Marines’ trial in Italy, compensation for Indian fishermen’s families

Marines’ trial in Italy, compensation for Indian fishermen’s families

Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre. File Photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague has handed a mixed verdict on the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines off the coast of Kerala over eight years ago.

Delivering the judgment, it agreed with the Indian contention that the marines had broken the freedom of navigation aspect of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and, therefore, the kin of the killed fishermen were entitled to compensation.

Italy had offered Rs 1 crore compensation in 2012 to the family of each of the killed fishermen. India and Italy will now have to mutually agree on the blood-money and can approach the PCA in case of disagreement.

It also agreed with the Italian argument that the two marines should be tried in Italy and asked the Indian authorities to close the criminal case against them. Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Italy to secure the passage of marines from India.

The incident occurred in 2012 while Italian marines were on duty on the merchant ship as part of an anti-piracy posse due to rampant hijacking of ships by Somalian pirates. They had fired on a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, fearing that pirates were trying to attack the merchant vessel.

It remained unexplained why Italian military personnel did not know they were hundreds of kms away from piracy-prone areas.