Italian marines’ case: Centre accepts International tribunal’s award; urges SC to close the case

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3

A day after an International tribunal rules that India didn’t have jurisdiction to try two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fisherman in Kerala, the Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking disposal of the case pending before it.

In an application filed in the top court, the Centre said it has accepted the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“…the Republic of India has taken a decision to accept and abide by the Award passed by the said Tribunal which would have the bearing on the continuance of present proceedings before this Hon’ble Court,” the Centre submitted.

The Centre said it would abide by the award in killings of two fishermen by Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone who were on board Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie when they allegedly fired at two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.

“India being a Party to the UNCLOS, in accordance with the provisions of the UNCLOS and the Rules of Procedure agreed by the Parties, the Award is final and without appeal and shall be complied with by the parties to the dispute (Article 11, Annex VII, UNCLOS),” it said.

The Hague-based tribunal on July 2 ruled that the two marines should be tried in Italy and asked the Indian authorities to close the criminal case against them.

The tribunal, however, agreed with India’s contention that the Italian marines broke the freedom of navigation aspect of UNCLOS and, therefore, the killed fishermen’s kin were entitled to compensation.

Italy had offered Rs 1 crore compensation in 2012 to the family of each of the killed fishermen. Now, India and Italy would have to work out the blood-money. They can move PCA in case of any disagreement.

New Delhi had alleged that the two Italian marines aboard the Italian commercial oil tanker killed the Indian fishermen.

The Supreme Court had in 2014 stayed the criminal proceedings against the two Italian marines before a Special Court at Kollam in Kerala. In 2015, it halted all the proceedings before all courts in India in view of an ITLOS order calling upon India and Italy to suspend all criminal proceedings against the two marines.

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