June 15, 2021 12:29:25 pm
The Supreme Court Monday directed the closure of criminal proceedings in India against two Italian marines, accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah quashed the FIR and proceedings emanating from the case against the two Italian marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone. The bench said that as per the international arbitral award accepted by India, the Republic of Italy shall resume further investigation in the case. The top court termed the Rs 10 crore compensation paid by the Republic of Italy over and above the payment already made as “reasonable and adequate”.
Here’s a timeline of what happened over the last nine years:
February 15, 2012: Two fishermen – Jelestine and Ajeesh Pinku – who had gone deep sea fishing from the Neendakara Fishing Harbour, were shot dead in the seas off the Ambalapuzha coast in Kerala. The incident reportedly took place in international waters. The ship from which the fishermen were fired upon was identified as the Enrica Lexie, officials of which claimed they thought the fishermen were pirates.
February 17, 2012: The Italian oil tanker is brought to Kochi after the Indian Navy alleged the Italian crew flouted counter-piracy measures, which consequently resulted in the ship’s armed guards, Italian military personnel, gunning down two Indian fishermen.
February 19, 2012: Kerala Police arrest the two Italian marines — Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone — who allegedly shot at the fishermen.
February 22, 2012: The Italian government moves Kerala High Court to quash the FIR against the two marines stating that under the principles of international law and conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Indian courts have no jurisdiction to register a crime in connection with the incident.
April 20, 2012: The legal heirs of the two deceased fishermen tell the Kerala High Court that a settlement for paying a compensation of Rs 1 crore to each bereaved family has been reached between the Italian government representatives and them.
April 30, 2012: The Supreme Court, however, calls the settlement “illegal and astonishing” and says that Italy was “playing” with Indian law.
May 18, 2021: A chargesheet is filed by the Neendakara Coastal Police showing Lattore as the first accused and Girone as the second accused.
May 20, 2012: Italy recalls its Ambassador to India to express unhappiness over the chargesheet being filed against the marines.
June 2, 2012: After 105 days in custody, the two Italian marines are finally released on bail to attend Christmas celebrations back home. They return after the celebrations are over.
February 22, 2013: The Supreme Court permits the marines to visit their country to vote in the February 24 and 25 elections.
March 11, 2013: Italy says marines won’t return to India. Following this, the Supreme Court restrains the-then Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country without its permission.
August 24, 2015: The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea puts a status quo on the case and asks both, India and Italy, to suspend all court proceedings and refrain from initiating new ones that might aggravate or extend the dispute that triggered a diplomatic row.
August 26, 2015: Supreme Court suspends proceedings against marines.
July 3, 2020: The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague rules that the two marines will not be tried in India, and face criminal proceedings in Italy. It further said New Delhi was entitled to compensation and asked India and Italy to consult on the amount of compensation due.
April 9, 2021: The Supreme Court of India asks the Centre to deposit in its account the Rs 10 crore compensation given by the Italian government for the kin of the fishermen killed by Italian marines off the coast of Kerala in 2012. While the family members of the two deceased fishermen will be given Rs 4 crore each, the injured owner of the boat will be paid Rs 2 crore in damages, the Centre said.
June 15, 2021: The Supreme Court orders the closure of proceedings in India against two Italian marines, accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
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