Italy moves ITLOS in Marines case

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 Vijaita Singh  (The Hindu)
The Italian government has approached the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), one of the four forums available for international disputes, in the Italian Marines case.
It wants India to “refrain from taking or enforcing any judicial or administrative measures” and “ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines are immediately lifted.”
India has decided to oppose the plea when the case comes up for hearing at Hamburg, Germany, in August. “Before ITLOS, we will be contending that India alone has jurisdiction to try offences within the country and that the tribunal has no jurisdiction,” Additional Solicitor General P.S Narsimha, who will be representing India at the Tribunal, told TheHindu.
“India will also contend that Italy has not exhausted all remedies, which is a requirement before invoking the jurisdiction of ITLOS. Finally, India will also contend that there is no compelling circumstance to pass any order for provisional measure.”
Hearing to begin on August 10
In a press statement on Friday, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) said its President, Judge Vladimir Golitsyn, had fixed August 10, 2015 for the opening of the public hearing in the Italian marines case. The Tribunal, which came into existence in 1994, has 21 members.
On July 21, Italy submitted a request to the Tribunal for the prescription of provisional measures under article 290, paragraph 5, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“the Convention”) in connection with the incident involving MV Enrica Lexie, an oil tanker flying the Italian flag. Two Italian Marines on board, Massimiliano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone, allegedly opened fire on an Indian boat, St. Antony, killing two Indian fishermen from Kerala in February 2012. The Marines were arrested by the Kerala Police and the case was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
One of the Marines, Mr. Latorre, is presently in Italy on health grounds. The case has become a point of diplomatic tussle between India and Italy.
After the NDA government came to power, Italy requested India to resolve the issue. On June 26, 2015, by a notification addressed to the Government of India, Italy submitted the dispute to the arbitral procedure provided for in Annex VII of the Convention.
“India will appear before ITLOS, which will only be considering provisional measures pending disposal of the issue of jurisdiction before the arbitration Tribunal under Annexe 7 of the convention,” Mr. Narsimha said. India is also trying to rope in an international arbitration expert from Geneva.
Mr. Narsimha said that the present Tribunal could only pass interim orde