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Italy will prosecute marines who gunned down two Indian fishermen: SC

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Italian government will prosecute the two Italian Marines, who killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012, saying it will pass the formal order on Tuesday next week.

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“We accept what you are proposing. We will pass our order on Tuesday,” said the bench of justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah, after being informed that the compensation of ₹10 crore for the victims has been deposited in the registry of the top court.

The apex court further said that it will pass an order regarding disbursal of the Rs 10 crore compensation paid by the Italian government to the family of the fishermen on June 15.

The compensation is a mutually agreed amount between India and Italy in terms of the award by an international tribunal. The Supreme Court had earlier said that Rs 4 crore each out of the compensation will go to the next of kin of the two fishermen while Rs 2 crore will be given to the owner of the fishing vessel in which they were travelling.

On February 15, 2012, two Indian fishermen returning from a fishing expedition near Lakshadweep islands onboard fishing vessel St Antony were gunned down by two Italian marines on board oil tanker Enrica Lexie. The incident occurred around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Kerala. Shortly after the incident, the Indian Coast Guard intercepted Enrica Lexie and detained the two Italian marines— Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre.

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It is to be mentioned that in May 2020, the international tribunal ruled that the marines enjoyed immunity since they were exercising official functions in their capacity as Italian state officials when the incident occurred. It, therefore, ordered India to stop criminal proceedings against them.

At the same time, the tribunal also held that Italy had violated India’s right to navigation by firing at the fishing boat and said that the country would have to compensate India for loss of life and damage to property.

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