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“Let Italy Pay Compensation,” Supreme Court On Closing Marines Case

Requesting the top court to let it withdraw the cases following the decision of a UN tribunal, the centre said Italy had assured it would criminally prosecute the marines.

New Delhi| Supreme Court, in the case against two Italian marines who shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, said the case will be closed only when Italy compensates the families of the victims. “Let Italy pay them compensation. Only then will we allow the withdrawal of prosecution,” CJI SA Bobde said.

Requesting the top court to let it withdraw the cases following the decision of a UN tribunal, the centre said Italy had assured it would criminally prosecute the marines.

The court insisted that the fishermen’s families must be compensated first. “Bring the cheques and the relatives of victims here,” CJI said. The top court has also asked the centre to file an application making the families party to the case within a week.

Italian marines enjoy immunity, so they cannot be tried by Indian Courts, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) recently ruled. But the UN tribunal said India is entitled to compensation “in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of the fishing boat that came under fire, St. Antony”.

The SC also said that it would first need to hear the victims’ families before allowing the cases to be withdrawn.

Italy, in a letter, said both the marines would be criminally prosecuted and the maximum compensation will be paid to the families, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court.

The Italian marines are accused of killing two India fishermen, who were unarmed, off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. The marines had appealed in the SC against Kerala high court’s order to prosecute the accused in Kerala.

India and the marines were directed by Supreme Court in March 2017 to place on record the proceedings of the Arbitral Tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

 

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