ratio than when you divide a very big number by another very big number. One or two wrongfully indicted Serbs from the Croatian war - or one or two hundred civilians miscounted - would count far more towards the ratio than a similar number for Bosnia.

So the three ratios cannot be given equal weight. You avoid all these problems by using a weighted average. But of course, the "signal" goes away when you do that...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
he arbitrarily classifies 7 of the Serbian suspects as being related to Kosova
The classification needn't be arbitrary. In wikipedia's List of indictees of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia each indictee is assigned an ethnic group and an incident.

One thing that Vladimir does wrong is compare Indictees to Convictions, implying that those not convicted have been acquitted. This is not the case. The proper comparison would be the ratio of convictions to acquittals/case-dismissals as there are a number of cases which are ongoing, have been transferred to national jurisdiction, were never concluded because the indictee died, or in which the indictee is at large. Vladimir posted the full stats
here (these do not distinguish between the different wars or regions, only ethnic groups):

Stats from ICTY (none / 0) Here they are



Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 7 didn't have a classification... it would have required hours of sifting through documents to find them.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you can't ascribe them to Kosova, especially given that Kosova is the conflict with the smallest number of indictees and arbitrarily assigning 7 Serbs to it biases the data more than, say, assigning the 7 to Krajina or Republika Srpska.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another usegul comparison would be between indictees and population. Serbs were the largest ethnic group in the former Yugoslavia by a factor of nearly 2. See the table on Ethnic composition of Yugoslavia in 1981 in Wikipedia's Demographics of SFR Yugoslavia. A log-log regression of indictees vs. population might be appropriate in this case, too.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:56:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've delved into their documents. I agree, it's an unorganized mess. A horror-show for scholars.

"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 05:59:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, then that's kosher.

The vanilla averages instead of weighted averages is still nonsense, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - A Statistical Analysis of the ICTY's bias.
For 7 Serbs (like Slobodan Milosevic) and others (mostly members of the FRY government or army and navy) who were not accused of a specific war crime in Bosnia or Croatia, I associated their indictment with events in Kosovo.
Who are the 7?

Milosevic is mentioned as part of a "Joint Criminal Enterprise" with Seselj, who was indicted for events in Croatia. You can't just throw Milosevic into the Kosovo pot to inflate the ratio of Serbs to Albanians indicted for Kosovo.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dragoljub Ojdanic
Charges of war crimes, deportation and forcible transfer, murder and persecution

Nebojša Pavkovic
Charges of war crimes, deportation and forcible transfer, murder and persecution.

Nikola Šainovic
Charges of war crimes, deportation and forcible transfer, murder and persecution.

Sreten Lukic
Command authority for crimes against humanity in Kosovo

Vladimir Lazarevic
Charges of war crimes, deportation and forcible transfer, murder and persecution.

Milan Simic
No information

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Google is your friend.

BBC News | EUROPE | Profile: Dragoljub Ojdanic

During 1999, when the Yugoslav army and police committed atrocities against Kosovo Albanians, Colonel General Dragoljub Ojdanic held the position of the Yugoslav Army's chief of staff.

Nebojša Pavković - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nebojša Pavković (Serbian Cyrillic: Небојша Павковић; born in the village of Senjski Rudnik near Ćuprija on April 10, 1946) was former Chief of the General Staff of FRY. In 2009, he was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Kosovo War.

BBC News | EUROPE | Profile: Nikola Sainovic

In May 1999, the UN War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague indicted Nikola Sainovic for war crimes committed in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999.

Trial Watch : Sreten Lukic

The original indictment alleges that Sreten Lukic as well as Vladimir Lazarevic, Vlastimir Djordjevic and Nebojsa Pavkovic (see "related cases"), planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in preparing certain crimes. According to the indictment Lukic was part of a joint criminal enterprise which had the aim, in addition to other objectives, to expel a major part of the Kosovo Albanian civilians from the province in which they were living in order to maintain this province under Serb control. This joint criminal enterprise reportedly came into being, at the latest, in October 1998 and continued until 20 June 1999.

Trial Watch : Vladimir Lazarevic

The original indictment alleges that Vladimir Lazarevic as well as Vlastimir Djordjevic Nebojsa Pavkovic and Sreten Lukic (see "Related Cases"), planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in preparing certain crimes. According to the indictment Lazarevic was part of a joint criminal enterprise which had the aim, in addition to other objectives, to expel a major part of the Kosovo Albanian civilians from the province in which they were living in order to maintain this province under Serb control. This joint criminal enterprise reportedly came into being, at the latest, in October 1998 and continued until 20 June 1999.

Sentencing Judgement in the case "The Prosecutor v. Milan Simic"Accused Convicted to 5 years Imprisonment

The accused, Milan Simic, a 42 year-old Bosnian Serb, was first indicted by the Prosecutor of the Tribunal together with Blagoje Simic, Simo Zaric, Miroslav Tadic, Stevan Todorovic and Slobodan Miljkovic for crimes alleged to have occurred in the area of Bosanski Samac in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.
So I was right for 6 out of 7 of them.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:18:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you were wrong that that
it would have required hours of sifting through documents to find them


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as I read it it would have required hours of sifting through documents to find them for vladimir which he is uniqely positioned to judge.

So, one out of seven was misplaced. Does it change anything.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Changes nothing.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, for some unknown reason, Google stopped working on my machine. Each request takes 15-30 seconds to display, so I have no choice but to use Yahoo search which is not nearly as good.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:15:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try Cuil

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So Jake, the 6 of the 7 were classified correctly. It's not a mirage.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read the entire comment that you reply to. Specifically:

And then he proceeds to happily make a vanilla average out of ratios that are up to a full order of magnitude different in both numerator and denominator. You're not allowed to do that. When you divide a very small number by another very small number, you get a higher uncertainty on your ratio than when you divide a very big number by another very big number. One or two wrongfully indicted Serbs from the Croatian war - or one or two hundred civilians miscounted - would count far more towards the ratio than a similar number for Bosnia.

So the three ratios cannot be given equal weight. You avoid all these problems by using a weighted average. But of course, the "signal" goes away when you do that...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ground situation in Yugoslavia also mitigates against your argument. The Serbs weren't the victims here, they were in political control and had a commanding force on the ground. These facts alone would explain the greater number of Serbs brought to trial.

Does it produce a political dynamic which correlates to the legal process? Absolutely.

"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 06:27:12 AM EST
Of course it's biased. Look at the judges - 90% of them are from NATO countries.

Of course it's biased. Courts are ALWAYS biased to reflect political orientations. From the Inquisition to modern day Italy (where Berlusconi has completely fucked up the legal system for his personal benefit).

Of course it's biased. The ITCY will never bring to trial those who ordered and executed NATO bombings against civilian targets in Serbia - against the Geneva convention and without UN approval.

Of course it's biased. Whereas a large portion of the Serb political and military LEADERSHIP has been indicted and convicted (or died in the process of), the same treatment was NEVER applied to Croats, Albanians or Muslims.

Of course it's biased. The ratio of indicted and convicted to civilian casualties from the 4 ethnic and/or religious groups STRONGLY SUGGEST that Serbs are getting the most severe treatment...

I completed a statistical analysis to test whether the difference between the means of the Serb data set and the non Serb data set was significant. The results indicated that, indeed, the means were significantly different with a 95% confidence interval.

Jake and Migeru have criticized this that and the other assumption, indicator, test used, etc. to demonstrate that in fact... what? What is it that you want to demonstrate? That the ICTY isn't biased? Is that what you believe? If yes, can you offer evidence to back your claim?

by vladimir on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:51:13 PM EST
Of course it's biased. Look at the judges - 90% of them are from NATO countries.

OK, there's a point. It would have been better to have Russian, Chinese, African and South American judges as well.

Of course it's biased. Courts are ALWAYS biased to reflect political orientations. From the Inquisition to modern day Italy (where Berlusconi has completely fucked up the legal system for his personal benefit).

So we might as well abolish the whole silly notion of independent judicial review? Trials are always scams designed to cover the actions of repressive state intervention with a veneer of plausible deniability? Judges are universally corrupt and submissive to the whims of shadowy political masters?

Of course it's biased. The ITCY will never bring to trial those who ordered and executed NATO bombings against civilian targets in Serbia - against the Geneva convention and without UN approval.

And that is relevant to whether Serbian indictees committed war crimes in which way, again?

Of course it's biased. Whereas a large portion of the Serb political and military LEADERSHIP has been indicted and convicted (or died in the process of), the same treatment was NEVER applied to Croats, Albanians or Muslims.

[Citation Needed]

Of course it's biased. The ratio of indicted and convicted to civilian casualties from the 4 ethnic and/or religious groups STRONGLY SUGGEST that Serbs are getting the most severe treatment...

[Citation Needed]

I completed a statistical analysis to test whether the difference between the means of the Serb data set and the non Serb data set was significant. The results indicated that, indeed, the means were significantly different with a 95% confidence interval.

No, it did not. It indicated that your understanding of statistics is significantly deficient, with a 95 % confidence interval.

Jake and Migeru have criticized this that and the other assumption, indicator, test used, etc. to demonstrate that in fact... what?

That you have not made a case.

What is it that you want to demonstrate? That the ICTY isn't biased?

That there has been no good evidence on display so far on ET that would indicate that the ICTY is significantly biased.

Is that what you believe? If yes, can you offer evidence to back your claim?

You're the one making a big production about that court.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. You're concluding (wrongly) taht we should abolish the entire legal system. I never said that.

  2. Who said it's relevant to Serbian indicteed? It's relevant to the case that the ICTY is biased! Which is the subject of this diary.

  3. You need a citation to know that, for one, Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic weren't indicted?

  4. Because I should have used the Poisson distribution? Because I should have treated all conflicts in which Serbs participated as one single war (through a weighted average)? C'mon.

  5. You conveniently skirt the issue of your own beliefs. What's your position Jake? Is it biased or not?
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 02:25:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is not a convincing metric to your case; it just expounds your hunch that made you start these calculations.

If it is your aim to show bias using statistical means, I'm all ears to what you've got to say and kudos to you for posting them here. I've read both diary and discussion with interest - up to now.

However, two of ETs capable mathematicians have heavily argued against your choice of method. The right thing here would take note, make proper adjustments to your calculations to see if they can withstand the adjusted tests. Waving harder won't help your case.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm familiar with Poisson, but I'm not familiar with Bernouilli... and am therefore likely to go astray. May I suggest that Migeru and Jake (both being more competent mathematicians) do the calculations?
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is (imho) a partly interesting discussion.

The bickering is not interesting. The statistics are.

Props to vladimir for trying to show a statistical bias. Props to Jake and Migeru for critizising the flaws in the analysis.

I must admit that I did not find the statistics courses the most interesting math, maybe they would have been more itneresting if it was analysis of political functions. Anyway, is anyone going to assume a Poisson distribution and test that?

Come on, you are almost there, no need to resort to bickering when there are Poisson distributions to be had. Jake? Migeru?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:14:21 AM EST
A breath of fresh air. Thank you.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:21:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:42:44 AM EST
By the way, the Serb and Croat indictees are more than the sum of the other columns - there are 9 missing Serbs and 4 missing croats on that table.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:58:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, because for the others, there wasn't any information available to say what was going on with them. I can, of course dig further to find out exactly.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you add a column labelled "status unknown".

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can also simplify.
  • calculate the ratio of convicted (or indicted) per civilian casualties for each war / ethnic group
  • do a test to identify whether the differences between the means of these ratios is statistically significant from one group to another.
If it is, you probably have a biased court. If it's not, you probably don't have a biased court.
I used the t test because its appropriate for small data samples in a normal (Gaussian) distribution, which is an assumption that seems ok to me.
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do this. From

plot Indicted vs. Casualties on a log-log plot. Can you actually see the diference?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:24:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gotta run. Will be busy until tomorrow morning...
by vladimir on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, here's the chart.

The triangles are the cases where the Serbs are the civilians and the circles the cases where the Serbs are the indictees. The two points nearest the upper right are the war in Bosnia.

And here's the fit to all six points together (that's the null hypothesis):
Coefficients:
    (Intercept)  log(casualties)  
    -4.0792       0.7741  

Response: log(indicted)
        Df Sum Sq Mean Sq F value  Pr(>F)  
log(casualties)  1 3.3419  3.3419  13.880 0.02038 *
Residuals     4 0.9631  0.2408         
 


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So only two of the data points fall any distance away from the line, and are the data sets sufficiently large for that to mean anything significant?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The one clear outlier corresponds to Albanian indictees and Serb civilians.

With only 6 points it is really difficult to argue anything. For instance, what is the chance that all three "Serb indictee" points are above the line? 1 in 8. This is not sufficient to show bias at 90% confidence (you would need the probability to be less than 1 in 10) let alone 95% confidence (1 in 20).

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, that might be the result of a difference in data sources:
Most of the civilian casualty figures were obtained from Wikipedia - which itself uses the ICTY, the Red Cross and for the Serbian civilian casualty figures in Kosovo, an EU funded project run out of Belgrade.
From wikipedia
According to a Serbian government report, from January 1, 1998 to June 10, 1999 the KLA killed 988[5] people and kidnapped 287[5]; in the period from June 10, 1999, to November 11, 2001, when NATO had been in control in Kosovo, 847[5] people were reported to have been killed and 1,154[5] kidnapped. This comprised both civilians and security forces personnel: of those killed in the first period, 335[5] were civilians, 351 were soldiers, 230 were police and 72 were unidentified; by nationality, 87 of killed civilians were Serbs, 230 Albanians, and 18 of other nationalities.[5] The Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, an organization funded by the European Commission, have announced that it had identified 8,000 Serbians out of a total of 12,000 casualties they had identified in the Kosovo War. [53]


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:22:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
co-incedentally Looking at the Wikipedia article on the Iraq war, it is noticeable that all the War crimes examples in there are not American. So the people prosecuted for Abu-Ghraib are not in the list of indictees even though their activities should be considered so under the Geneva conventions.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because - as we went over at considerable length in the thread above - a t-test with Gaussian uncertainties requires that the uncertainties are uniform, which they manifestly are not.

If you must insist on treating these three points as independent - which I can see little justification for doing, but maybe that's just me - you do a (casualties, indictments, convictions) plot and run a linear fit against all three points in a given series at the same time. This way you get some more meaningful (implicit) assumptions about the way the uncertainties look.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sensible thing to do is a fit in a log-log plot - the "intercept" is the quantity of interest here, and the "slope" is being taken as 1 but could be fitted too.

Or, rather, three fits.

One for all six rows in Vladimir's table - that's the "null hypothesis".

One for the 3 Serb rows and the 3 non-serb rows. That's more or less equivalent to was was done in the diary.

Or you could do a test on whether the 3 Serb and 3 non-Serb points fall above or below the "null hypothesis" regression line. The trouble is, with only 6 points you probably can't say anything with 95% confidence.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 08:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAICT, that's substantially the same thing I'm doing below.

I would be opposed to fitting the slope as well as the intercept in your model, because we already only have three points for every fit parameter - and you fit a number of parameters comparable to your number of data points at the peril of talking nonsense...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:05:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what happens when you set the slope to 1 and only fit the intercept:

This actually makes it look worse for Vladimir's hypothesis.
The fit is this:

Coefficients:
(Intercept)  
     -6.095  

Response: log(indicted) - log(casualties)
	  Df  Sum Sq Mean Sq F value Pr(>F)
Residuals  5 1.24772 0.24954  


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
I used the t test because its appropriate for small data samples in a normal (Gaussian) distribution, which is an assumption that seems ok to me.
It is not ok because a ratio is generally not distributed as a Gaussian.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What you are doing above is taking three linear fits of data sets with one data point each, and averaging their slope. If you plot that operation, it looks something like the graph on the left:

When you actually plot it like this, it's pretty obvious that this isn't a sound way to analyse data. If anybody is confused about why such a plot is nonsense, I'll be happy to make an instalment of How To Lie With Numbers about fitting to something that isn't your entire data set. But for the moment, I'll assume that the graph speaks for itself.

The way you fit three independent points properly is all together. Then it looks like the graph on the right. And the slope you get from this fit might actually say something meaningful about the data.

If you do this for Serbian indictees and non-Serbian indictees, you get slopes of 0.0019 indictees/civilian and 0.0019 indictees/civilian, respectively. Uncertainties are impossible to determine, as long as we don't have even the vaguest guesstimate for the uncertainty of the underlying data.

Now, instead of fitting to a linear function, you can also fit to a linear function with offset. This may or may not be meaningful, however: On the one hand, there might be a systematic positive offset - if, say, it takes a certain minimum number of people to plan and carry out war crimes. On the other hand, one might argue that if there is no war, then there are no war criminals (by definition), which would be an argument for forcing the fits through the origin.

(As an aside, fitting techniques exist that incorporate both of these considerations, but they are a lot more work than is justified given the crudity of the data.)

Here's what I get from my fits:

Assuming proportionality (i.e. f(x) = a*x):

Serbian indictees: 0.0019 indictees/civilian
Non-Serbian indictees: 0.0019 indictees/civilian

Serbian convicts: 0.00093 convicts/civilian
Non-Serbian convicts: 0.0009 convicts/civilian

The fits where I permit an offset actually gives slopes that would naïvely indicate a bias in favour of Serbian suspects (0.0017 vs. 0.0021 and 0.00085 vs. 0.0012, for indictments and convicts, resp.). But I don't think they should be given much weight because a) we don't have any good model for what an offset might mean vis-a-vis bias, b) the relative uncertainties on the points in the lower left corner of the plot are almost certainly greater than on the upper right corner (and the lower-left points play a great part in determining the offset) and c) the number of fitted parameters is already perilously close to the total number of data points.

[All fits carried out in GNUPLOT]

- Jake

Addendum: I actually have graphs for all the fits mentioned in this comment, and if anybody is interested, I'll be happy to post them. But for reasons of space, I decided to post just the two most illustrative examples.

Addendum 2: There is a certain sense of irony to the fact that after we have jumped through all these hoops to accommodate an assumption that I found specious from the outset (namely that these three wars constitute independent data points), we can note that doing so gives a result that is even less favourable to the hypothesis advanced in this diary than the result of simply aggregating the Serb and non-Serb data into two ratios, like I did in the very first comment I made...

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:02:52 AM EST
...the differences in the ICTY's treatment of the 4 religious & ethnic groups aren't statistically significant.

Thank you Jake and Migeru for your valuable contributions.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:25:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A pleasure.

Now that this is cleared up, it's certainly true that the entire Hague circus looks like a kangaroo kourt. Some of these people have been locked up pending judgement longer than most of the victims at Gitmo!

Precisely why the Hague tribunal is such a travesty of justice is another story. I have various uninformed ideas, none of them very nice, but they don't involve persecuting Serbia (at least not to any greater extent than they involve persecuting Croatia and Bosnia).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have various uninformed ideas

...you might want to share those with us?

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a normal criminal proceeding, what happens is that the investigators gather evidence, and when they think they have enough evidence to convict, they present it to the prosecution, who then decide whether they need more evidence or they think they can secure conviction. If the prosecution thinks that they can secure conviction, they indict the suspect(s), and proceed to trial.

What appears to have happened here is that the process has been reversed: Indictments were issued based on more or less well-founded suspicions, in the hope that enough evidence could be found before the trial.

This is where the tea-leaf reading begins.

There could be several reasons, but my guess - and a guess is all it can be - is that there was enormous political pressure to come up with a list of suspects. NATO burned a lot of powder over Yugoslavia during the '90s, and that powder has to be justified - otherwise NATO would look pretty damn stupid. So it must have been awfully tempting to try to come up with a list of people that were very probably guilty, even if there wasn't actually enough evidence against most of them. After all, if things followed the usual pattern for political criminals, it would take several years from indictment to apprehension, during which evidence could be compiled.

But when you still haven't actually got enough evidence to convict the moment you go to trial, you end up looking stupid: You can't admit that the story above is what happened, because that would be an admission that you had chased people across an entire subcontinent on suspicions that weren't legally valid. But you can't move ahead with the trials either, because then the people whom you think very probably are guilty would be cleanly acquitted for lack of evidence. So you keep them locked up in a Gitmo-like legal limbo for years, while you trawl the Balkans for more evidence.

If this tea-leaf reading is correct, proper investigations and criminal proceedings would have meant a longer time lag between the commission of the crimes and the indictment of suspects. It would also have meant shorter trials and fewer people held in legal limbo for years without a ruling, one way or the other. And maybe even a shorter list of indictees in the final evaluation, because some would be dropped off the list of suspects when the investigators gave up searching for more evidence.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
There could be several reasons, but my guess - and a guess is all it can be - is that there was enormous political pressure to come up with a list of suspects.
On the other hand, the US went into Iraq with a list of high-level members of the Iraqi Government that they wanted arrested, also likely before being able to gather evidence.

So, it is possible that this is standard operating procedure.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:27:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So with a similar war criminal to civilian casualty ratio in Iraq, from the early bombing phase, before there was an insurgency, what number of war criminals would we expect? just out of interest.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I performed two fits: the first
Coefficients:     (Intercept)  log(casualties)       -4.0792       0.7741   Response: log(indicted)
(which I prefer) gives you roughly

(indicted)^4 ~ (casualties)^3 / (9 million)

The other

Coefficients: (Intercept) -6.095
Had a slope of 1 "by fiat", so you get

(indicted) ~ (casualties) / 400

Taking the number of casualties to be 1 million you get

180 indictees by the first model

2500 indictees by the second model.

I'd go for the first model.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but the whole sordid Iraq story is not usually trumpeted as an example of Western(TM) moral high ground - on the subject of rule of law or otherwise...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:16:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also... may I sin just a bit and use your comments to re prop my original claim?

NATO's war was against Serbia - not the others. So the pressure is there to specifically find Serbian 'criminals'.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:53:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"NATO's war" is just the endgame - the Kosovo war, and it happened in 1999.

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It was originally proposed by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and established by Resolution 827 of the United Nations Security Council, which was passed on May 25, 1993.
Timeline of the Yugoslav wars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

March 1993

Fighting begins between Bosniaks and Croats.

July 1993

Owen-Stoltenberg peace plan offered. Refused by Izetbegovic in August.
Kosovo and a punitive operation on Serbia proper wasn't even on the horizon when this happened.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
So the pressure is there to specifically find Serbian 'criminals'.
But there is no evidence of bias, is there?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's be more precise. There is no statistically significant difference between the two data sets analysed even though the individual data points would suggest that... ;)
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:04:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, not all children can be above average.

There is a case to be made that the most extreme outliers by one measure are the ones for the Kosovo war, in the direction you imply. Still, I don't think the difference is statistically signnificant. And the figure of 8,000 Serb civilians happens to be the largest estimate you could possibly find, and it is taken from a different source to the others. Wikipedia lists 5,000 as the estimate of the total number of Albanian casualties including KLA combatants.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used 3 400 civilians... which implies 1 600 KLA to get to the 5 000 cited in Wikipedia. So its coherent. The total estimated dead in Kosovo is around 12 000 - which would imply 7 000 dead Serbs. So again, the numbers I used seem coherent.

It also looks as if the Croats are getting off the hook for their "activities" in Croatia.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 10:20:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
It also looks as if the Croats are getting off the hook for their "activities" in Croatia.
Oh, really?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:13:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The total estimated dead in Kosovo is around 12 000
That is the "largest estimate you could find" that I was referring to. For instance, the Wikipedia article on theKosovo War has the following summary in their infobox:
KLA: 5,000+ killed [3]
NATO: 2 non-combat deaths[4]
1200 killed [5][6]
Around 100 Albanian civilians killed by NATO forces [7]
NATO bombings: Human Rights Watch was only able to verify 500 civilian deaths throughout Yugoslavia, [8][9] with other sources stating from 1,200 to 5,700 [8]
If you added the estimate of 8,000 to the number of Serb civilian casualties you'd get "Human Rights Watch was only able to verify 500 civilian deaths throughout Yugoslavia,  with other sources stating from 1,200 to 5,700 or even 8,000". If you replace 8,000 with 5,700 the data point doesn't look like an obvious outlier any more. Like I waid above not all children can be above average or some data point has to have the largest deviation.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 11:42:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If my memory serves me well Madame Secretary Albright, the NYT and the BBC were screaming back in 1999 that there were 500 000 missing... down to a Human Rights Watch estimate of 500. At last we've found something of statistical significance!
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the same Albright sho said 500,000 Iraqi deaths through sanctions was "a price we are willing to pay" to topple Saddam.

Look, the fact that there are no NATO people on trial for war crimes is neither here nor there regarding the bias of the ICTY regarding the different Yugoslav ethnic groups.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any figure that would suggest that the croats are an outlier in the graph and so have been particularly let off /badly treated, so how do you come to that conclusion?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I use the base ratios of indicted and convicted per enemy civilian casualties... because the objective of the statistical analysis completed by Migeru and Jake was to search for a correlation - of which, I agree, there was none. But there was none partly because they had insufficient data points to play with.
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:12:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The convicted : civs ratio is evident.
The indicted : civs ratio is not conclusive.
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As has been explained to you already, you cannot use the number convicted:indicted (roughly equivalent to convicted:casualties since indicted:casualties is not significantly biased) as long as there are cases outstanding. You need to use convicted:(acquitted+dismissed).

You're grasping at straws - no amount of evidence will convince you that the court is not biased against Serbs.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:29:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the correct graph.

by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a two-way contingency table and, again, comparing rowwise ratios is not the proper way to do things. In addition, you need to aggregate rows or columns as appropriate if you have expected numbers below 5 in order to have some hope of statistical significance. So, for instance, for the Bosnia Muslim, Albanian, Macedonian and Croatia Croat rows, having less than 10 indictees each, you're not going to be able to prove much, statistically. This is not unlike when I said
With only 6 points it is really difficult to argue anything. For instance, what is the chance that all three "Serb indictee" points are above the line? 1 in 8. This is not sufficient to show bias at 90% confidence (you would need the probability to be less than 1 in 10) let alone 95% confidence (1 in 20).
So maybe you can show (given the large numbers) that the Bosnia Serbs are being shafted, but we're throwing out the 4:0 conviction to acquittal rate of Bosnia Muslims.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is an utterly bizzare argument, lacking any semblence of logic. You yourself admit that the figures do not show any bias along a lines that you have suggested.

If there was a consistent bias against the Serbs to the extent that you claim, then I would argue that it should be visible even at low levels, with few data points to play with.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 01:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The smaller the number of data points, the more pronounced the difference between them must be in order for it to be statistically significant.
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But why particularly should the Croat points show up as worse than any others, for them to have "got off the hook"?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the ratio of Croat convicted to Serb civilian casualties in Croatia DOES show up as being particularly lenient to Croats - the ratio is 0 to some 2 300 dead. Then, of course, we can argue whether this is the right metric or not... but on this metric, the Croats seem to have "gotten off the hook".
by vladimir on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:11:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially beware of highlighting - I'm sure highlighting single data points has legitimate uses, but off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single one. A very good indication that Someone Is Up To No Good.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 04:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK Jake, I get your point.... BUT if your data set is too small to work on statistical significance testing... and if you're not allowed to highlight single data points (if you don't want to be accused of being up to no good) then what can you do with small sets figures?
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you go get a bigger data set with a better resolution.

If that's not possible, you sit down and cry.

And when you're done crying, you stop trying to prove abuses that are impossible to prove, and concentrate on the abuses that are possible to prove - such as the excessive durations of the trials (for all the accused).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 04:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or the lack of indictments against NATO officials.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 04:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
BUT if your data set is too small to work on statistical significance testing... and if you're not allowed to highlight single data points (if you don't want to be accused of being up to no good) then what can you do with small sets figures?
Then you don't use statistical arguments.

Just a simple question. How many coin tosses do you need to reject the hypothesis that a coin is unbiased with 99% confidence? 95%? 90%? And if your coin is used fewer times than that and then is lost, how are you going to use statistics to argue it was biased?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 04:48:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ideal result should be heads 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time.

99% confidence means you are accepting a 1% error on the ideal.

95% means that you are accepting a 5% error on the ideal.

It would be hard to get within 1% or 5% of the ideal with very few tosses. If you do a few tosses you may actually conclude that the coin is biased even if it's not. I suspect that within 10 or 20 tosses you should seriously approach your ideal 50-50.

by vladimir on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 07:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The right answer is that with 3 coin tosses, even if all 3 are Heads, the chance of that happening is 12.5% so you cannot reject the hypothesis that the coin is fair at 90% confidence.

With 4 coin tosses, HHHH has a probability of 6.25% which allows you to reject at 90% but not 95%.

With 5 coin tosses, HHHHH has a probability of 3.125% which allows you to reject at 95% but not at 99%.

The point is that, with less than 4 coin tosses you cannot show bias, no matter what. Sometimes you simply don't have enough data to argue statistically.

And statistics can only suggest where to look for actual evidence, it can't prove (or disprove) bias all by itself.

For instance, the contingency table analysis I did yesterday suggests looking for actual (not statistical) evidence of bias in the duration or the trials, not in the result. JakeS posted a theory that indictments were issued in the hopes of gathering sufficient evidence by the time the cases came to trial, which in some cases hasn't happened, resulting in prolongued imprisonments without trial rather than dismissals for lack of evidence. But a theory consistent with statistical suggestions is not evidence.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 07:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
The ideal result should be heads 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time.
You urgently need to go read the first chapter of Feller's An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications which covers coin-tossing.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 07:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's only been about 20 years since my last statistics course.
by vladimir on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 08:06:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the ratio of Croat convicted to Serb civilian casualties in Croatia DOES show up as being particularly lenient to Croats - the ratio is 0 to some 2 300 dead.
There you go again. There are 0 convicted, 1 acquitted and 5 ongoing cases. These figures are evidence of nothing.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 05:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not my hypothesis, and I haven't seen any good evidence to that end.

I frankly don't think that NATO cared all that much about which ethnic group the suspects came from (with Kosovo Albanians as a possible exception, but that's much later in the chronology) - as long as they got a few high-profile ones (Milosevic, Tudjman, Karadic and the rest of the names that were "seen on TV"). Because my point is fundamentally about domestic policy within NATO countries, not about foreign policy. And all these Balkan names sound the same to English speakers anyway, so nobody cares which ones are indicted.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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
All good points.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To put the issue of conviction rates to rest, consider the following table
	    Total Serb Croat Bosniac Albanian Unknown Macedonian
Indicted      157  101	  32	   9	    9	    4	       2
Convicted      69   48	  13	   4	    3	    0	       1
Dismissed      18   11	   2	   0	    1	    4	       0
Ongoing        16    9	   6	   1	    0	    0	       0
Acquitted      14    2	   4	   3	    4	    0	       1
Died	       14   12	   1	   1	    0	    0	       0
Unknown        13    9	   4	   0	    0	    0	       0
Transferred    11    8	   2	   0	    1	    0	       0
At Large	2    2	   0	   0	    0	    0	       0
under the hypothesis that the court is not biased, this is the expected distribution (obtained by taking the "total" column and the "indicted" row and multiplying them)
	    Total   Serb  Croat Bosniac Albanian Unknown Macedonian
Indicted      157 101.00 32.000   9.000    9.000   4.000     2.0000
Convicted      69  44.40 14.100   3.960    3.960   1.760     0.8790
Dismissed      18  11.60  3.670   1.030    1.030   0.459     0.2290
Ongoing        16  10.30  3.260   0.917    0.917   0.408     0.2040
Acquitted      14   9.01  2.850   0.803    0.803   0.357     0.1780
Died	       14   9.01  2.850   0.803    0.803   0.357     0.1780
Unknown        13   8.36  2.650   0.745    0.745   0.331     0.1660
Transferred    11   7.08  2.240   0.631    0.631   0.280     0.1400
At Large	2   1.29  0.408   0.115    0.115   0.051     0.0255
At this point one would have to aggregate some of the rows and columns on order to ensure that the "expected" number in each cell is at least about 5. But we won't do this yet. First, for each cell in the table (except for the "Total" column and the "indicted" row) we compute (observer - expected)^2/(expected) as a measure of the deviation from the null hypothesis. We get
	    Total Serb Croat Bosniac Albanian Unknown Macedonian
Total	     73.4  7.5	 5.9	 8.6	 15.8	 30.9	     4.7
Convicted     2.4  0.3	 0.1	 0.0	  0.2	  1.8	     0.0
Dismissed    29.4  0.0	 0.8	 1.0	  0.0	 27.3	     0.2
Ongoing       4.0  0.2	 2.3	 0.0	  0.9	  0.4	     0.2
Acquitted    28.8  5.5	 0.5	 6.0	 12.7	  0.4	     3.8
Died	      3.6  1.0	 1.2	 0.0	  0.8	  0.4	     0.2
Unknown       2.7  0.0	 0.7	 0.7	  0.7	  0.3	     0.2
Transferred   1.4  0.1	 0.0	 0.6	  0.2	  0.3	     0.1
At Large      1.1  0.4	 0.4	 0.1	  0.1	  0.1	     0.0
Where we have added the numbers by row and by column into the "Total" row and column. The total deviation is 73.4 which should be compared with a chi-square variable with 47 degress of freedom (for 6 ethinicities x 8 trial status - 1). The p-value is 0.00819 so appears to be a significant deviation. The trouble is that the single largest deviation comes from the 4 "dismissed" cases of "unknown" ethnicity, and also from the fact that there are a lot of cells with expected numbers of observations below 1 which makes the approximation (observed - expected)^2/expected a very bad approximation to the true likelihood function, which is what we're estimating here.

So, what we need to do is to aggregate the "unknown" (I choose to do this with the smallest category, "Macedonian" into "other") and also the "al large" - which I will aggregate with the "Ongoing".

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:46:40 PM EST
It should be clear from the preceding discussion that there are still too many zeros and the table needs to be further aggregated. We can do the following aggregation
Dismissed + Acquitted -> Acquitted
Ongoing + Died + Unknown + Transferred + At Large -> Unknown
Bosniac + Albanian + Unknown + Macedonian -> Other
	  Total Serb Croat Other
Indicted    157  101	32    24
Convicted    69   48	13     8
Acquitted    32   13	 6    13
Unknown      56   40	13     3
Now, under the null hypothesis of that ethnicity and trial status are independent, the expected number of observations is
	  Total  Serb Croat Other
Indicted    157 101.0 32.00 24.00
Convicted    69  44.4 14.10 10.50
Acquitted    32  20.6  6.52  4.89
Unknown      56  36.0 11.40  8.56
The observed deviations are
	       Serb	 Croat	    Other
Convicted 0.2938299 0.08045151	0.6154036
Acquitted 2.7954551 0.04182424 13.4398968
Unknown   0.4384904 0.22037435	3.6118488
add up to 21.5 for 4 degrees of freedom (3-1)x(3-1). So this is clearly significant, with a p-value of 0.025%. The largest deviation is in the acquittal of the "Other". This might be because more "Other" were indicted than should have been, or because more have been acquitted than should have been, and that cannot be answered from the data.

(by the way, the number of degrees of freedom in the previous comment was 35 = (8-1)x(6-1), not 47)

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, if my reading is correct:
> others are getting acquitted at significant rates
> Croats are getting off the hook at significant rates
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:10:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(My emphasis)
So, if my reading is correct:
> others are getting acquitted at significant rates
> Croats are getting off the hook at significant rates
No. The expected number of acquittals under the null hypothesis (which is that trial status is independent of ethnicity) is
	  Total  Serb Croat Other
Acquitted    32  20.6  6.52  4.89
The observed number of acquittals is
	  Total Serb Croat Other
Acquitted    32   13	 6    13
The normalised size of the deviations is
	       Serb	 Croat	    Other
Acquitted 2.7954551 0.04182424 13.4398968
The significant difference is between the acquittal rates of Serb indictees (low) and "Other" indictees (high). Croats are being indicted at the average rate for the whole court.

Now, it does not follow that Serbs are being convicted at a higher rate, though one should check. The expected number of convictions under independence is

	  Total  Serb Croat Other
Convicted    69  44.4 14.10 10.50
And the observed number is
	  Total Serb Croat Other
Convicted    69   48	13     8
which (although it has a 7% higher Serb conviction rate than expected) is not significantly different from the expectation for any group (basically, 7% deviations are to be expected in a random experiment)
	       Serb	 Croat	    Other
Convicted 0.2938299 0.08045151	0.6154036
So, the "missing" acquitted Serbs are maybe (but only partly) in "excess convictions" with the rest in the "unknown" category (which includes ongoing/transferred cases, dead suspects, "at large" suspects and "unknown"). If you go back to the top-level post you will find that the largest deviation among these categories is the "Dead", of which 9 would be expected and 12 are observed.

So, another difference is that more "Serb" (and Croatian) cases are dragging out than those of the "Other" ethnic group. The expected number of "unknown" cases is

	  Total  Serb Croat Other
Unknown      56  36.0 11.40  8.56
and the observed number is
	  Total Serb Croat Other
Unknown      56   40	13     3
with normalised deviations of
The observed deviations are
	       Serb	 Croat	    Other
Unknown   0.4384904 0.22037435	3.6118488
In fact, given the deviation, the only "effect" is a speedier case resolution for the "Other" ethinic group.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Croats are being indictedacquitted at the average rate for the whole court.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:57:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ok. That's clear now.
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 04:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And thanks for the number crunching effort! Hip Hip Hip...
by vladimir on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:16:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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