Two foreign lawyers expert in international arbitration have been hired by India to challenge Italy's move to take the issue of two of its marines to an international tribunal in Hamburg, Germany, next week. The marines have been accused of killing fishermen off Kerala coast three years ago.
Alain Pellet and R Bundy were hired by India to represent its case before the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS) which will hear the case on August 10-11. Pellet is a French expert in international law and former president of the UN International Law Commission while Bundy has 30 years of experience as counsel and advocate in many public international law litigations.
An Indian team comprising of Additional Solicitor General PL Narasimha, officials from ministries of External Affairs and Home, would also be in Germany to assist the two hired lawyers.
"India will challenge Italy's decision to take the matter to the international tribunal. The crime had taken place in Indian waters so the international tribunal has nothing to do with it," a Home Ministry official said.
ITLOS is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.
The tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognised competence in the field of the law of the sea.
Earlier, during hearing in the Supreme Court on July 13, Italy had made a plea before the court saying it has invoked international arbitration challenging India's jurisdiction to try two of its marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala three years ago.
Narasimha had told the apex court bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, that India, being a signatory to the International Convention, would participate in these arbitration proceedings.
The ASG said that India had jurisdiction to try the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, as the alleged offence had taken place in the Indian waters.
The marines, who were on board ship 'Enrica Lexie', are accused of killing two Indian fishermen on February 15, 2012.