What procedure is generally followed to count the number of victims in genocides?

Is there any standard procedure in practice?

Who counts this? The post-genocide government or UNO or any other agency?

1 Answer 1


For legal purposes, the number does not really matter. The definition of genocide is the combination of overt acts with the intent behind them. Just a few murders would be enough if the goal was to destroy a people.

That leaves the historical and political judgement, which differs from case to case based on available data. For the German Holocaust, there is the combination of surviving German documents and the comparison of before-and-after numbers. The latter has problems, but for large populations the measuring of excess mortality can give valid statistical results. Compare the estimates for the Armenian genocide, which have a much higher spread.

  • Most of the acts in the definition do not involve directly killing people, either Sep 13, 2022 at 8:06

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