New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday the Italian government’s plea for relaxation of bail conditions of its marine, Sergeant Major Salvatore Girone, so that he can return to his country.
Girone is held in India, being one of the two Italian marines who are accused of killing in 2012 two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast.
Chief Master Sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Major Girone were then serving as security personnel on an Italian oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie crossing the Indian Ocean.
An apex court vacation bench of Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice DY Chandrachud agreed to hear the plea after Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand supported the plea by the Italian government for relaxing the bail conditions so that Girone can travel to Italy while remaining under the court’s authority.
The Italian government sought the relaxation of bail conditions in the wake of April 29 order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) asking India and Italy to cooperate in relaxing the bail conditions so that Girone could return to his country during the pendency of the arbitration proceedings before it.
“Italy and India shall cooperate, including in proceedings before the Supreme Court of India, to achieve a relaxation of bail conditions of Sergeant Girone so as to give effect to the concept of consideration of humanity, so that Sergeant Girone, while remaining under the authority of Supreme Court of India, may return to Italy during the present Annex VII arbitration,” Annex VII arbitral tribunal had said in its April 29 order.
The tribunal had also said that Italy was under obligation to return Girone to India in case it holds that India has jurisdiction over him in respect of the Enrica Lexie incident.
The international arbitral tribunal has been established under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for adjudicating on the dispute between India and Italy over their jurisdiction to try Latorre and Girone.
India and Italy are engaged in compulsory and binding arbitration proceedings over the dispute of jurisdiction to try the Italian marines under the provisions of the UNCLOS.
The April 29 order of the arbitral tribunal came on an application by Italy.
The proceedings in the matter in both the countries have been put on hold following an ITLOS order of August 24, 2015.
The ITLOS is holding an international arbitration to decide the question of jurisdiction between India and Italy as to who will try the two Italian marines for killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in February 2012 mistaking them as sea pirates.
Latorre is already in Italy on the grounds of indifferent health and treatment.