2 Italian marines are accused of shooting dead two fishermen off Kerala coast
The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that an international tribunal would decide India’s jurisdiction to try two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast only in December 2018, leaving the victims’ family no choice but to suffer a long wait for justice.
Again, the almost two-year wait for the families of the victims — two Malayali fishermen whom the marines fatally mistook for pirates — would end up being in vain if the tribunal ends up deciding in favour of Italy in December 2018 and junk India’s case to try the marines.
Meanwhile, all court proceedings in India against the marines — Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who is now in Italy — continue to be stayed. The Supreme Court had suspended court proceedings in August 2015 when the Republic of Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) challenging India’s right to try their 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.
The Centre remained non-committal before a Bench led by Justice Anil R. Dave, only assuring the court that it would stick to its stand before the ITLOS that India had jurisdiction to proceed against Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre. “As of now, nothing can proceed here till the tribunal decides,” Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar submitted.
With the verdict far away and a freeze on court proceedings, senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, representing the marines, submitted that there was really no pressing need to “compel” Mr. Latorre, who is now staying at home in Italy, to return to India.
The second marine, Mr. Girone, is however still in India. Mr. Latorre, who suffered a stroke, had left the country for Italy in September 2014. The Supreme Court had allowed him to recuperate in his native place.
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