The government has decided to accept the International Arbitral Tribunal’s ruling in the case pertaining to the 2012 killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, allegedly by Italian marines on board oil tanker Enrica Lexie.
The Centre on Thursday conveyed this to the Supreme Court, where proceedings in connection with the case are pending, and sought their disposal in view of the tribunal’s ruling.
In an affidavit, the government said the tribunal, which held arbitration under the United Nation Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), had given its award on May 21, 2020 and that it “has taken a decision to accept and abide by the Award”.
The tribunal, while stating that India is entitled to compensation for the loss of lives, ruled that the Italian Marines could not be tried in India in view of the immunity enjoyed by them.
The ruling also said that in accordance with provisions of the UNCLOS — of which India is a party — and the Rules of Procedure agreed by the parties, the award is final and without appeal and shall be complied with by parties to the dispute.
Kerala Police had instituted a case against Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were posted on Enrica Lexie, charging them with killing two Indian fishermen on board their fishing vessel St Antony. The marines had apparently mistaken the fishermen for pirates.
The duo filed a petition before Kerala High Court, challenging the state’s jurisdiction to investigate the matter.
On August 24, 2015, the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea, on the request of Italy, ordered that both Italy and India shall suspend all court proceedings pending the arbitration.
Following this, the Supreme Court on August 26, 2015 stayed the proceedings in India.
On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court asked the parties to place on record the Award passed by the Arbitral Tribunal.
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