India should allow accused Italian marine home, says UN court
ROME – Agence France-Presse
In this Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 file photo, Italian marines Salvatore Girone, left, and Massimiliano Latorre, arrive at the Ciampino Rome airport from Kochi, India - AP photoAn international tribunal has ruled that an Italian marine accused of killing two fishermen in India should be allowed to return home while awaiting trial, Italy’s foreign ministry said May 2.
Salvatore Girone and fellow marine Massimiliano Latorre are accused of shooting the fishermen while protecting an Italian oil tanker as part of an anti-piracy mission off India’s southern Kerala coast in 2012.
While Latorre was allowed to travel back to Italy in 2014 for treatment after suffering a stroke, Girone has been barred from leaving India pending the resolution of a dispute between New Delhi and Rome over which country has jurisdiction in the case.
He is currently living in Italy’s embassy in New Delhi.
Italy has referred the row to the U.N.’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, asking it to rule on where the men should be tried.
In an interim ruling cited by Italy’s foreign ministry that is to be officially announced on May 3, the tribunal ordered that Girone be allowed to return home until the dispute had been resolved through arbitration.
“The decisions regarding his return will be arranged by Italy and India,” the foreign ministry said in a note, adding that it expected “a constructive attitude from India.”
The detention of the marines, the murder charges and the long wait for the case to be resolved are sore subjects in Italy, with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi regularly flayed by opposition leaders for failing to get both men home.
“Happy for Salvatore Girone’s return, I confirm our friendship with and desire to collaborate with India,” Renzi wrote on Twitter.
Italy insists the oil tanker, the MV Enrica Lexie, was in international waters at the time of the incident.
India argues that the case is not a maritime dispute but “a double murder at sea,” in which one fisherman was shot in the head and the other in the stomach.