Supreme Court Suspends Trial of Italian Marines Accused of Killing Kerala Fishermen

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Supreme Court Suspends Trial of Italian Marines Accused of Killing Kerala Fishermen

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, the Italian marines accused of killing unarmed Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today stayed all proceedings against the two Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen from Kerala in 2012 and set January 13, 2016 as the date for the next hearing in the case.

The order came after a UN tribunal had asked India to suspend the trial of the two Italian marines on Monday and asked both countries to report to it on the case on September 24.

The international tribunal had ruled that till an Annex Tribunal - to decide whether India or Italy will hold the trail of marines - is constituted, all proceedings will have to be stayed, the Centre told the Supreme Court today.

It may take the international tribunal four months to decide the jurisdiction, the Centre said in response to a query from the judges.

Responding to Italy's appeal, the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea had asserted its jurisdiction in the case and said there would be no more legal proceedings "that could aggravate the case".

It also did not respond to Italy's request that its marines should be freed from all restrictions.

The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were on board the oil tanker Enrica Lexie when they shot dead two unarmed Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. Italy maintains that the shooting took place in international waters and that the fishermen were mistaken for pirates. It also claims that the marines have sovereign immunity as part of the Italian navy.

Sergeant Girone is out on bail in India and sergeant Latorre was last month given permission by the Supreme Court to stay in Italy for another six months for medical treatment.

His lawyer wanted the court to stay the proceedings indefinitely but the court said it will hear the case again on January 13.

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