Fishermen Killing Case: SC Order on Italian Marines on 15 June

The Solicitor General had requested the SC to quash the cases against the two Italian Marines.

2 min read
The Italian marines were responsible for killing two Indian fishermen in 2012.

The Supreme Court on Friday, June 11, taking note of the Rs 10-crore compensation deposited by the Republic of Italy, reserved its order on the application filed by the Centre to quash the criminal cases pending in India against two Italian marines, concerning the 2012 firing-at-sea incident near Kerala, in which two Indian fishermen were killed.

The top court said that orders on the disbursal of Rs 10-crore compensation to the victims’ kin and quashing of case against the Italian Marines for killing the fishermen, will be passed on 15 June.

The Incident

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.

Solicitor General (SG) of India Tushar Mehta informed the division Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah that the Republic of Italy has deposited the compensation amount with the Government of India, which the Centre has further deposited before the Supreme Court.

The Kerala government has also expressed the view that people who were injured in the incident should also be compensated and so Mehta said “it is for the Kerala government to apportion the amount”, LiveLaw reported.

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.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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