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Counting Civilian CasualtiesAn Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict$
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Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977307.001.0001

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Significant Numbers

Significant Numbers

Civilian Casualties and Strategic Peacebuilding

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 Significant Numbers
Source:
Counting Civilian Casualties
Author(s):

Taylor B. Seybolt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977307.003.0002

This chapter has two purposes. First, it traces the historical development of norms and rules of war as they relate to civilians, beginning with states’ original interest in helping combatants and ending with the current idea that the protection of civilians from violence is a universal responsibility. This normative shift has had the effect of increasing the influence of civilian casualty numbers on policy choices, making it all the more important to get the numbers right. Second, the chapter identifies strategic peacebuilding as an ambitious attempt to establish both lasting peace and a degree of justice, in part by placing civilian casualties at the center of retributive justice proceedings, such as criminal tribunals, and restorative justice processes, such as truth and reconciliation commissions. In these highly politicized environments, the process of revealing information about civilian losses can be as important as its outcome.

Keywords:   civilian casualties, justice, normative shift, peacebuilding, protection, responsibility, war

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