UN court begins hearing in Italian marines case; Restrictions on marines relaxed

RSTV Bureau

File Photo ( PTI )

A UN tribunal on Monday asked both India and Italy to suspend all court proceedings against Italian marines’ charged with killing of two Indian fishermen in 2012 which may “aggravate or extend” the dispute.

Hearing Italy’s appeal in the case, the President of the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS), Vladimir Golitsyn also sought initial report in the entire from both Italy and India by September 24.

Court gave its ruling on the plea filed by the Italian authorities, which asked the tribunal to suspend all activities arguing that the case should be taken to arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and that the incident happened in international waters where national laws do not apply.

India had earlier told the UN tribunal that it is ready to complete within four months the trial of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala’s coast if Italy cooperates.

The 21-member UN-mandated court located in Hamburg issued the order with 15 in favour and six against it.

Tribunal had also asked India to take all measures necessary to ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines be immediately lifted. With the court ordering relaxation on restrictions, both the accused – Sergeant Girone and Sergeant Latorre – can stay in Italy.

The two marines, who were on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie’, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen on February 15, 2012 off the Kerala coast. Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been following legal process since their arrest in February 2012. Girone is in India but Latorre is in Italy after India allowed him to return home temporarily for medical treatment.

(With inputs from the agencies)