Talk:Ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian War/GA1

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GA ReviewEdit

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Reviewer: Jon698 (talk · contribs) 23:33, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, spelling, and grammar):   b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):  
    After reading over the page for forty minutes I haven't found any major grammatical, spelling, or MOS mistakes. The proper date formats are used.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section):   b (citations to reliable sources):   c (OR):   d (copyvio and plagiarism):  
    The citations in this article contain the information found in this article and I see no major uncited claims in this article.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects):   b (focused):  
    The article covers ethnic cleansing campaigns waged during the three year long Bosnian War. The campaigns done by the Serbians, Croatians, and Bosnians are covered. The effects of the ethnic cleansing and the legal aftermath are included.
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:  
    I do not see any nationalist bashing of one group or praise of one group in this article.
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:  
    The last edit adding over 1,000 bytes to the page was April 20 and before that it was April 12.
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales):   b (appropriate use with suitable captions):  
    Images are properly used to show people who were displaced or involved, places destroyed, and effects of the ethnic cleansing.
  7. Overall:
    I am using other GA ethnic cleansing campaigns such as the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars, Deportation of the Kalmyks, and Deportation of the Karachays for comparison for this article review since I am new to this specific field although I have reviewed other historical articles. From my overview of the article I have found nothing preventing this article from being given GA status, but I will wait for another user's second opinion before ending this review. After getting another opinion on this article it can be upgraded to GA.
Thank you for reviewing this. If you have any questions or need certain clarifications, I will try to respond as soon as possible.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 16:29, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
ICTY judgements, and perhaps those UN reports, are WP:PRIMARY sources, so that might be a problem since there are many of them in the article. Tezwoo (talk) 15:55, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
I would argue that ICTY judgements and UN reports are secondary sources. A secondary source provides an author's own thinking based on primary sources, generally at least one step removed from an event. It contains an author's analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis of the facts, evidence, concepts, and ideas taken from primary sources. Secondary sources are not necessarily independent sources. They rely on primary sources for their material, making analytic or evaluative claims about them. Primary sources, in this case, would be witness accounts from Bosnia in the 90s, while the ICTY judgements were delivered mostly after a ten year time span and are thus removed from the events.
Primary sources are original materials that are close to an event, and are often accounts written by people who are directly involved. Neither ICTY judges nor the UN experts were directly involved in Bosnia in the 90s.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 16:49, 5 May 2020 (UTC)
I used the ICTY or local court judgements too when adding content, up until very recently, when I read this (on WP:PRIMARY, under cite note C): "Further examples of primary sources include archeological artifacts, census results, video or transcripts of surveillance, public hearings, investigative reports, trial/litigation in any country (including material – which relates to either the trial or to any of the parties involved in the trial – published/authored by any involved party, before, during or after the trial)., editorials, columns, blogs, opinion pieces" Tezwoo (talk) 17:53, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

Still rather vague. It says trial in any country, presumably a local trial, but does not say anything about international trials. Battle of Vukovar is a FA, and Škabrnja massacre and Lovas killings are GA, yet they also use ICTY verdicts as sources. However, I see your point, so I will try to reduce ICTY verdicts in the sources.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 13:53, 6 May 2020 (UTC)

I have replaced a good deal of ICTY verdicts with other sources.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 18:41, 6 May 2020 (UTC)
It's not my intention to distract any of the involved in this discussion or derail review, but I read all of it on two separate occasions - first time few weeks ago - I have few concerns about this nomination, and I intend to return to other points later after addressing one, particularly glaring deficiency, which is at its most notable under sub-section "Bosniak forces". There entire sub-section's narrative is refed with two BalkanInsight articles about ongoing trial on crimes in Konjic, and one research paper from Erik Melander, whose paper consist 76 pages of text, bibliography with modest list of 26 titles, and whole 6 footnotes (we call those "references" in our project). This paper is thus extremely weak, I would go as far to say, polemical account, and we can't validate anything said in article solely with two reports about ongoing trials.
So, let's see how is possible to get past such significant omissions - unless we can allow to have sub that tacitly suggest that 6000+ Serbs of Konjic has been ethnically cleansed from town and surrounding villages by Bosniak forces, without any of sources actually confirms such suggestion at this point.--౪ Santa ౪99° 14:42, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Feel free to engage in the review, since we haven't heard from @Jon698: for quite some time. You are right, Melander is a questionable source: he has a bibliography section at the end of the text, but gives no specific references for them. I will remove him from the source. You do not find Bosnian indictments relevant for the case? Is it because there are no verdicts on this issue yet?--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 17:54, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

I might, but let's give Jon698 a little more time to come back. It's not unusual to put a review on "Hold", so we can do that for the time being. The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its War Crimes Chamber are no less credible and its proceedings, indictments and verdicts are no less legitimate than the ICTY or the ICJ, but this particular case is ongoing and we cannot verify the claims solely on the basis of the indictment, not to mention that we have no insight into these indictments, nor information on its exact content, just two very brief media reports - what the prosecution is actually trying to prove exactly, what are the exact allegations, and so on, we have no idea. I find your latest changes commendable, really, but that was just one line, and this article still requires significant refinement, starting with the claims from the mentioned trial, and the same line you just removed from "Bosnian forces" sub is still included into article's lede, and right there it contradict the following sentence. Let's see if Jon returns, and meanwhile we can discuss few things, but without timetable pressure. I appreciate the swift response, though. Cheers.--౪ Santa ౪99° 22:12, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
No valid reason was given for the removal of Melander as a source. Seems like a case of I don't like it. For one it is a scholarly source. Regarding the passage where he talks about Bosniak ethnic cleansing, it is corroborated by other sources. In Konjic "armed forces made up of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats attacked and seized control of certain villages.. which were populated in the majority by Bosnian Serbs. The attackers expelled the Serb residents by force from their houses and held them in detention centres."1 The Serb villages were burned, the population expelled, some killed, others held in camps. This was covered in the Čelebići camp trial. The BI articles are talking about these events, it's just new individuals who are on trial. Pre-war Serb pop. was 15%, post-war 2% from the ICTY.2 I'm not sure what is controversial or unverifiable here. Gorazde mentioned here.3 Burg & Shoup also mention the Serb pop. exodus of Zenica like Melander.4 They also mention the ethnic cleansing of Serbs and Croats on other references found on the article page but they are not considered "polemic" analyses. Is Melander breaking some sort of taboo by including a (comparatively small) section on Bosniak ethnic cleansing against Serbs and Croats? No one is suggesting Bosniak forces engaged in widespread or systematic ethnic cleansing on par with Serb or even Croat forces but to exclude a source in this manner is to indirectly suggest that Bosniak forces did not engage in any sort of ethnic cleansing, which is just absurd. The ICTY and UN aren't the be-all and end-all --Griboski (talk) 23:14, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
Nowhere in the first two links is "ethnic cleansing" of Serb population mentioned, and since phenomenon has it's legal definition, we can't claim that these crimes constitutes "ethnic cleansing" because that would mean we are engaging in OR. Melander's paper doesn't have footnotes, and since we have no judgements speaking of or confirming "ethnic cleansing" on the part of Bosnian govt forces, we can only take his claims as polemical - this also applies to any other papers, books, etc. As an aside, I am not that acquainted with Melander's research, so until I make some of my own on his legitimacy, I can't say anything else or form more well grounded opinion.--౪ Santa ౪99° 00:58, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
And what does the forceful expulsion of an ethnic group from a territory constitute, if not ethnic cleansing? If we are only going to rely on ICTY verdicts as verification for the ethnic cleansing of Serbs or Croats by Bosniak forces then there won't be any because the ICTY has not issued such indictments or proclamations. Aside from the Konjic case, there are others such as this one which specifically mentions "a joint criminal enterprise aimed at removing the Serb population". Point being, there are things covered in other sources and if it wasn't covered by the ICTY or widely written about in publications, it doesn't mean that it didn't happen. Melander is a Professor and Researcher at Uppsala University, a world-renown research institution. His profile shows that he has been heavily cited.1 Original research would be if we synthesized a bunch of sources to reach an unsupported conclusion, not citing a scholar who says that in this area or territory ethnic cleansing occurred. I think that we can at least attribute certain views to him, if unsupported by other scholars or verdicts. --Griboski (talk) 03:09, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Griboski, to be fair you made a recent edit to the article stating “ No evidence Croats were imprisoned at Celebici. There was a ICTY trial on it.” despite their being a book sourced stating there were Croats imprisoned there. By your logic could the ICTY have failed to determine that? Could it be that other RS could verify what IcTY did not? For the record I agree with you that Melander should not be removed. OyMosby (talk) 04:42, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
I see your point but I haven't seen any other source state that Croats were held there in 1993. It wholly contradicts the established fact that camp was closed in December 1992. Other sources back up the claims about the cleansing of Serbs in Konjic and at least loosely in other parts mentioned by Melander. My point is if we are going to rely solely on the ICTY and other courts to explicitly declare crimes as ethnic cleansing (while dismissing secondary RS) in order to justify a "Bosniak forces" sub-section, then that's an unreasonable position. --Griboski (talk) 06:04, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
@Griboski, that is very definition of OR - @OyMosby, I have nothing against Melander, but this particular paper of his isn't enough to validate particular claim.--౪ Santa ౪99° 10:01, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
@Griboski, we need to be careful to use a source that explicitly says that a group was expelled, ethnically cleansed, deported or forcibly resettled in this case. The source about Serbs leaving Zenica did not mention that they were expelled by the Bosnian government, on purpose. Numerous groups fled one way or another during the war, but only a clear policy of expelling them should be included in the article, based on reliable sources. I have added a source about Serbs being expelled from Goražde during the siege in the article.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 11:11, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Regarding Melander, well, Bartrop (2016) has 0 footnotes, yet some extraordinary claims of his are included such as that Boban "ordered the assassination" of those "opposing his plans" (whose assassination did he order?). If only ICTY judgements are the criteria for defining something as an ethnic cleansing, then there is no need for a Bosniak forces section when there were no ICTY judgements saying they committed or planned ethnic cleansing. Regarding Croat forces, the ICTY convictions are only for ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks in parts of Herzegovina and central Bosnia. However, there are still ongoing trials at courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina that mention ethnic cleansing and that should be taken into account.
If the criteria are secondary sources that talk about ethnic cleansing, then each section can be expanded at least four-fold. What should in that case be the proportion of "ethnic cleansing" content for each side?
And I still don't understand why is the UN report from 1994 used for a final conclusion, when it was published about a year before the end of the war. 1995, after 1992, had the highest number of casualties. It's also a primary source.
The numerical estimates in the lead are for some reason a combination of estimates from Prašo and Mrduljaš. Tezwoo (talk) 13:32, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, particular crimes (Balkan wars) should be looked through the prism of court trials, but not through prosecution allegations in ongoing trials, instead they should be looked through judgements, and even there we have absolute difference between trial judgement and appeal judgements - we can use indictments for description only, and only if they are proven and verdict passed. Now, probably only fortunate thing in this catastrophe, is that it happened in the age of Internet and satellite TV, it's meticulously documented, and that international community, at least, did a very good job in setting up those courts, who then amassed so much evidences that the trials ended with written document database of over 9 millions pages (and even this number is only searchable databases for public use).
I can't say anything about the "Boban" issue, and/or its mention in Bartrop's book without footnote(s) - it may be common knowledge that Bosba ordered the assassination, maybe other sources confirm it and so on. But, the assassination is one thing, and the blanket allegation of ethnic cleansing, as described in the manner and words used by Melander, attributing it in the broad-brush strokes to all warring parties equally, without footnotes, is another. By the way, I did not have time to read carefully that paper, and I am not sure whether the author somewhere in the text said something that would contradict such a sweeping statement, or at least explain the author's position in a little more detail.--౪ Santa ౪99° 16:03, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Verdicts are not the only criteria for establishing historical facts, we also have historians that make conclusions. Paul R. Bartrop is such an established historian, and wrote a published book that passed an editorial, whereas Melander wrote a paper prepared for a presentation at a conference, which was not reviewed. By the way, there is now a second GA review underway, so further comments can be added there.--3E1I5S8B9RF7 (talk) 16:53, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Yes, everyone ! Go back to the main Talk Page, scroll all the way down to the bottom, and look for GA review - designated as GA2 in the hatnote--౪ Santa ౪99° 17:22, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Return to "Ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian War/GA1" page.