The Supreme Court suspended all judicial proceedings against the two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 after the Indian and the Italian governments jointly informed it on Wednesday that an international tribunal had asked for status quo till it cleared the air on which country had the jurisdiction to try the duo.
A three-judge Bench, led by Justice Anil R. Dave, posted the case for January 13.
Constrained to take tribunal route, says Italy
Additional Solicitor-General P.S. Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, and Soli J. Sorabjee, representing the Italian government, submitted before the Supreme Court that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) had on August 24 >directed for a stay on the proceedings.
The Supreme Court acknowledged the governments’ submissions that the international tribunal would go into the question of India’s jurisdiction to try Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre.
“There is an interim order by ITLOS at Hamburg in Germany pending adjudication on the issue if India or Italy had jurisdiction ... the sum and substance of it is that we should not proceed,” Mr. Narasimha informed the court.
Mr. Narasimha told the Bench that an UNCLOS Annex VII Tribunal would be soon set up to decide on the question of jurisdiction.
In an application filed in the Supreme Court shortly after it had moved for international arbitration, Italy had expressed bitter criticism of how the marines had battled long detention, protracted trial and failing health as the Indian government “flip-flopped” and delayed.
The application had said the Italian Republic was “constrained” to take the international arbitration route.