SC to hear Italian marine Latorre’s plea seeking extension to his stay

New Delhi [India], Mar. 6 : The Supreme Court will today hear the plea filed by an Italian marine under investigation for the killing of two fishermen, who was allowed to go home while international arbitration into the case goes on.

Massimiliano Latorre, who was one of the two marines arrested in 2012 on charges of killing the fishermen during an anti-piracy mission on an Italian oil tanker, has sought to extend his stay till July 2017.

The Apex Court had, earlier, ordered that Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen, will continue to stay in Italy until the disposal of their pleas in the arbitration court.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Anil R. Dave and justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Amitava Roy passed the order saying that the Union of India was directed to file a report to it each in three months interval regarding the status of proceedings in the arbitration court.

The apex court passed the order after hearing from all the respondents including the Kerala government, the marines and the representatives of the fishermen.

This development came after the Centre last week told the Supreme Court it has no objection on Italy's fresh plea seeking modification of bail conditions of marine Massimiliano Latorre to enable him remain in that country till an international tribunal decided which country had the right to try his case.

According to the earlier order of the court, the relief granted to Mr. Latorre to stay in Italy expires on September 30, 2016. On September 8, 2016, Latorre had moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of his stay in Italy till the end of his arbitration.

Latorre has expressed his desire to stay in Italy till international arbitration tribunal decides over which country has the right to try the case.

Latorre and Girone, who were on duty as security guards on-board Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie, were arrested by the Indian authorities on February 2012 after they shot dead the fishermen off the coast of Kerala.

Lattore is presently in Italy on medical grounds after he suffered heart stroke in 2014 and Girone, on the other hand, was also allowed to return on 'humanitarian grounds' in May this year.

The case is presently pending in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to adjudicate on whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to extradite the accused marines after Italy approached on December 11, 2015 asking the tribunal to prescribe that "India shall take such measures as are necessary to relax the bail conditions on Sergeant Girone in order to enable him to return to Italy under the responsibility of the Italian authorities, pending the final determination of the Tribunal".

The Tribunal on April 29, 2016, ruled that Italy and India shall cooperate, including in proceedings before the Supreme Court of India, to achieve a relaxation of Girone's bail conditions "to give effect to the concept of considerations of humanity", so that Girone, while remaining under the authority of the Supreme Court of India, may return to Italy during the ongoing arbitration.

However, differences emerged between two countries following the verdict as India claimed that the verdict upholds the Supreme Court's Authority, while Italy believes that it vindicates their stand that India has no jurisdiction.

Source: ANI