Recognise India marine immunity, Italy asks Hague court

Rome claims jurisdiction in long-running case

(ANSA) - Rome, July 8 - Italy on Monday urged the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague to recognise the immunity of two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates in February 2012.
    Ambassador Francesco Azzarello told the court that Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were functionaries of the Italian state doing their duty on board an Italian flagged ship in international waters and were therefore to be deemed "immune to foreign justice".
    Italy is claiming jurisdiction in the case.
    The ambassador went on to say that India already considers the marines guilty.
    "In India's eyes there is no presumption of innocence: the marines were guilty of murder even before the charges were laid".
    He also said "there were unjustifiable postponements of the trial in India. Special procedures were invented, in violation of the Indian Constitution." In reply, Indian representative G. Balasubramanian told the court that "Italy maintains it has the exclusive jurisdiction in the case but one must take into account the fact that India and the two fishermen are the victims in this case. "Two human beings aboard an Indian boat were killed by individuals who were on a merchant ship," he said.
    Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said on Facebook: "always at the side of our soldiers, in Italy and the world, because they defend our security, our borders, our pride and our dignity".
    Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said "the Italian government has the utmost faith in the International Court of Arbitration.
    "Dear Salvatore and Massimiliano, you are not alone. Your or your families. I send you a strong hug in the name of the government and all the defence ministry".
   

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