Sociologist John Hagan completed his book “Justice in the Balkans,” a critical look at the Hague Tribunal and war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, just as violence erupted in Sudan’s western province of Darfur in 2003. Now more than three years later, the Northwestern University professor has turned to correcting historical errors in real time. His study, coauthored with University of Wisconsin professor Alberto Palloni and to be published tomorrow in the journal Science, provides the first rigorous estimate of the death toll in Darfur. The two scientists found that 200,000 to 400,000 people have died since violence began, rather than the tens of thousands widely reported in the media.
The war-torn environment of Darfur has made accurate estimates difficult to come up with. To arrive at their tally, Hagan and Palloni drew on a wide range of previous studies and surveys performed in West Darfur. These include the World Health Organization’s survey of people in displacement camps, pulled together in 2004 with the cooperation of the Sudanese Ministry of Health, surveys from Médecins Sans Frontières and other studies by the U.S. State Department and the United Nations. The scientists estimate that 1 million people have been displaced in West Darfur alone.
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