SC allows Italian marine to go home

Salvatore Girone.

Salvatore Girone.

With the Centre endorsing his plea to return to Italy on ‘humanitarian grounds’, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Italian marine Salvatore Girone to go home.

He will have to return if an international tribunal decides that India has jurisdiction to try the marines for the deaths of two Kerala fishermen in 2012. In September 2014, the court had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot and co-accused in the case, Massimiliano Latorre, to leave for Italy after he suffered a stroke.

The decision to let Mr. Girone go was taken after the Supreme Court was informed that the tribunal may give its verdict only by December 2018.

A Vacation Bench of Justice P.C. Pant and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud laid down conditions for releasing Mr. Girone, including that he continue to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and report to the local police station in Italy once every month. Also, the Italian authorities will keep the Indian embassy informed.

Salvatore Girone’s future now hinges on tribunal verdict

The court said it would cancel the relief granted to him, if he was found to be using his liberty to influence witnesses in the case or tamper with the evidence.

Envoy’s responsibility

Besides, the Italian Ambassador will take the responsibility of ensuring his return within a month in case the tribunal rules in favour of trial in India.

The apex court had sought a similar undertaking from the Ambassador, when it had allowed Mr. Girone’s compatriot and co-accused in the case, Massimiliano Latorre to leave for Italy.

Since his departure two years ago, Mr. Latorre has enjoyed periodic extensions from the Supreme Court for his stay there. The last one was till September 30 this year.

In his plea, Mr. Girone had sought the court’s lenience to go back to his country till the tribunal decided the jurisdictional dispute.

He has not been able to leave India, apart from a few brief intervals, since the alleged crime.

The tribunal is adjudicating only on the limited question of whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to try the two marines.

The Supreme Court had suspended all court proceedings in India during August 2015 after Italy moved the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 6:11:51 pm |