Marines row with India moves up a notch
Italian ambassador has 'lost' immunity, says Indian court18 March, 18:24
(ANSA) - New Delhi, March 18 - The Supreme Court in New Delhi on Monday extended its order for Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini to stay in Indian territory in a dispute over two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala during an anti-piracy mission last year. The Supreme Court said Mancini had "automatically lost" his diplomatic immunity by signing a guarantee that the marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would return after being allowed to come home last month to vote in Italy's general election.
The Italian government recently said the marines, who face charges of homicide, will not return, sparking a furious reaction from New Delhi.
Rome has always denied that India has jurisdiction over the matter, as the incident took place in international waters.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said last week that the decision to not return the pair was legitimate and Italy had a strong case which it wanted to put to independent arbitration.
An earlier deal, which allowed the marines to return to Italy for Christmas, was respected by both governments and was seen as a positive step - as well as a sign of goodwill - towards a diplomatic solution. On Monday the India Supreme Court adjourned Mancini's case until April 2 and said he was not to leave the country before then.
EU DISTANCES SELF BUT SAYS RESPECT VIENNA CONVENTION The European Union distanced itself from the festering diplomatic row and called on Italy and India to honor the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The EU's high representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton told ANSA in a note that the European Union is not part of the legal dispute between Italy and India and thus can not take a position with respect to the legal arguments on the substance of the case.
Ashton encouraged Italy and India to find a "mutually satisfactory" and "friendly solution" based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas and international law.
Ashton's spokesman went on to say the EU believed the two countries should uphold the Vienna Convention, which lays down the rules about diplomatic immunity.
"The Vienna Convention must be respected by both parties," he said.
The international treaty was negotiated in 1961 and says the rights of diplomats are "inviolable" and they cannot be detained.