A case of ethics scenario

Scenario – Kosovo
The Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) was created in 1998 to be deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) under a United Nations Security Council Resolution to verify Serb compliance with the Rambouillet Agreement. You are the Head of a KVM Coordination Center (CC), which in turn is under control of a Regional Centre (RC). You employ 44 locally engaged employees, of whom 12 are interpreters.

Interpreters are considered part of the “team” that develops among the mix of foreigners assigned to work together as observers or monitors. In Kosovo, interpreters are at particular risk. They are witnesses to investigations of crimes conducted by KVM monitors, even war crimes. Moreover, since they know both sides of “the stories” (having interpreted for their KVM colleagues at many negotiations), fanatics in the warring parties see interpreters as possible moderate threats who can dispel propaganda myths that they circulate by media and rumour. Further, the intelligence elements of the belligerents see interpreters (much more so than any other locals employed by the OSCE) as sources of information not only about the OSCE, but also about the other side. Finally, the public association with foreigners required by the job of interpreter places them under suspicion in their own local communities. Three of your interpreters have families.

The situation for the KVM monitors was so tense that evacuation procedures for them had not only been planned but also rehearsed. However, it was apparent that no local employees were to be part of this plan. This concerned KVM monitors, who officially asked that their interpreters be included in the KVM evacuation plan because of the increased personal risk they all faced.

In your particular CC, Serb police have been harassing and trying to pressure a female interpreter about the information she may have acquired in her KVM duties, to the point where you now have her living in the OSCE compound. The Kosovo Liberation Army is also pressuring a male interpreter to provide information about the police, which he gathered in his KVM interpretation assignments. Of all the local employees, to date only the interpreters have been subjected to threats by the belligerents.

A number of incidents have demonstrated that the agreements are failing and there is a general concern about KVM verifier safety itself. The word is finally given to you on 20 March 1999 that all KVM monitors are to be evacuated to Macedonia (a two‑hour drive away) on 23 March. No local employees are to be taken.

You and your people are upset. All of your KVM monitors have worked together with the interpreters as members of a team of which you are all proud. You are convinced that on several occasions interpreters have through their warnings and other actions prevented casualties among their colleagues. You are equally sure that they are at much higher risk than any other local employees. They have a very high public profile due to their work and have incurred the wrath of both sides for their unwillingness to provide intelligence. Most have already suffered for this. You don’t want to leave any of your team behind. However, the order from KVM is clear – no local employees are to be evacuated, not even those at high risk. There is no point in asking higher headquarters for permission, since the response to your earlier memo on this subject and the direction given for this “real” evacuation are clear—interpreters are not to be evacuated.

Explain whether or not the evacuation plan described above meets the criteria of an ethical dilemma.

Describe how the reasoning of a utilitarian teleologist and a Kantian deontologist would differ on deciding the morally right thing to do.

Using Hoffman (1991), explain how empathy would influence your decision to take or not to take your interpreters with you.

maybe someone will do your homework for you…


Aahahahahah…good one.