Kerala fishermen case: SC extends marine Latorre’s stay in Italy

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 26, 2016 20:57 IST
In this file photograph, Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone (L) arriving at Ciampino airport near Rome. (AFP)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre’s stay in Italy till September 30. Latorre, along with his colleague Salvatore Girone, is accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.

The court was informed by the Centre that international arbitration proceedings in the matter would be completed by December 2018.

A bench comprising justices A R Dave, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy asked the Italian authority in New Delhi to give an undertaking to abide by the conditions under which Latorre was allowed to leave India.

It said a fresh undertaking has to be furnished before April 30 when the earlier extension of his stay comes to an end.

Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar apprised the bench about the schedule of proceedings fixed before International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Germany.

“End of 2018 is when the award will come,” the SG told the bench, saying that India had not agreed for the conclusion of proceedings in 2019.

The apex court had on January 13 asked the Centre to apprise it of the status of international arbitration proceedings in the case.

The court had earlier stayed all criminal proceedings, including the trial of the two marines.

While allowing the joint request of India and Italy, the apex court had said the proceedings would remain stalled till the jurisdictional issue about which country has the right to conduct trial was decided through international arbitration.

The SG said that all the proceedings will remain stayed in India till the matter is pending in the tribunal. He also said the Government of India is clear that nothing can proceed till the tribunal passes the award.

Senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the marine, wanted the extension of Latorre’s stay in Italy till the year end but the court did not agree with him.

Sorabjee was of the view that since there was no trial, there was no point in compelling him to come back.

The marines, who were on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie’, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.

The counsel, appearing for victim fishermen, raised an objection that identical relief of allowing the other accused marine Salvatore Girone to leave India, should not be given.

The SG said that it has been told to the tribunal that India has the freedom to go ahead with the trial.

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