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SC Shuts Proceedings Against Italian Marines Accused of Murder

Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were accused of murdering two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

Published
India
2 min read
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone
i

The Supreme Court on Monday, 14 June, ordered the termination of all proceedings against Italian marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of murdering two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012, accepting Italy’s compensation of Rs 10 crore in the case.

A vacation bench of justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah referred to the international arbitral award and the terms of the agreement between the governments of India and Italy, and said that the case will now be pursued in Italy.

Earlier on Friday, 11 June, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench consisting Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah that the Republic of Italy had deposited the compensation of Rs 10 crore as per the bench’s orders.

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The Case

On 15 February 2012, about 20 nautical miles from the Kerala coastline, a fishing boat – ‘St Antony’ – happened to pass ‘Enrica Lexie’ a tanker flying the Italian flag.

Two marines – Massimilano Latorre and Salvator Girone – who were aboard the ship, mistook the fishing boat for a pirate boat and opened fire at it, which led to the deaths of two fishermen – Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki.

The Apex Court on 9 April had observed that the criminal cases pending against the two Italian Marines in India will be closed only after the Republic of Italy deposits the compensation agreed on.

Earlier, the Centre had told the Apex Court that according to the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations Convention on Law of Seas, India has no jurisdiction to launch criminal prosecution against the Italian Marines.

Therefore, the SG had requested the Supreme Court to quash the cases, invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.

The PCA in July last year had ruled that India was entitled to claim compensation, however, the International Tribunal also held that India has no jurisdiction to launch criminal prosecution against the Marines as they had sovereign immunity.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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