Supreme Court closes case of Italian navies
The two navies, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who were then stationed aboard the Italian flag tanker MV Enrica Lexie, will now be tried by Italy in accordance with the international arbitration award.
The incident sparked a major diplomatic row between India and Italy after Kerala police arrested the marines. They were then released on humanitarian bail by the highest court.
Both countries had claimed jurisdiction to judge the navies. While the Indian government claimed it had the right to try them as they were in Indian territorial waters, the Italian government claimed that Enrica Lexie was flying the Italian flag at the time of the incident and therefore had the right to judge one’s own nationals.
In 2020, an international tribunal ruled that the Italian government would try the marines and ordered compensation of 10 crore for the victims in the case.
The Indian government agreed to abide by this ruling and asked the court to close the case so that the matter can be resolved in accordance with the court ruling issued by the two sovereign nations. He claimed that the compensation money had already been received and the case should be closed.
But the court had insisted it would only consider closing the case after receiving the money from the government. It’s now done.
This will help the court to issue formal orders to close the criminal case registered against the Italian navies in that country for murder.
While ordering the closure of the case, the Supreme Court should settle certain formalities which will ensure that all victims in the case are heard and receive a share of the compensation. The actual distribution can be left to the State of Kerala.
The central government urged the court to close the case quickly, but the court had asked that victims’ claims be paid first. The Kerala government and the victims also wanted compensation to go to court as insurance for the victims. Otherwise, they will have no enforcement mechanism, they said. The victims also demanded compensation for the crew of the ill-fated fishing vessel.