Italian Defence Minister Federica Mogherini Thursday said Italy will send its ambassador back to India to help steer the case of its two marines — accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 — towards international arbitration as bilateral efforts have failed.
Mogherini told the Senate that Italy has sent a note to India as it opens an “international procedure” stating that unless the Indians cooperate, it would inevitably lead to arbitration by an international body such as the UN.
Rome has decided to send its ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini, back to New Delhi to mark the “fresh stage” in its efforts to have marines Massimiliano Latoree and Salvatore Girone returned, she added.
Mancini, who was recalled in February, will replace Italy’s Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, on the marines issue. He will oversee the “new phase” of internationalising the case, Mogherini reportedly saying.
“We are off the bilateral level, to raise the dispute to an international level: we are still willing to talk to the Indians”, she said adding, “We have no other option than resorting to international arbitration.”
Rome does not consider the court proceedings in India “valid”. “We do not accept an Indian trial whose validity we do not recognise,” she said.
The two marines are awaiting trial over the killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in February 2012, that sparked diplomatic tensions between India and Italy.
Rome wants the marines to be tried in Italy, claiming the incident took place in international waters. However, New Delhi says it has the right to try the Italians as the victims were Indians on board an Indian fishing boat.