This question is based off of an episode of the original Star Trek series that got me thinking.
Imagine the very near future were just starting to colonize mars and had placed 500 people from all nations on the planet, which was growing most of it's own food with occasional influx of new seeds and resources on rare visits from earth. Suddenly something goes wrong with their systems, they lose electronic systems knocking out both radio and most of the resources they use to grow food. With just the systems they have left they can barely produce any food, no where near enough to provide for the colonists, and they have very little stockpile of food to last them.
Earth will likely send a rescue mission as soon as they realize contact has been lost with the colony. However, larger missions will take some time to reach Mars, and they may not bring sufficient supplies to help the colonists when the arrive; not knowing why contact was lost they don't know what relief efforts are required. There is no way to feed the 500 colonists until rescue arrives.
The governor makes a difficult decision. He arranges for 400 colonists to be randomly selected and killed immediately, calculating that his colony can only manage to keep 100 alive long enough for an Earth rescue mission to arrive. When the rescue mission arrives it finds 100 men and women starving and close to death. The rescue mission brought only a small amount of food, not knowing what was needed and all mass slowing down the rescue as well as increasing it's expense. They feed the colonists that they can and are able to partially fix the food growth systems before evacuates as many as they can back to earth. In the end another 50 of the starving individuals die before the remaining few are able to produce enough food to sustain themselves.
The governor, who ordered the deaths of 80% of his colony, is also taken back to face charges for the organized murder of his colony. However, it is clear from how desperate the colony situation was when rescuers arrived that everyone would have starved if they tried to keep all 500 citizens alive, in fact if he had ordered the deaths of even more citizens odds are some of the 50 who died of starvation after the rescue mission could have survived as well.
How will the governments of the world respond to the systematic murder to save the remaining citizens? Will the governor be imprisoned or executed for his actions, or would they see it as a horrible but necessary response to the situation?
this is not a question on rather the actions are right or wrong, but how the governments will respond, these are not always the same thing. Moral questions aside how would our own governments respond, or bicker, in this situation? For the sake of argument lets say the governor was an citizen of the United States, but citizens of all major governments were on the colony and killed.