The Italian Foreign Ministry has said that their marine Salvatore Girone who is facing murder charges in India will be able to return to Italy while his case is subject to arbitration procedure.
Italy made the revelation by citing an order of the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague. News reports by Italian news agency ANSA said that the UN court will make its ruling public only on Wednesday.
Girone is one of the two Italian marines convicted in India for killing two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates.
“Foreign Ministry informs that the arbitral tribunal set up in The Hague has anticipated today its decision that Girone Rifleman (be allowed to go) back in Italy until the end of the arbitration proceedings, initiated by the Government on June 26, 2015. The return of the conditions will be agreed between Italy and India,” the Italian ministry said.
The Italian government claimed that it has been working on the matter to bring home the two Riflemen Marina. Italy announced that the UN order paves the way for their return.
In March, Italy had asked the PCA judges to order India to release its detained marine Girone. Italy’s argument was that Girone would risk four more years in India without any charges being made and that would amount to a “grave violation of his human rights”.
The arbitration “could last at least three or four years” which means that Girone risks “being held in (New) Delhi, without any charges being made, for a total of seven-eight years”, Italy’s representative had told the court.
Girone was one of two Italian marines on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie’, who has been accused of killing two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in 2012 off the Kerala coast.
Since 2012, Girone hasn’t been able to leave India except for a few brief permits. The second marine, Massimiliano Latorre, is back in Italy after he suffered a stroke in 2014.
The Italian government has taken the marines case to international arbitration after repeated delays in the trial in India.
(With inputs from agencies)