UN tribunal orders India to suspend case against Italian marines

 

UN tribunal orders India to suspend case against Italian marines
talian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimilian Latorre.

Hamburg - The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered both sides to suspend "all court proceedings" and refrain from initiating new ones.

By Agencies

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Published: Mon 24 Aug 2015, 3:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Aug 2015, 6:14 PM

A UN-mandated tribunal has ordered India to put on hold legal proceedings against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on Monday ordered both sides to suspend "all court proceedings" and refrain from initiating new ones pending an arbitration decision.
However, the tribunal rejected Italy's request that India provisionally release two marines accused of killing two fishermen, a setback for the Italian government after a three-year legal battle.
Rome objects to holding a trial in India, arguing that the case should be taken to arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and that the incident happened in international waters where national laws do not apply.
The Indian government wants Indian courts to try the case.
The court decided by 15 judges' votes to six that Italy and India should suspend all proceedings which might aggravate or extend the dispute until the arbitration tribunal rules on the issue, tribunal president Judge Vladimir Golitsyn said in the ruling.
Italy and India must submit an initial report to the Arbitration Tribunal on September 24. No date has yet been set for the tribunal to begin hearings.
The marines, part of a military team on anti-pirate duty protecting the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie in 2012, say they mistook Indian fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots. Two fishermen were killed.
Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been in legal limbo since their arrest in February 2012. Girone is in India but Latorre is in Italy after India allowed him to return home temporarily for medical treatment.
The fallout from the arrest of the marines has damaged wider relations between Italy and India, contributing to the collapse of a European Union-India summit planned during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France and Germany this spring.
In April 2012, Rome paid $190,000 to each of the victims' families as compensation. In return, the families dropped their cases against the marines, but the Indian state's case has yet to come to trial.
Italy says the shooting occurred in international waters and that the case should be heard in an Italian court.
India has argued against the suspension of proceedings, saying justice for the fishermen's families is being delayed "by Italy's intransigence."



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