New Delhi

Jurisdiction of Italian marines in Indian supreme court

Defense maintains the two should be tried in Italy

Jurisdiction of Italian marines in Indian supreme court

(ANSA) - New Delhi, September 4 - India's supreme court Tuesday began to examine whether Italy should be granted jurisdiction over the case against two Italian anti-pirate marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February. India and Italy agreed in mid-August that the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, acted in "contiguous" and not international waters. The Italian government has in the past stated it believes that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission. The defense lawyer Harish Salve said the two were on board the Enrica Lexie vessel as a result of an Italian government decision taken on the basis of a UN resolution governing the protection of ships navigating pirate-infested waters. Latorre and Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February. Indian police have filed charges against the two that include the homicide of fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki. They were granted bail in June, but must remain in Indian territory. The Supreme Court in New Delhi is hearing the defense's plea for Italian jurisdiction, then the Kerala state lawyer's claim. The defense lawyer has requested and has been granted the option of responding to the Kerala argument. The Kerala court in the city of Kollam held a technical hearing Monday to take note of a suspension granted by the high court to assess the whether a translation of all legal documents in the case must be provided to the accused marines. The next hearing is to be held on September 12.

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