SC closes cases against Italian marines accused of killing fishermen off Kerala
Supreme Court on Tuesday closed all the proceedings in India against two Italian marines, who have been accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to close all proceedings in India against the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, after being informed that compensation of ₹10 crore for the families of the victims has been deposited in the registry of the top court. The bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice MR Shah also said on Friday that it was of the view that the compensation money should be transferred to the Kerala high court so that disbursement could be properly monitored.
India accused the two marines on board the MV Enrica Lexie -- an Italian flagged oil tanker -- of killing the two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in February 2012. The owner of the fishing boat 'St Antony', in which two Kerala fishermen were killed when the marines opened fire on them allegedly under the misconception that they were pirates, filed the complaint against the Italians.
The Centre informed the Supreme Court in April this year that the families of two Indian fishermen killed by Italian marines have been “adequately” compensated and sought expeditious closure of proceedings before the top court and a criminal trial pending before a special court in Delhi.
The Centre’s compliance affidavit dated January 5 said the Italian government offered to pay a total of ₹10 crore in damages. The dead fishermen's families have agreed to a compensation of ₹4 crore each in addition to the ₹2 crore already paid by the Italian government. The injured owner of the boat also consented to receiving damages of ₹2 crore.
Latorre, who suffered a brain stroke on August 31, 2014, was first granted bail and allowed by the top court on September 12, 2014, to go back to Italy for four months and after that, extensions have been granted to him. Latorre underwent heart surgery and after which the top court granted him an extension of his stay in Italy. On September 28, 2016, the Supreme Court allowed Latorre to remain in his country till the international arbitral tribunal decided the jurisdictional issue.
Girone was also granted bail on May 26, 2016, subject to conditions and also allowed by the top court to go to his country till the jurisdictional issue was decided.
(With agency inputs)