Home > News > Centre seeks closure of 8-yr-long pending proceedings on Italian Marines in SC | India News

Centre seeks closure of 8-yr-long pending proceedings on Italian Marines in SC | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday requested the Supreme Court to close eight-year-old proceedings initiated by Italian government and two marines against latter’s prosecution in the killings two Kerala fishermen in 2012, saying further hearing was not required as a recent international tribunal‘s non-appealable and binding award has vindicated India’s stand.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) in an application before the SC said it has accepted the May 21 Award of the Arbitral Tribunal under UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) as it vindicated the Indian stand by ruling that “actions of the Italian Marines (Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie) breached India’s freedom and right of navigation” and upheld the conduct of Indian authorities with regard to the February 15, 2012 firing incident resulting in death of leading to two fishermen aboard St Antony off Kerala coast.
The tribunal, MEA told SC, has held that both India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident and that there existed a valid basis for instituting criminal proceedings against the two Marines. However, it cited diplomatic immunity enjoyed by them non-suited India from exercising its jurisdiction over Marines. The tribunal rejected the Italian claim for compensation for detention of the Marines in India in connection with the case, it said.
The tribunal has precluded India from proceeding further with the criminal case against the Marines as Italy promised to resume criminal investigation into their conduct. However, the tribunal entitled India to “compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of ‘St. Antony’,” the MEA said.
The tribunal did not quantify the compensation, which would have to be worked out through bilateral talks between the two countries. “India being a party to the UNCLOS… the Award is final and without appeal and shall be complied with by the parties to the dispute,” the MEA said. Seeking disposal of pending matters, the Centre said, “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 the SC.”
During the pendency of proceedings in the killing of Kerala fishermen, the SC had last passed an order on March 6, 2017 deferring hearing indefinitely on the petitions filed by Italian government, the two Marines and another by saying, “Put up for hearing as and when the final Award (of the Arbitral Tribunal) is placed on record of the cases by the parties”. The MEA has placed the Award on record through its application filed on Friday.
During the hearing, the SC had ruled that Kerala police had no jurisdiction to investigate the case leading to the Centre entrusting probe to National Investigation Agency. Meanwhile, the SC had barred the two Marines from leaving India. At one point of time when the Marines breached the parole deadline to come back to India while in the custody of SC, the court had barred Italian ambassador Daniel Mancini from leaving India resulting in the return of the Marines.
However, SC allowed Latorre to go back to Italy on medical grounds on September 12, 2014 and he never returned back by getting extension of parole period from time to time by producing medical certificates. Two years later, the SC on May 26, 2016 allowed Girone to go home after Italy raised a dispute before the Arbitral Tribunal under UNCLOS over India’s jurisdiction to try the Marines. The proceedings had been in limbo in SC since then.

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