SC closes proceedings against Italian marines
The Supreme Court on 15 June 2021 closed all criminal proceedings against two Italian marines, who were accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, after payment of 10 crore compensation by Italy. A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah noted that as per the international tribunal order, India has agreed to the compensation of 10 crores and Italy has already deposited the amount.
- This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution, the bench said.
- The bench also said Italy must start criminal proceedings against the two marines under its jurisdiction immediately as per the international tribunal's order.
- The case details along with evidence will be provided by the Centre and the Kerala government.
- In February 2012, India had accused two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, on board the MV Enrica Lexie -- an Italian flagged oil tanker -- of killing two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- The international tribunal’s finding that the marines have immunity came seven years after the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to “proceed with the investigation and trial of the marines” in a decision on 18 January 2013.
- The Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to set up a Special Court to try the case. Prior to the Supreme Court verdict, the Kerala High Court too had found that the marines enjoyed no immunity.
- However, in 2014, the marines had successfully gained a stay order on the investigation by the National Investigation Agency.
- A year later, the Supreme Court froze its own proceedings when the case reached the International Tribunal on Law of Seas. In September 2015, the Supreme Court deferred the case till further orders.