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Updated: February 23, 2012 01:47 IST

Italy moves High Court

Special Correspondent
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Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura arrives at South Block in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura arrives at South Block in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Italy has moved the Kerala High Court, seeking to quash the first information report (FIR) registered against two of its naval personnel for the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast.

In a petition, Consul-General Giampaolo Cutillio and the arrested naval personnel, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, argued that under the principles of international law and conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that India has ratified, Indian courts had no jurisdiction to register a crime in connection with the incident.

They said the alleged offence did not take place in Indian territorial waters or on board an Indian vessel. Therefore, the FIR registration, the launching of an investigation into the incident, and the arrest of the two Marines were “wholly without jurisdiction, null and void,” and liable to be quashed.

The naval guards, the petition said, had functional immunity under the international law because they were on duty to protect the vessel against piracy.

They pointed out that it was even the prosecution's case that the incident took place outside India's territorial waters in the contiguous zone/exclusive economic zone of India, that is, 22.5 nautical miles off Kerala. Therefore, the police had no jurisdiction to register a case against the naval officers.

Justice Harun-Ul-Rasheed directed the agent of the oil tanker, Enrica Lexie, to give the High Court Registrar-General a bank guarantee of Rs. 25 lakh against the compensation claim filed by the family of one of the two fishermen. The court also directed the Deputy Conservator of the Cochin Port Trust to detain the ship till the agent gave the bank guarantee. The order came on a petition seeking a compensation of Rs.1 crore from the shipowner, the captain and the two guards. It was filed by Doramma, wife of Valantine, and her sons Derrick, 17, and V. Jeen, 10.

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The Loss for the Families?
The Financial Loss for the Port for allowing the Italian Ship??
Financial loss of the Government?

Even after all th mishaps.. The attiude of the marines at the corridors of the Court.
Two Italian Marines have Spoliled the Relationsh of the Countries and the people.

I don't Understand those who Support the marines...
The Fisher man Boats were unarmed
There is no Provocation from the Fisherman.
Then Y Did they Shoot?? Let the Ship be anywhere.. Who has the right to Kill.. un armed men...

from:  Toney
Posted on: Feb 24, 2012 at 13:46 IST

Is an Indian life just worth a measly sum of Rs 1 crore?. The Italian govt is a milking cow with the culprits and the Enrica in Indian custody. In the event of an out of court settlement,the Indian govt should make sure these sea pirates part with atleast Rs 20 crores each for the fishermen and another 30 Crore Rupees for the State towards wasted time and manpower. This is truly peanuts compared to what Somalian pirates fleece from the shipping mafia!

from:  Dinesh Amarnath
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 18:41 IST

Most of the Indian fishermen going to Sri Lanka are smugglers under the pretext of fishing. When LTTE was controlling the area they were smuggling guns, ammo, food medicines etc to Sri Lanka. Now they are stopped by Sri Lankan Navy. Now they are taking subsidized diesel etc to N. Sri Lanka. I think public are made to beleive that they are fishing but look at the consumption of diesel, gas and drugs out in that part of Ramanathapuram. So let's not compare India-Sri Lanka issue with the death of these two fishermen killed by the Italians

from:  Tamilselvan
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 11:17 IST

(Why don’t experts analyse the bullets found at the crime scene?) Because the Indian police have no experts. (They surely would find that the bullets don’t come from the marines’ guns.) Another reason not to do it, even if the experts were available. (Why doesn’t the Police analyse satellitar images to evaluate the real position of the Enrica Lexie in that day?) Because they are not capable of it, and because, even if they were, they would not be willing to uncover evidence that would exonerate the foreigners, and even if they were willing, they would be afraid of the rabid mobs that are ready to go on the rampage in case there is any sign that the foreigners may be released. (These two elements would be sufficient to clear of the italian marines and redirect the investigation towards the real perpetrators of the crime.) Again, this alone would be sufficient reason that this will never happen, even if anyone with the Kerala police had the competence to conduct such an investigation.

from:  Ashu
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 09:51 IST

Please see the article 19 of UNCLOS I Convention on Territorial Sea and
Contiguous Zone. The affected boat was flying the Indian flag and therefore the alleged crime committed can be tried under the law of the coastal state - read India.

from:  SNJY
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 02:09 IST

Whether the murder took place in Indian water or international water, a murder is a murder. Italians can not escape from Italian law if the murder took place even in Italy. The marines must be punished and the victims family must be suitably compensated after which only, the ship should be allowed to sail back

from:  K.R.Rajan
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 23:14 IST

One mile this side or two miles that side is irrelevant, Italy should have first regreted the incident and sent representatives to say sorry to the families of the victims and then presented thier superior knowledge of the seas and the reasons of trigger happy marines to shoot innocent fishermen. Politics apart first say sorry and then talk legality.

from:  Martis
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 22:59 IST

A quick word here on the compensation claim of INR 10 million, At
today's conversion rate, it is about € 153,000 (one and a half lakh
euros) which is probably less than half the annual salary that the
shipping company pays that ship's captain. I think an Indian life is
worth a lot more than that... Irrespective of what the outcome of the
legal proceedings is, any compensation for the victims' families must
be in line with international norms. Unfortunately, the poor families
in this case are likely to be ill advised and exploited if any such
considerable payments are made towards compensation. But we can leave
that up for them to worry about.

from:  Ian
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 22:37 IST

Anyway if the incident took place in Indian Waters then our
Government has complete right to work out proper proceeding against
the 2 defaulters and by law it is Life Imprisonment..But if it took
place in International waters and Italy goes to appeal for them at a
higher level, then the matter would attract high global

from:  Y.P.Baghel
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 22:29 IST

@Valentino: Your theory is stranger than fiction. The Italians admit to shooting and they say the fishermen were mistaken for pirates. Their key point is that the incident happened within international waters. You now come along and claim that there was a hidden killer. Interesting twist, but for a work of fiction !

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 22:27 IST

I would wanna ask Mr. Velentino ??
1. why you want to know whether the bullets where of Italian navy or not when your authorities have already admited that they have opened fire on them.
2. If you were aware that the incident happened on the international water which did not belong to India then why didnot you connected to Indian authorities before entering into their water and thereby taking them into confidence.
3. They need to prove that there was enough apprehension to prove that the indiaN fisherman vessel were coming within the definition of pirates ship under section 103 of UNCLOS.
4. If it has been the area near to Somalia then your apprehension may be justified but it was near the Indian water ( according to your verse only as I think it was in Indian water) which is not known for piracy
5.How could 2 fisherman can even think of piracy against your large ship??? They have better idea of committing suicide
6. Do you have a single bullet shot that has hit your vessel by them??

Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 22:24 IST

i think there lies a deeper mystery to what happened on the water.
the subject of discussion should be to go deep into the real cause of
the shootout. there should be fair deal as the marines life is at
stake and also the two nations political co-ordination.

from:  manish
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 21:34 IST

It seems like nobody is curious about the possible motivation behind the killing. Sometimes the unlucky fishermen might have witnessed some illegal activities of the Italians of the ship, like smuggling , drug deals, dumping radio active/ waste materials etc. The police should investigate if a third party (from Kerala) was also involved in the incident. Within seconds after the incident happened, the Italians got a Criminal lawyer from Kerala, like a magic, which is also suspicious.

from:  Neena
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 21:23 IST

Why don’t experts analyse the bullets found at the crime scene? They
surely would find that the bullets don’t come from the marines’ guns.
Why doesn’t the Police analyse satellitar images to evaluate the real
position of the Enrica Lexie in that day? These two elements would be
sufficient to clear of the italian marines and redirect the
investigation towards the real perpetrators of the crime.
Many newspapers painted the two italian soldiers as murders, but
there’s no one probative element against them. Is simply ridiculous.

from:  Valentino
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 21:17 IST

it is quite unfotunate and two innocent people were killed. Italy may be assured of a fair trial and guilty shall be punished as per law. In the meantime the families of the victims shall be generously compensated by the Italian Government as simply expressing sympathy will not absolve them of the crime.

from:  v.sudhakara rao
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 21:04 IST

"Moving to Court", wrong move - its going to take for ever to get any answers. Snail phase Indian Justice system. Good Luck Italy. All Italy has to do is to talk to the fishermen family directly, Apologize to them ( it was an accidental shooting),compensate them for their losses ( ofcourse, no money can buy the loved ones) - Italy has to by-pass these corrupted Indian Politicians.

from:  ramesh
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 21:02 IST

Thanks Mr.Kumar, for your most perinent comment drawing attention to the most unacceptable sluggishness of our External Affairs Ministry, in taking strong action to get the release of two very young children of the Bhattachaya couple from Kolkotta in Norway, whose two and a half year old son and five month old infant daughter, were abducted by the Child Welfare Society of Norway, on the basis of a law of a super state to sever childrn from their parents based on whimsical theories!
I quote from my fax to our P.M.on this issue with copies to Ministers Messrs Mukherjee and Trivedi:
"If the parents have committed any violtion of law, the Norwegian Government can deal with them as they want,including prohibiting them from meeting the children "...BUT THE NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT HAS ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY OVER THEM (THE CHILDREN) EXCEPT TO KEEP THEM UNTIL YOU AS THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA,ARRANGE THROUGH THE INDIAN EMBASSY IN NORWAY,TO BRING THEM BACK TO INDIA." WAKE UP INDIAN GOVT!

from:  Bishop Mar George Theckedath
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 20:18 IST

See the Italian's concern about their people..Our PM and Mr. Krishna
should learn from them how to protect the Indians(case of children in
Whenever this attitude changes,then only we can call India as a modern
democratic country..No doubt until then we would be called as a Thrid
world country.

from:  Pichi
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 19:34 IST

Only after a proper investigation of the case it would be clear whether
the trial will go on as per Indian jurisdiction or not. Lets hope that
in the end justice is done.
One should also think why such an incidence took place at the first
place. what were the reasons that the Italian marines thought the
fishermen were Tamil pirates. Does the fishing boats and ships lack
proper identification from a distance. Why not take some measures
avoiding such incidences in future.

from:  DJ
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 19:19 IST

There are uncovered topics in this story, in order to let people make his own idea we need to see additional information. For instance didn't heard about the outcome of the autopsy, and what are the bullets size and type ? India should make these items and the full story transparent and public.

from:  Ned
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 19:14 IST

A lot has to be seen now on how Govt. of India is tackling this issue. On one hand we've the lives of two Indian citizen and on the other we've the international relation at stake. I seriously hope this doesn't end up Italian govt. paying some compensation to the bereaving family and get freedom.

from:  PM
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 18:54 IST

@ Kumar,

the difference between, the Italian's killing Kerela fishermen,
and Srilankans killing tamilian fishermen, is that the Italians
killed within Indian waters, while the Tamilian fishermen are more
often than not crossing over into Srilankan waters, prior to being
shot by the Srilankan navy.

from:  Mike
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 18:23 IST

The Action Taken by Kerala State Givernment is quite logical,legal and
sustainable . Shall be appreciated by one and all. But Why Tamilnadu
Government had not taken these actions, when scores of Fishermen kileed
by SriLankan Navy in the past. Those who are responsible for taking such
actions must concede that whether this Section is not applicable to
slain Indian (Tamil) Fishermen or Whether our Fisherman gone inside

from:  R Swaminathan
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 17:50 IST

Yes all Indians should welcome that move. They should move the Kerala High Court, they should argue, they should fight for their citizen's cause, which India didn't stop them from the very beginning. The lone dispute was about the venue of their trial .We should respect the words of Italian Minister Mr. Mistura
“We do acknowledge that two Indian citizens died. No one doubts it and we are terribly sad. The second one is that the incident took place in international waters and at the same time the investigations will assert the exact position.”
As usual in India justice will prevail above all. Needless to add that law will take its own course.Let the Kerala government extend all possible assistance to the visiting dignatories from Itally,yes treating them as our visiting guests.

from:  Bose A Panicker
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 17:34 IST

When much media attention is given for this Italian Marines attack on Kerela fishermen, why national media does not even bother to cover the Srilankan Navy attack on Tamil Fishermen. Forget about the Media, why even the government remains dumb on Tamil fishermen issue?

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 17:05 IST

The latitude/longitude of the incident are irrelevant. Two indian fishermen were killed and the suspects are in Indian custody. Police and courts are seized of the matter and as such there is no law in India by which they suspects should not be tried under such circumstances. Why should they have immunity ? There is a case in Singapore where a Romanian diplomat ran over pedestrians, and he gets no immunity.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 16:43 IST

It's a shame on us to see how Italian government goes out of way to send their top ministers
to India to keep the problem at political level while Krishna has not done the same to Indian
mother who was forcefully separated her children in Norway and will remain for 25 years. It's
time we learn some hard lessons

from:  Chaks
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 16:03 IST

It is time to respect the law of the land and the sea to further extent,
laws of world body. Laws of internationl boundries and its principles. Any
government who breaks the law needs to be punished. I think the innocent
killing of the fishermen deserves a explaination.

from:  Satendra Kumar
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 15:23 IST
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