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Boldrini asks EU to ensure speedy resolution to marines case

Italian Speaker says international law is under threat by India

05 February, 17:28
Boldrini asks EU to ensure speedy resolution to marines case (ANSA) - Rome, February 5 - International law is under threat from a court case against two Italian marines accused of murder while on anti-piracy duties in waters off the coast of India, Laura Boldrini, speaker of Italy's Lower House, said in a letter Wednesday to her equivalent in the European Parliament.

Boldrini urged Speaker Martin Schulz to join in demanding full respect for international law through a rapid resolution of the case of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.

They are being held in India where they may face the death penalty, despite previous assurances by the Indian government to Rome that that would not be applied. "While not wishing in any way to express myself on the merits of the court case, I believe that Italy - and, with it, Europe and the international community - must demand respect for international law and a rapid resolution of the case," wrote Boldrini.

She noted that she will be visiting Brussels, where the European Parliament is based, on February 19 and 20, and suggested they discuss the situation further.

She also reminded Schulz of comments by other EU officials, including warnings just one day earlier that India's attempts to prosecute the Italian marines may hurt efforts to fight the crime of piracy in future. "The case is likely to have negative impacts on the EU's efforts and those around the world in the fight against piracy," the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said in a letter on Tuesday to European Parliament Deputy Speakers Gianni Pittella and Roberta Angelilli.