Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
Italian Marine Case
May 06, 2016

An arbitral tribunal based in The Hague said one of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen could return home from New Delhi until the arbitration proceedings have concluded, subject to further agreements between the countries.

Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) told India and Italy to ask the Supreme Court of India to relax Salvatore Girone’s bail to allow him to return to Italy while the arbitration plays out, which concerns a dispute over which country has jurisdiction over an incident that took place in February 2012 about 20 nautical miles off the Indian coast.

Differences have cropped up between the two countries over the details of the verdict which will govern the marine’s return. While India has claimed that the verdict upholds the Supreme Court’s authority, Italian officials have said it is a vindication of their position that India has no jurisdiction.

Girone and another marine, Massimiliano Latorre, are accused of opening fire while on board the MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian oil tanker, and killing two Indian fishermen they came across in an Indian vessel. Latorre and Girone later said they thought the fishermen were pirates.

Indian Version

  • Girone may return to Italy for the duration of the present arbitration but the tribunal said Italy would be obligated to send him back to India if it were to be found that India has jurisdiction over him.

  • The tribunal left it to the Supreme Court of India to fix the precise conditions of Girone’s bail. This could include him reporting to an authority in Italy designated by the Supreme Court, surrendering his passport to Italian authorities and not leaving Italy without the permission of our Supreme Court.

  • Italy will have to give India an update on Girone every three months, and he will remain under the Supreme Court of India’s jurisdiction.

Italian Version

  • The PCA ruled Girone will return to Italy during the arbitration process, that the terms of his return are subject to agreements between Italy and India and that the country’s government would immediately begin negotiations with India in order to define and agree as soon as possible the conditions complying with the arbitration court's ruling.

  • Girone had already spent four years in India and, without the PCA’s ruling, may have had to remain there for another two or three years while the arbitration continued.

  • The two countries have been at loggerheads since the incident occurred as to whether India can exercise criminal jurisdiction over Latorre and Girone, straining relations between the two nations.

  • The Indian Supreme Court recently ruled that Latorre can remain in Italy on bail until the end of September.

Italy stressed that it believes India’s jurisdiction over him has been suspended and overridden under an August order by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea pausing all internal proceedings by both nations on the case.

According to an account provided by Italy to the tribunal, which is an independent judicial body for disputes arising out of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Latorre and Girone had been deployed on the tanker to protect it against piracy during its voyage from Sri Lanka to Djibouti.

India told the tribunal that the marines fired 20 shots on the unarmed fishermen, and it was a disproportionately high response for the situation.


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.