Hamburg (Germany), (from The Deccan Herald)
India has told an international tribunal that it is ready to complete within four months the trial of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala's coast if Italy cooperates.
The offer was made before the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS) here after Italy dragged India to it accusing delay in the trial of February 15, 2012, incident in which marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were on board ship 'Enrica Lexie', allegedly killed two Indian fishermen.
"I have been instructed to state that India is prepared to guarantee that the decision of the Special Court could be handed down within four months from the date on which the hearings open, if Italy were to cooperate and withdraw its objections to the procedure before the Indian Supreme Court," Indian representative Alain Pellet told the tribunal.
The tribunal reserved its order after hearing both sides for two days on Monday and Tuesday and will give its ruling on August 24.
India also rebutted Italy's claim before the tribunal that New Delhi shut the door for a diplomatic solution to the marines issue and also that there was any back channel discussions between the senior Prime Ministerial advisers and Italian representative.
Earlier, Italy told the tribunal that there was no scope for the Indian government to engage in further discussions about a "political settlement" after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in May that Italy should join in the judicial process as the matter is sub judice.
"Some days after this statement, Italy was informed on the private channel of engagement between the senior Prime Ministerial advisers that the statement by Minister Swaraj reflected the position of the Government," Italy told the tribunal.
Rebutting this, Indian representative Rodman Bundy said: "There is absolutely no evidence to show that it was only in May 2015 that it became clear that a diplomatic solution could not be reached, or that, as Sir Daniel (Italian representative) asserted: At this point -- that is May 2015 -- the Indian Government indicated to Italy that it had no latitude to pursue a negotiated settlement given the engagement of the Indian Supreme Court.
"Where is the evidence of that statement? It is not on the file. Pure assertion. My colleague has not pointed to any document that supports this claim that somehow it was only in May of this year that settlement became impossible. Sir Daniel's arguments in this respect are pure as
(From The Hindustan)
Marines didn’t kill Indian fishermen, Italy tells tribunalItaly has told an international tribunal that its marines didn’t gun down two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala three years ago, an incident that sparked off a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre — onboard oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie — had opened fire on an Indian fishing boat, killing two fishermen on February 15, 2012, India’s top anti-terror body the National Investigation Agency had said in its probe report.
“The marines contest the allegation that they fired the shots that killed the unfortunate Indian fishermen,” Italy’s counsel Daniel Bethlehem told the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on Tuesday.
India has accused Italy of abusing its judicial process and said its version of events was “misleading”.
The tribunal began the two-day hearing on Monday and will pronounce its order on August 24.
“It is not accepted that the fatal shooting took place from the Enrica Lexie. There were other vessels in the area at the time and other reports of pirate attacks,” Bethlehem said, objecting to India’s charge that the marines were murderers.
“I must emphasise the marines have not even been charged with murder under Indian law.” In its final submission, Italy said India be prevented from taking or enforcing any judicial or administrative measures against the two marines.
Latorre is in Italy after being granted leave by the Supreme Court on health grounds. But, Rome wants Girone, who is living in the Italian embassy in New Delhi and has been allowed family visits, back home as well.
If the tribunal would decide in favour of India trying Latorre and Girone, the marines would return to India, Italy said.
ITLOS is an independent body established by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the convention.
India said it had apprehensions about Italy’s ability to fulfil its promises as it had earlier attempted to renege twice on them. It also rejected an offer of a surety of Euro 300,000 for Girone to return to Italy.
During their questioning by the NIA, the two marines had not offered a word in their defence and chose to exercise the option of remaining silent. They have also moved the Supreme Court challenging NIA’s jurisdiction. During a hearing on July 13, Italy made a plea saying it had invoked international arbitration challenging India’s jurisdiction to try its marines.
It had the jurisdiction to probe and try the two men, India told the tribunal, adding the story told by Italy was as “short and straightforward” as it was misleading.
(from The Hindu)
India rejects Italy’s 4.4-crore offer to free marines
India has rejected Italy’s offer to pay 600,000 euros, roughly Rs. 4.4 crore, to secure protection from any legal action against the two Italian marines, saying “murders are not compensable offences”. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. India said it would help expedite the trial at a Special Court within “four months.”
India informed the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that “no bilateral agreement exists between India and Italy for granting diplomatic immunity to armed forces personnel of Italy.” India had, in fact, even prior to the Enrica Lexie [the merchant vessel on which the two Marines were on board] incident, refused transit for their Vessel Protection Detachments through India, “since the same is not permitted under Indian law.”
The ITLOS is expected to deliver its judgment on August 24 after the two sides finish their arguments.
“I have been instructed to state that India is prepared to guarantee that the decision of the Special Court could be handed down within four months from the date on which the hearings open, if Italy were to cooperate and withdraw its objections to the procedure before the Indian Supreme Court,” Indian representative Alain Pellet told the tribunal.
India also rebutted Italy’s claim before the tribunal that New Delhi shut the door for a diplomatic solution.
Earlier, Italy told the tribunal that there was no scope for the Indian government to engage in further discussions about a “political settlement” after Exter-nal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in May that Italy should join in the judicial process as the matter was sub judice.
“Some days after this statement, Italy was informed of the private channel of engagement between the senior Prime Ministerial advisers that the statement by Minister Swaraj reflected the position of the government,” Italy told the tribunal.