In a significant development in the Italian Marines case, the Supreme Court has allowed Massimiliano Latorre to stay on in Italy till a final decision is taken by International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg on India’s jurisdiction to try him and his compatriot Salvatore Girone for the murder of two Kerala fishermen in 2012.
What came to the aid of Latorre was the fact that the Centre too did not raise any objection to the marine’s plea to remain in Italy.
“Your lordship may take a call on it. We are not taking any stand .Even the tribunal had acknowledged the Indian Supreme Court’s continuing jurisdiction in sofar as relaxing the applicant’s (Latorre) bail conditions were concerned”, Additional Solicitor-General P.S. Narasimha told a bench of Justices Anil R Dave, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy
Latorre had been allowed to go back to Italy in 2014 after he suffered a stroke. The Bench directed the Union to file progress reports every three months in the Supreme Court, detailing the stage of proceedings at the tribunal.
Like Girone, Latorre too has to report on the first Wednesday of every month to the local police station in Italy.
Exactly a year ago, On August 28, the SC had suspended all proceedings in the case and adjourned the hearing to today after centre and Italy informed the bench that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg had directed that “as part of provisional measures”, both Italy and India shall suspend all court proceedings relating to the matter. The tribunal is deciding on which country-Italy or India - can try the Marines.
The bench had allowed the joint request of India and Italy that the proceedings here be stayed. It is to be noted that ITLOS had directed India and Italy to refrain from initiating new court proceedings “which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Annex VII arbitral tribunal or might jeopardise or prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render.”
The Italian marines operating as part of an anti-piracy Vessel Protection Detachment on-board Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie, are accused of opening fire on a fishing boat ‘St. Antony’ killing two Indian fishermen on board under the misconception that they were pirates.