The UN tribunal said that Italy will have to return its marine Salvatore Girone if India’s jurisdiction is proved in the ‘Enrica Lexie’ incident wherein Girone is charged with murder of two fishermen.
“Italy and India shall cooperate, including in proceedings before the Supreme Court of India, to achieve a relaxation of the bail conditions of Sergeant Girone so as to give effect to the concept of considerations of humanity, so that Sergeant Girone, while remaining under the authority of the Supreme Court of India, may return to Italy during the present arbitration,” the order said.
Girone and fellow Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre on board oil tanker Enrica Lexie allegedly shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast during an anti-piracy mission in February 2012, reportedly mistaking them for pirates. While Latorre is already back home on health grounds, Italy has been seeking the return of Girone also.
But India has refused to let Girone, who is housed in the Italian embassy premises in New Delhi, to leave the country. The two countries have, however, agreed to arbitration by the UN court.
“The Arbitral Tribunal confirms Italy’s obligation to return Sergeant Girone to India in case the Arbitral Tribunal finds that India has jurisdiction over him in respect of the ‘Enrica Lexie’ incident,” the order said.
It further said that the Arbitral Tribunal has decided that Italy and India each shall report to it on “compliance with these provisional measures and authorises the President to seek information from the parties if no such report is submitted within three months from the date of this order and thereafter as he may consider appropriate.”
Yesterday, Italian Foreign Ministry said that the UN tribunal has ruled in favour of Girone by allowing him to leave for Italy while India maintained that the tribunal left it to the Supreme Court to fix the precise conditions of Girone’s bail and noted that while the marine may return to Italy during the present arbitration, he would remain under the authority of India’s apex court.
In a statement in the Lok Sabha today, Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that India has successfully contested against the Italian plea for releasing the marines in the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. The Tribunal had confirmed Italy’s obligations to return them to India, he said.
He further said the government will fight for the rights of the victims of this incident and expressed confidence of obtaining justice.