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Italy expects 'news' in India marines case before Dec 17

Country has 'the law on its side', says FM Terzi

07 December, 15:31
Italy expects 'news' in India marines case before Dec 17 (ANSA) - Rome, December 7 - The Italian Foreign Ministry said on Friday it expected ''novelties'' in the case of two Italian anti-pirate marines currently detained in India on criminal charges that include killing two fishermen before the country's justice system begins a new recession on December 17.

Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India for shooting Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki during an international anti-piracy mission off the southern Kerala coast in February .

Italy believes it should have jurisdiction over the case and, in any event, that the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an Italian ship. The case is before India's Supreme Court but so far no ruling has been forthcoming. Italian Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Staffan De Mistura told journalists he would strongly assert the country's positionhe at a UN debate on piracy presided by India later this week.

In a separate interview on Friday Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Italy had the law on its side in the case. ''We trust in the (Supreme) Court's decision, but we are ready to react,'' said the country's chief diplomat, adding that the government has followed and continues to follow the matter ''constantly'' and that its interest has been on bilateral, European and miltilateral levels. ''Thanks to this commitment a growing number of countries have intervened with the Indian authorities on our behalf on every possible occasion, expressing legitimate and shared expectations and concerns both as regards the timing of the Supreme Court sentence and with respect to its contents, which we expect to fully recognise both Italian jurisdiction (over the case) and the functional immunity of our two riflemen,'' he said.