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NCJ Number: 222164 Find in a Library
Title: Variables Influencing Victim Selection in Genocide
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:172-177
Author(s): Debra A. Komar Ph.D.
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on information about victim-assailant interactions in court documents from the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, this study examined how perpetrators of genocide recognize their victims.
Abstract: Statistically significant differences were found in the frequencies of all victim-selection variables between the two countries, with the exceptions of victim behavior and biological features. The most frequently reported variables in Rwanda were victim location, segregation, incitement, and prior relationship. In the former Yugoslavia, segregation, location, age/gender, incitement/orders, and social data were most prevalent. These findings indicate that neither the "neighborhood genocide" model nor the four-stage theory effectively explains these contemporaneous yet geographically diverse genocide acts. The "neighborhood genocide" theory purported to describe the mechanism of victim selection in Rwanda is also not supported by the findings of this study. The "neighborhood genocide" theory hypothesizes that prior relationship and social data should be the most significant variables, rather than the overwhelming influence of location, segregation, and incitement found in the variables of this study. The high frequency of segregation in concentration camps reported in the former Yugoslavia is consistent with stage III of the four-stage model proposed by Hilberg, but the lower incidence of social data and the absence of express victim-marking (stage II) suggest the model is not a perfect fit. The findings of this study suggest that perpetrators rely on a variety of indicators when identifying potential victims, including variables such as clothing, age/gender, and linguistic evidence not previously described. Understanding how the assailants recognize their victims is the first step in identifying the class characteristics that can be used to make accurate assignment of victims to their appropriate social groups. 3 tables and 64 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Africa; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Genocide; Homicide victims; Victim profiles; Victims of violent crime; War crimes
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