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Centre moves SC for closure of case against Italian marines' after Int'l tribunal decision

New Delhi: The Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking closure of judicial proceedings here against two Italian marines' accused of killing two Indian fishermen, off the Kerala coast, saying that it has accepted the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the Hague which held that India is entitled to get compensation in the case but can't prosecute the marines due to official immunity enjoyed by them.

In February 2012, India had accused two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, on board the MV Enrica Lexie -- an Italian flagged oil tanker -- of killing two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel off Kerala coast in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In its application filed on Thursday in the pending case, the Centre told the top court, The applicant states and submits that the Republic of India has taken a decision to accept and abide by the Award passed by the said Tribunal which would have the bearing on the continuance of present proceedings before this Court .

The Centre said that the arbitration under United Nation Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), which was instituted on a request from the Republic of Italy has delivered its Award on May 21, 2020.

It said that the Tribunal upheld the conduct of Indian authorities with respect to the incident and highlighted the material and moral harm suffered by the Indian fishermen on board the St. Antony on February 15, 2012.

It held that the actions of the Italian Marines breached India's freedom and right of navigation under UNCLOS Article 87(1)(a) and 90, the application said, adding, as argued by India, the Tribunal observed that, in principle, India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident and a valid legal basis to institute criminal proceedings against the Marines.

The Centre said However, it found that the immunities enjoyed by the Marines operate as an exce saidon to the jurisdiction of the Indian courts and, hence, preclude India from exercising its jurisdiction over the Marines. The Tribunal also rejected Italy's claim to compensation for the detention of the Marines .

It said that the Tribunal took note of the commitment expressed by Italy to resume its criminal investigation into the events of February 15, 2012 and decided that India must take necessary steps to cease to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over the marines.

The Tribunal decided that India is entitled to payment of 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 St. Antony". The Tribunal also held that the Parties are invited to consult with each other with a view to reaching agreement on the amount of compensation due to India, the Centre said in its

application.

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