Salvatore Girone, one of the two marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala, will return to Italy
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Salvatore Girone, one of the two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala, to return to Italy.
A vacation bench of Justices P.C. Pant and D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to Mr. Girone’s plea to send him back to his native country after the Centre also endorsed the apex court’s condition that the Italian Ambassador should give an undertaking to the court that he would return to face the criminal trial.
This was the exact condition on which Mr. Girone’s compatriot and co-accused in the case, Massimiliano Latorre, was allowed to leave for Italy in September 2014 to recuperate from a brain stroke he suffered while in custody in India.
Mr. Latorre, who has enjoyed periodic extensions from the Supreme Court of his stay there, has got time till September 30 this year.
Mr. Girone’s plea had coincided with Italy’s request to the Supreme Court to urgently enforce a United Nations arbitration tribunal’s decision enabling him to quickly return from India.
In his plea, Mr. Girone had sought the court’s leeway to go back to his country till an International Arbitration Tribunal decides a jurisdictional dispute between India and Italy on where the duo should be tried.
Mr. Girone is one of two Italian marines — on board ship ’Enrica Lexie’ — accused of killing two of fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. He has not been able to leave India, aside from a few brief permits, since the incident.
The Tribunal is adjudicating only on the limited question of whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to try the two Marines for the killing of two innocent Indian fishermen.
The two countries had agreed to arbitration by the U.N. court. In a previous hearing, the apex court was informed that the arbitration proceedings would take till December 2018 to reach completion.
The Supreme Court had suspended court proceedings in August 2015 when Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) challenging India’s right to try the marines. Italy had opted for international arbitration proceedings against India under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982 on June 26, 2015. Meanwhile, all court proceedings in India against the marines continue to be stayed.
The marine had also sought a direction that Ministry of Home Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office to provide him with the “necessary residential permit and exit visa”.
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