Kerala CM Pinarayi asks PM Modi to build international pressure in Italian Marines case

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague had recently said that the two Italian Marines accused of having shot and killed two Indian fishermen, cannot be tried in India.
Accused marines of Italian Merchant Vessel Enrica Lexie
Accused marines of Italian Merchant Vessel Enrica Lexie
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Kerala on Saturday urged the Centre to make "earnest efforts" to build international pressure to ensure that a fair trial is held against the two Italian marines who shot and killed two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “It is quite shocking that such a grave crime committed against our citizens is not being brought to justice in our country.”

“The matter definitely deserved amore sensitive and cautious handling from the beginning and during the proceedings in the ITLOS (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea), as it involved the loss of life of two innocent Indians."

The Hague-headquartered Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal had on Thursday upheld the conduct of the Indian authorities in the Enrica Lexie case in which the marines were accused of killing two Indian fishermen. Latorre Massimiliano, chief commander of the six-member security unit on board is the first accused and Salvatore Girone is the second accused in the case.

While stating that India was entitled to get compensation in the case, the tribunal had held that the marines cannot be prosecuted in the country due to the official immunity enjoyed by them.

Vijayan also sought Modi's intervention in getting just compensation to the families of the fishermen,who had lost their lives while they had put out to sea to earn their livelihood.

Whatever be the technicalities of the International conventions, the decision has "resulted in added grief to the bereaved families and people of Kerala," Vijayan said and conveyed the state's "strong feelings" on the issue.

If the tribunal's award was not appealable, as stated by the central government in the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the centre should make "earnest efforts" to build international pressure for a fair trial in Italy, he said.

As two lives have been lost without any provocation from the victims, there is a need to bargain for an exemplary amount, the chief minister said.

"We should also keep our option of approaching the ITLOS within the stipulated time of one year if getting adequate compensation is not possible through negotiations."

Though the perpetrators of the crime have escaped their trial in India, all other possible actions need to be taken, he added.

Meanwhile, the Centre in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court asked the court to close the matter pending before it for eight years as the country has accepted the international tribunal award.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)


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