Rome - India's right to try two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen was suspended by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, will not however be freed by the tribunal's decision, which was agreed by a majority of 15 to 6.
The case of the two, who are accused of killing the fishermen in Kerala, will be referred to an arbitration court. "Italy and India shall both suspend all court proceedings and shall refrain from initiating new ones which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the arbitral tribunal or might jeopardise or prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render," said tribunal President Vladimir Glolitsyn, at the end of the trial initiated before the Hamburg-based court on Aug. 10. Rome was disappointed by the court's decision not to bring in provisional measures for the marines because the jurisdiction over the case was said to belong to an arbitration tribunal.
The decision stated: "Italy and India shall each submit to the tribunal the initial report not later than September 24 ,2015, and authorises the president, after that date, to request such information from the parties as he may consider appropriate." Italy had asked for the repatriation of Salvatore Girone, who is in custody, and permission for Massimiliano Latorre to stay at home in Italy where he is recovering from a heart problem.
Italy had requested that India suspend all jurisdiction. This makes the decision a half victory for Italy. Francesco Azzarello, Italy's representative in Hamburg, said: "The tribunal recognised the arbitration tribunal's full and legitimate jurisdiction over the case of the shooting on the Enrica Lexie merchant ship. We are therefore disappointed that the tribunal did not make any provision on the situation of Latorre and Girone, resolving that the case must be decided by the arbitration court now being empanelled. On these grounds, Italy is evaluating whether to renew its petition relative to the condition of the two riflemen to the arbitration court as soon as it is established. We are certain that India will implement the measures prescribed today without delay." (AGI)