Saturday, May 31, 2008

Markets in everything: graveyard edition

This ought to make a nice addition to the Markets in Everything series. From Radio Free Europe (yes, it still exists!), an article about markets in information about mass graves in the former Yugoslavia:

Already from the first days and weeks of the conflict in 1992, individuals sought to obtain money by providing information about the locations of prisoners and detainees. Some people offered to arrange prisoner exchanges or releases in exchange for payment. The practice continued into the postwar era, when individuals from all three ethnic groups offered information about mass graves and other burial sites for profit. About 12,000 victims of the conflict remain unaccounted for. [...]

Bogdanic argued that few people in possession of information about mass graves or the remains of individuals are willing to tell what they know out of human decency, but want some form of compensation instead. The demands, he added, vary greatly.

Predictably, there's someone stepping in crying foul, and but at least he admits that what he proposes is against the wishes of those he's trying to help:

Accordingly, Bogdanic believes it is necessary to establish regulations to set boundaries for payments for such information and involve government institutions in the process. He noted, however, that victims' families tend to reject that idea, presumably because they fear that regulating the sale of information would deter individuals from coming forward and telling what they know.

And how accurate is the information?

Karabasic noted that the information offered usually proves accurate. The sellers are clearly from the area and can identify the victims by first and last names.

No comments: