India wins Italian Marines case at tribunal

India on Thursday won its case against the two Italian marines who were accused of shooting down two Indian fishermen in Kerala in 2012. The case was heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said India has won the Italian marines case at the international tribunal.

As per the Tribunal’s ruling, the two Italian marines were held violating international law and as a result, Italy breached India’s freedom of navigation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Tribunal said India is entitled to receive compensation from Italy for the for loss of life suffered by it.

The Italian Marines cases was being heard at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. The final hearing in the case was heard last year in July.

The Arbitral Tribunal was constituted under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on June 26, 2015. This was based on Italy’s request in respect of the dispute concerning the shooting incident of February 15, 2012, involving Italian tanker ‘Enrica Lexie’ and Indian fishing vessel ‘St. Antony’ has transmitted its award.

This case involves two Italian marines–Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre–who were accused of shooting two Indian fishermen off India’s southern Kerala coast in 2012.

The major bone of contention between India and Italy was on the question of jurisdiction. While India argued that it had jurisdiction over the case as the fishermen killed were Indian, and hence the case must be tried as per Indian laws.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Italy had argued that the shooting took place outside Indian territorial waters (a claim challenged by India) and its marines were on-board a ship with Italian flag. Hence, Italy argued, it enjoys the jurisdiction.

The Tribunal has upheld that the actions of the Italian military officers and, consequently, Italy breached India’s freedom of navigation under UNCLOS Article 87(1)(a) and 90.

In regards to the question of jurisdiction, the Tribunal observed that India and Italy had “concurrent jurisdiction” over the incident and a valid legal basis to institute criminal proceedings against the Marines.

The Tribunal rejected Italy’s claim to compensation for the detention of the Marines.

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