ITLOS Says Italian Marines to Stay in India
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg has ruled against Italy’s request for India to provisionally release two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February 2012 while on anti-piracy duty onboard the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie.
ITLOS also ordered both parties to stop all legal proceedings relating to the Enrica Lexie incident, saying that an international arbitration hearing in The Hague will rule on the dispute.
”Italy and India shall both suspend all court proceedings and shall refrain from initiating new ones which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Annex VII arbitral tribunal or might jeopardize or prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render,” ITLOS said in the ruling.
Sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone were part of an Italian marine team hired to protect the Enrica Lexie from pirates.
On February 15, 2012, Enrica Lexie was en route from Sri Lanka to Djibouti when it came across an Indian fishing vessel M.V. St. Antony some 20.5 nautical miles off the India’s state of Kerala.
The marines allegedly mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired at the vessel, killing the two men.
Following the incident, the Enrica Lexie was ordered to proceed to Kochi port, where the two marines were arrested.
Latorre and Girone challenged their arrest before the Kerala High Court, claiming that India has no jurisdiction over the case, as the incident happened in international waters.
Girone is currently held at the Italian embassy in New Delhi, while Latorre is in Italy after India allowed him to return temporarily to Italy for medical treatment.
World Maritime News Staff
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