CASES AGAINST ITALIAN MARINES WILL BE CLOSED ONLY AFTER COMPENSATION IS DEPOSITED: SUPREME COURT

12-04-2021

The Supreme Court of India observed that the criminal cases pending in India against the two Italian Marines in the Enrica Exie case will be closed only after the Republic of Italy deposits the compensation agreed to be paid to the victims of sea firing incident of 2012. A bench headed by CJI Bobde directed that the Republic of Italy should deposit the compensation amount in terms of the award of the international tribunal in the account specified by the Ministry of External Affairs. Within a week of receiving such amount from the Italy Government, the Ministry should deposit the same before the Supreme Court, the bench further ordered. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the Bench that the account number in which the amount has to be deposited will be informed to the Republic of Italy during the course of the day. Senior Advocate Sohail Dutta, appearing on behalf of the Republic of Italy, agreed to deposit the compensation in the accounts specified by the Union Ministry as soon as the account number was informed. The Court was informed by the SG that the families of the victims have consented to accept the Rs. 10 Crore compensation offered by the Government of Italy, over and above the ex-gratia payments already paid by Italy. The SG further submitted that the International Tribunal has ruled that India has no jurisdiction to launch criminal prosecution against the Italian Marines, and that the same has to be done within Italian Jurisdiction. The incident happened on February 15, 2012, at a distance of about 20.5 nautical miles from the Kerala coastline. A fishing boat ‘St. Antony’ happened to pass “Erica Lexie”, a tanker flying the Italian Flag. Two marines aboard the ship mistook ‘St. Antony’ for a pirate boat, and opened filed at it, which resulted in death of two fishermen.  

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