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Interview with John Sloboda of Every Casualty Worldwide

Professor Spagat interviews John Sloboda, co-founder of Every Casualty Worldwide about the purpose, activities and achievements of the organization.

In this video, I interview John Sloboda who is Co-Director of Every Casualty Worldwide with Hamit Dardagan, with whom he also co-founded Iraq Body Count in 2002.

Full disclosure – I am on the Board of Every Casualty Worldwide (ECW) which we discuss in this interview.

Casualty recording work is often controversial. Casualty recorders are sometimes physically attacked. And, more frequently, their work is attacked. Of course, casualty recording work should not be placed above criticism. Indeed, incisive criticism can help can help any research project to develop and grow and casualty recording projects are not exempt from this rule.

Criticisms of casualty recording projects are varied but John mentions two common ones in the interview. The first is that a project is claiming to document deaths that did not really happen. The second is that a project has failed to document many deaths that did really happen. He has a generic response to each of these two criticisms.


  1. What do you think of John’s responses?
  2. Are they equally strong?
  3. What are their weaknesses?
  4. How might the principles of good casualty recording practice help in arguments of the type that John envisions?

Please think through these issues and post your thoughts, ideas and questions in the comments area. It would be great if you can also read and respond to the comments of your fellow learners, as always in a respectful manner.

Also, you might want to bookmark some of your thoughts for possible redeployment for the discussion activity at the end of this Casualty Recording activity.

Upon my request John provided the following bio:

From 2004 to 2009 he was Executive Director of Oxford Research Group, and with Paul Rogers and Chris Abbott he was co-author of “Beyond Terror: the Truth about the Real Threats to Our World” (Rider, 2007). With Elizabeth Minor he is co-author of “The Range of Sources in Casualty Recording” (Oxford Research Group, 2012). He is also Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Keele, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the advisory board of He has written on peace and security issues for a number of publications including

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Accounting for Death in War: Separating Fact from Fiction

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