India is hoping that some of the heartburn being felt by Italy and its European Union allies over the detention of two Italian marines on murder charges will dissipate after the Attorney General conveys the Union government’s final view on the issue to the Supreme Court next week.
The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, are facing trial for allegedly shooting down two fishermen off the Kerala coast.
Calling it a sui generis (unique in its characteristics) case, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin admitted that India and Italy were not in agreement on practically every aspect of the case — on the jurisdiction of Indian courts to try the marines, on whether the State or the Centre should be involved, and on the law the under which the marines should be tried.
“There are differences in approach. We understand that the process is not something Italy is happy with. We explained the situation, but laws of the land will prevail,” he acknowledged while hoping that the next hearing of the case scheduled for February 18 would bring some clarity to the Indian stand.
Italy is upset that India has invoked anti-terrorism and international piracy laws against the marines and has approached the Supreme Court.
The government has dropped the death penalty clause, thus meeting at least one demand of the European Union. The marines were part of a military security detail on a cargo ship to counter piracy.