Italy’s plea for marines misleading: India

India has told the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that Italy’s plea in the Italian marines case was "misleading".

August 11, 2015 12:15 am | Updated November 17, 2021 03:15 am IST - New Delhi

India has told the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that Italy’s plea in the Italian marines case was “misleading” and “distorted reality.” India told the Tribunal that it was Italy which had delayed any legal finalisation of the case, which dates back to 2012 and “it cannot blow hot and cold at the same time.”

In a written submission, India told the Tribunal that Italy’s call for “compassion” for the two Italian marines who shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 was “misplaced” and also accused Italy of filing numerous applications which were “abusive and mutually inconsistent” to delay the case.

It said that Italy’s request that India shall refrain from taking or enforcing any judicial or administrative measures against Sergeants Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone was based on “a selective, self-serving and patently inaccurate account of the judicial and administrative actions that India has taken with regard to the killing of two unarmed fishermen operating within India’s exclusive economic zone.”

As reported first by The Hindu , the Italian government >went for arbitration in the Italian marines case and approached the ITLOS at Hamburg, Germany, in July this year. The ITLOS is one of the forums available for international disputes. India has hired two international arbitration experts, Alain Pellet and R Bundy to represent its case.

Italy also requested the Tribunal that “it should take all measures necessary to ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines be immediately lifted.”

The incident was reported on February 12, 2012 when the duo allegedly opened fire on an Indian boat-St. Antony killing two Indian fishermen from Kerala on board. The Marines were then arrested by the Kerala Police and the case was later on transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). One of the Marines- Mr Latorre is presently in Italy on health grounds. The case has become a point of diplomatic tussle between India and Italy. After the NDA government came to power, Italy requested India to resolve the issue.

On Italy’s plea to elicit compassion for Mr. Latorre on grounds of deteriorating health, India said “a confidential report of doctors described that his state of health was evolving and may improve during the coming months.” Mr. Latorre is presently in Italy after he made a submission before the Supreme Court that he as unwell.

Challenging Italy's contention that Mr. Girone has been kept as a “hostage”, India said, “he is under bail conditions, which are moderate for a person accused of murder. And for good reasons, Mr Girone’s life in Delhi does not call for lamentations, he lives in the comfort of the Residence of the Italian Ambassador in Delhi and seems to enjoy quite a comfortable life.”

Challenging Italy's contention that Sergeant Girone has been kept in India as a “hostage”, India said such description is highly inappropriate and offensive and belies the fact that both marines were twice allowed to travel to Italy at the same time.

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