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Mar 12, 2013 at 10:59am IST

Two marines charged for killing Kerala fishermen won't return to India, says Italy

Rome: Italian foreign ministry said on Monday that the two marines, who have been charged in India for shooting two Kerala fishermen, will remain in Italy. The Ministry of External Affairs said it has received the communication from Italy and that it will examine it carefully.

The Supreme Court had in February permitted the duo to travel to their country for four weeks. The marines, accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the Kochi coast, had approached the apex court seeking permission to travel to Italy to participate in the Parliamentary elections there.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, had said the marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, would travel to Italy under the control and custody of the Ambassador of Italy in India, to cast their ballot in the elections scheduled that happened on February 24 and 25.

In a press release published on a government website, Italy said it "always held that the conduct of the Government of India violated the international law obligations imposed on India by virtue of customary law and treaty law, in particular the principle of immunity from the jurisdiction of the foreign state bodies and the rules of the Convention United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.

In the aftermath of the judgment of 18 January 2013 by the Supreme Court of India, Italy has formally proposed to the Government of New Delhi, the start of a bilateral dialogue in the search for a diplomatic solution to the case, as suggested by the Court, where drew the hypothesis of cooperation between States in the fight against piracy, as envisaged by the above UNCLOS.

In light of the lack of response of India to the Italian request to enable such cooperation, the Italian Government considers that there is a dispute with India concerning the rules as contained in the Convention and general principles of international law applicable to the case.

For these reasons, Italy has formally confirmed to the Indian Government, with the note verbale delivered today by Ambassador Mancini, his willingness to reach an agreement on a resolution of the dispute through international arbitration or judicial settlement, asking India to activate the consultations provided for in UNCLOS.

On this occasion, Italy informed the Indian government that, given the formal establishment of an international dispute between the two States, the riflemen of Marina Maximilian Latorre and Savior Pool will not return to India at the end of the permission granted to them.

The decision, which was also notified Indian Embassy in Rome and they are given in contacts between the two Foreign Ministers, was taken in consultation with the Ministries of Defense and Justice, in coordination with the Office of the Prime Ministers."