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Mar 23, 2013 at 08:44am IST

Special court to hear Italian marines case; India, Italy agree on fast trial

New Delhi: Italian government's decision to send back two of its marines charged with the killing of two Kerala fishermen seemed to signal the end of the diplomatic standoff between India and Italy over the issue. However, it is still not clear what made the Italian government change its stand.

Italy said India has guaranteed a fast trial in the case and has assured Italy that the marines would not be awarded the death sentence. The Indian government was quick to congratulate itself when on early Friday, Italy announced that the two marines were flying back.

But by Friday evening, Rome and New Delhi were speaking in different tones. Italy said India has assured that the marines won't get the death penalty and won't be arrested, while India said those conditions were mere clarifications

The two Italian mariners are being accommodated in the Italian Embassy building for now even as the government of Italy stressed that they should enjoy good living conditions during their trial in India. While New Delhi said the marines could serve out their sentence in Italy, Rome signalled it would once again contest India's jurisdiction in court.

"Our official position remains the same. That officials, when discharging duties in international waters, will be adjudicated in their own country," said Italian deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura. however, India and Italy agree on only one thing - that the marines' fate should be decided quickly.