‘They must come home for trial’

Italy will not participate in the trial of the two Italian marines in India for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen, Italy’s special envoy in the case Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday.

“Whatever happens at the March 28 hearing in New Delhi, we will not be present,” De Mistura told an Italian House committee.

De Mistura said “the Italian position is very firm” and that is “no trial”, ANSA news agency reported. De Mistura also reiterated that Italy’s goal was to rally international support for the case.

On Friday, the Supreme Court will examine an appeal filed by the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February 2012.

Earlier this month, the two marines filed a petition to prevent the Indian authorities from permitting the National Investigation Agency (NIA) anti-terrorism police to probe the case.

De Mistura said that if the marines must face trial, it should be in Italy. “They must come home,” he said.

He said the pair had been stuck “for too long” in New Delhi and he had given them his personal guarantee to get them back to Italy.

The court is expected to review the marines’ request to return to Italy to await the beginning of the trial.

The 50-page document argues that allowing the NIA to probe the case is not valid because its jurisdiction only extends to certain laws, such as suppression of piracy, which do not apply to the Italian marines. The document was prepared by the Italian legal team that has worked with the two marines for almost two years.

India’s Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati has already told the Supreme Court in New Delhi that he favoured dropping the anti-terrorism laws in this case, but has still asked the courts to uphold the NIA leading the investigation.

The two marines have been living and working at the Italian embassy in India pending charges.