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Aug 31, 2012 at 10:39am IST

Kerala: Italian marines enjoy no immunity, Centre tells SC

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the Italian marines who killed two Indian fishermen in February this year, purportedly mistaking them for pirates, did not enjoy any diplomatic immunity and are liable to be prosecuted here under Indian penal laws.

Appearing before a bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar, Additional Solicitor General Gourab Banerjee said the two armed marines do not enjoy any diplomatic immunity unlike other diplomats and embassy staffers.

"You (marines) have killed an Indian citizen on an Indian ship. We want to protect our citizens on our ships. As a matter of fact of law, armed personnel are not given any protection for their criminal action.

No immunity for Italian marines: Centre to SC

The SC was hearing a petition filed by the Italian government and its 2 marines, challenging the May 29 order of the Kerala HC.

"The immunity given to diplomatic or embassy staff is on a different footing. These gentlemen are not covered by any immunity. You (marines) are claiming immunity from criminal jurisdiction which we do not accept," Banerjee argued before the bench during the day-long hearing.

Responding to queries from the bench, Banerjee told it that India is not bound by the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, 2004 as the convention has not come into force so far and India has not notified it.

He told the bench that the convention to become effective has to be signed by at least 30 member states, but as only 13 countries have signed it, it is not binding.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Italian government and its two marines, challenging the May 29 order of the Kerala High Court, which had held that the duo – Chief Sargent Massimiliano Lattore and Sargent Salvatore Girone were liable to be tried by an Indian court.

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