Italian Marine May Not Be Returned To India; Here’s A Timeline Of The Italian Marines Case

Sudhanva Shetty

January 12th, 2016

Image Courtesy : ibtimes

One of two Italian marines accused of murdering Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala almost four years ago will not be returning to India to face trial after being allowed home temporarily for medical treatment, a senator said on Tuesday as reported by ndtv.

India had granted Massimiliano Latorre, who suffered a stroke while in New Delhi in 2014, a period of leave in Italy for medical treatment, but he was supposed to return by Friday.

Here is the timeline of the event that took place:

15 February, 2012: 2 fishermen travelling aboard the St. Anthony are shot dead. The shots were fired by 2 Italian marines on a commercial oil tanker named the Enrica Lexie. The incident happened off the coast of Kerala.

17 February, 2012: After intercepting the Lexie near Lakshadweep, the Indian Navy brings the ship to Kochi. The Coast Guard questions the Lexie’s crew.

18 February, 2012: Telephonic talks between the external affairs ministers of India and Italy fail; India wants the marines to be investigated in India, while Italy wants them to be investigated in Italy.

19 February, 2012: Kerala Police arrest Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – the 2 marines suspected to have fired the shots. They claim they thought the fishermen were pirates.

20 February, 2012: Italy voices strong opposition; it says that the Lexie was flying an Italian flag, travelling from Singapore to Egypt. It claims that the incident happened in international waters, and thus the marines have immunity from Indian law and must be tried by Italian courts.

25 February, 2012: A Special Investigation Team of the Kerala Police combs the Lexie and ceases weapons on board in the presence of an Italian delegation. Italy launches its own, parallel investigation on the case.

28 February, 2012: The foreign ministers of both countries hold talks to quell growing tensions between India and Italy. But talks fail again as neither side can reach a conclusion over where the marines should be tried and investigated.

7 March, 2012: Italian prime minister calls Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express “regret” over the incident.

27 April, 2012: The kin of the 2 deceased fishermen reach an agreement with the owner of the Lexie and settle for ₹17 lakh.

30 April, 2012: The Supreme Court of India (SC) admonishes the compromise as “illegal and astonishing”, accuses the parties of “playing with Indian law”.

2 May, 2012: The SC allows the Lexie to leave India and continue its voyage with the remaining crew after furnishing a bond of ₹3 crore. 3 days later, the ship leaves Indian waters.

2 June, 2012: The Italian marines are released on bail, provided they stay within a 10 km radius of the Kochi Police Commissioner’s office and report to him on all days between 10 AM – 11 AM.

21 December, 2012: The Kerala High Court grants permission to the marines to temporarily return to Italy to celebrate Christmas. The marines return to India on 4 January.

18 January, 2013: The SC rules that the Kerala High Court has no jurisdiction over the Italian marines case; the SC takes over the case.

22 February, 2013: The SC allows the marines to return to Italy to vote in the national elections on 24 and 25 February.

11 March, 2013: The Italian government refuses to return the marines to India, claiming that India had not responded to its requests for a diplomatic solution to the case.

14 March, 2013: Tensions escalate. India restrains Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country. Mancini protests that he is guaranteed immunity by the Vienna Convention.

21 March, 2013: The Italian government gives in to India’s demands, returns the marines to India.

8 February, 2014: India declares that the marines will be charged under anti-piracy laws but wouldn’t face capital punishment. NATO officials complain that the case “could have possible negative implications for the international fight against piracy”. The foreign policy chief of the European Union stated that the case could harm EU-India relations.

20 March, 2015: Italy again raises the issue of the marines with the UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon. The UN replies saying that its stance on the issue remains unchanged, commenting that “It’s better for the question to be addressed bilaterally, rather than with the involvement of the UN.”

26 July, 2015: Italy moves the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), a forum to solve international disputes. Italy wants to “ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines are immediately lifted”. India complains that Italy’s plea was “misleading”.

24 August, 2015: The ITLOS asks the India and Italy to suspend all Court proceeding against the marines or initiating new ones. The UN-constituted body asks both countries to submit a formal report on the case by 24 September, 2015.

10 November, 2015: A five-member Arbitral Tribunal is constituted for arbitration between the two countries. The tribunal is constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

26 November, 2015: Senior diplomat Anil Wadhwa is appointed India’s new envoy to Italy. Efforts are currently underway to reach a diplomatic solution to the disagreement and ease tensions between India and Italy.

12 January, 2016: Salvatore Girone, is being held in the Italian embassy in New Delhi. India had granted Massimiliano Latorre a period of leave in Italy for medical treatment as he suffered a stroke while in New Delhi in 2014 but he was supposed to return by Friday. It was not clear when or if Latorre would return to India. But “Massimiliano Latorre will not return to India, and furthermore, the possibility of asking for Salvatore Girone’s return is being explored,” said Nicola Latorre, president of the Senate Defence Committee, according to Italian media.

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