From the beginning, Italy has considered the Indian authorities’ stand on the shooting incident involving two marines a violation of international law obligations, the note verbale sent by Rome to New Delhi stated while asserting Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone would not return to India.
The March 11 dated Note Verbale, produced in the court by Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, said: “the Embassy of Italy presents its compliments to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and has the honour to refer to the Supreme Court decision of January 18, 2013, in which it was denied the Indian jurisdiction on the incident occurred in international water involving the Italian ship Enrica Lexie and to the previous note verbales and meetings relating to the judgment of the said incident.”
Italy considered the Indian authorities’ position a violation of international law obligations descending from international customary and conventional law, including the principle of immunity of jurisdiction for agents of a Foreign State and the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (Unclos).
It said: “Also in the light of the said decision of the Indian Supreme Court and of the lack of answer from India to the Note Verbale dated March 6 relating to the cooperation among the States in the fight against piracy provided by Article 100 of the UNCLOS, Italy deems that there is an existing controversy with India concerning the provisions of the said Convention and the general principles of International Law applicable to this incident.
“For these reasons, Italy requests the Indian Government to set up a meeting at diplomatic level in order to reach an amicable solution of this controversy through an arbitration of a judiciary solution.
“This exchange of views will result in the implementation of what is provided by Article 28 of the UNCLOS. Considering the relevance of the issue and the mutual interest for the two countries to reach a prompt solution of the controversy, Italy deems that the requested meeting should take place at the shortest time, possibly not beyond 30 days from the presentation of the Note Verbale.
“Taking this opportunity, Italy has the honour to inform that since a controversy between the two States has been established, the two Italian Marines, Mr. Latorre and Mr. Girone will not return to India on the expiration of the permission granted to them. While awaiting for a kind reply, the Embassy of Italy avails of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India the assurances of its highest consideration.”