New Delhi

India supreme court sends Italy marine case to new tribunal

Lawyers say 'satisfied'

India supreme court sends Italy marine case to new tribunal

New Delhi, January 18 - The Indian supreme court on Friday decided to refer the case of two Italian anti-piracy marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen to a special tribunal to be set up in New Delhi to assess jurisdiction. Lawyers for the pair, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, said they were "very satisfied" with the verdict because it took the case out of the hands of the southern state of Kerala, off which the incident took place in February. Italian diplomats, who had been waiting for the verdict since September, said "India has finally decided to clear up this affair". The marines will be transferred from Kerala capital Kochi to New Delhi later Friday. The pair, who recently came back from a Christmas break in Italy, have been at the centre of a dispute over jurisdiction since they allegedly shot fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki from oil tanker Enrica Lexie, mistaking them for pirates. The supreme court ruled Friday that the incident took place in international waters, as Italy has contended, but the marines did not have "sovereign immunity" and their case should still be examined in India. The marines were released from detention on bail in June, but were confined to Indian territory until they were granted the two-week holiday permit. They will now be free to travel wherever they want in India, the supreme court said.

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