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Eu applauds India Supreme Court on Italy marines ruling

Ashton 'views transfer decision favourably'

Eu applauds India Supreme Court on Italy marines ruling

Brussels, January 18 - The European Union applauded a decision made by the Indian Supreme Court on Friday 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. The EU "views the Indian Supreme Court decision favourably and is committed to being by Italy's side, in the hope this complex legal case can be concluded quickly," a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, told ANSA. 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, where 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 aboard the 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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