Indian Diplomacy

Supreme Court Allows Italian Marine Salvatore Girone to Go Home

The dispute has strained relations between India and Italy and its European Union partners.

Salvatore Girone (C) and Latorre Massimiliano (3rd R), members of the navy security team of Napoli registered Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, are escorted as they leave a courtroom at Kollam in Kerala March 5, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Sivaram V/Files

Salvatore Girone (C) and Latorre Massimiliano (3rd R), members of the navy security team of Napoli registered Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, are escorted as they leave a courtroom at Kollam in Kerala March 5, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Sivaram V/Files

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said an Italian marine under investigation for the killing of two fishermen is free to go home while international arbitration into the case goes on.

Salvatore Girone, who has been living in the Italian embassy in New Delhi, was one of two marines arrested in 2012 on suspicion of killing the fishermen during an anti-piracy mission on an Italian oil tanker. The other marine is already back in Italy after suffering health problems.

The Supreme Court ruled that Girone can return to Italy while an international tribunal decides on a jurisdictional issue between India and Italy. The marine must surrender his passport when he arrives in Italy and will be required to return to India within a month of an order from the tribunal, the court said in its order.

Italy’s foreign ministry said it was “satisfied” with the court’s decision. “Salvatore Girone will be able to return home in just a few days’ time,” the ministry said.

Reacting to the Supreme Court order, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed the Centre and said the marines should be tried in India only.

 

The dispute has strained relations between India and Italy and its European Union partners. In an effort to end four years of legal wrangling, both countries last year agreed to move their dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Italy argues that the case should not be heard in India because the incident occurred in international waters. India has said it remains confident the tribunal will decide in its favour.

(Reuters)

  • Kara Mirch

    Devyani Khobragade, India’s then Consul-General (with diplomatic immunity) in NY was charged and arrested for underpaying her maid. It took massive Government of India intervention to get her released and returned to India. However, two Italian marines (no diplomatic immunity) who willfully murdered Indian fishermen are allowed to return to Italy without facing the full extent of our laws. Don’t our Indian Government or the Supreme Court have a spine to prosecute and jail the criminals? Would such relaxation ever happen in China? No doubt we are the laughing stock of the world.