India rejects Italy’s 4.4-crore offer to free marines

A file photo of Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore, right, and Salvatore Girone, who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen.  

India has rejected Italy’s offer to pay 600,000 euros, roughly Rs. 4.4 crore, to secure protection from any legal action against the two Italian marines, saying “murders are not compensable offences”. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. India said it would help expedite the trial at a Special Court within “four months.”

India informed the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that “no bilateral agreement exists between India and Italy for granting diplomatic immunity to armed forces personnel of Italy.” India had, in fact, even prior to the Enrica Lexie [the merchant vessel on which the two Marines were on board] incident, refused transit for their Vessel Protection Detachments through India, “since the same is not permitted under Indian law.”

The ITLOS is expected to deliver its judgment on August 24 after the two sides finish their arguments.

“I have been instructed to state that India is prepared to guarantee that the decision of the Special Court could be handed down within four months from the date on which the hearings open, if Italy were to cooperate and withdraw its objections to the procedure before the Indian Supreme Court,” Indian representative Alain Pellet told the tribunal.

India also rebutted Italy’s claim before the tribunal that New Delhi shut the door for a diplomatic solution.

Earlier, Italy told the tribunal that there was no scope for the Indian government to engage in further discussions about a “political settlement” after Exter-nal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in May that Italy should join in the judicial process as the matter was sub judice.

“Some days after this statement, Italy was informed of the private channel of engagement between the senior Prime Ministerial advisers that the statement by Minister Swaraj reflected the position of the government,” Italy told the tribunal.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 7:26:37 PM |

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