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Curious case of Italian Marines and how money silenced cry for justice | India News – Times of India


Italian Marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, aboard 244 metre-long oil tanker Enrica Lexie, had been arrested by Kerala Police on February 19, 2012 for allegedly taking pictures useless two Kerala fishermen aboard a 11-metre-long fishing boat ‘St Antony’ 4 days earlier.
A raging international controversy adopted, raised by Italy and backed by European Union, which accused India of breaching worldwide conference obligations by arresting the 2 Marines, who reasonably curiously in broad day mild presumed a small fishing boat 100 metres away from the oil tanker to be a pirate vessel and opened hearth at its 11 occupants apprehending an imminent piracy assault.
If troopers holding related perceptions of what constituted imminent menace and hazard get posted at Indo-Pak or India-China borders, their actions are certain to set off a full-scale struggle between neighbouring nations imperilling hundreds of thousands of lives.
The identical European Union, right down to its soccer gamers, just lately expressed solidarity with ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesting by means of kneel downs to specific their horror over the unjustified and extreme use of drive by police ensuing within the loss of life of George Floyd. There was revulsion over the police tendency to make use of extreme drive in a racially discriminatory method. The “no Justice, no peace” rallies demanded stringent motion in opposition to the cops who snuffed the life out of a black man, who had a historical past of serving jail for crimes.
But, eight years in the past, they didn’t think about wanton use of weapons by Marines in opposition to south Indian fishermen merely on suspicion that they may very well be pirates. Was it a case of racial discrimination? Should there be no cry for justice for 44-year-old Valentine @ Jalestine and 20-year-old Ajeesh whose lives had been snuffed out by two trigger-happy Marines? Or, is it that the lives of dark-skinned fishermen from Kerala didn’t matter?
With EU help, Italy upped the ante. Latorre and Girone challenged their arrest earlier than Kerala HC, which on May 29, 2012 dismissed their petitions saying, “freedom of navigation does not mean that the vessels have absolute rights or freedom to navigate through the seas unconcerned about the rights of others.” It held that India rightly exercised penal legislation jurisdiction over the crime that happened off Kerala coast.
When the matter was pending in HC, the Italian authorities paid Rs 1 crore every to the households of the 2 useless fishermen. The kin withdrew their claims. When the legality of ‘blood money’ was questioned, Italy clarified that it was a ‘goodwill gesture’. With Doramma, widow of Valentine, given a compassionate employment by Kerala authorities along with each Kerala and Tamil Nadu paying Rs 5 lakhs every to the 2 households, the kin misplaced curiosity to pursue treatment in opposition to Italy or the Marines.
Italy and the Marines then moved the SC. When the matter was pending, SC had allowed the Marines to spend 2012 Christmas of their dwelling nation by granting furloughs. In January 2013, the SC held that solely the Union authorities had jurisdiction over the crime and never Kerala police. It directed the establishing of a particular court docket for trial of the 2 Marines, even because the Centre assigned the probe to the National Investigation Agency.
After the judgment, the SC allowed the 2 Marines to go to Italy for casting votes on ambassador Daniel Mancini’s private assure for his or her return. Italy reneged and mentioned it could not return the Marines. A livid SC restrained Mancini from travelling out of India.
On March 13, 2013, ex-foreign minister and MP Jaswant Singh in Parliament termed the scenario as “a very curious Italian job”. He requested, “Would Indian citizens similarly imprisoned be permitted to go home for Diwali, Holi or Ramzan? This would not be permitted. Why was this done in this case? Was it done simply because they are Italian Marines?… I am impressed by the desire of these Marines to go and vote in Italian elections. Do they permit a similar treatment to criminals of Indian origin? … Why was the special treatment given to these Marines?”
Following this, the UPA authorities beneath Manmohan Singh exerted sufficient strain on the Italian authorities. This coupled with the robust stand of SC in opposition to the Italian ambassador, even rejecting his diplomatic immunity plea, compelled the return of the 2 Marines again to India.
In September 2014, Latorre was allowed to go to Italy for remedy after he suffered a mind stroke. Medical certificates had been periodically produced within the Supreme Court to get his furlough prolonged again and again until Italy moved the International Tribunal on the Law of Sea (ITLOS). An interim path from ITLOS for repatriation of Girone was honoured by the SC on May 26, 2016.
As per ITLOS, the investigation into the February 15, 2012 incident can be carried out afresh by Italian authorities and that the 2 marines loved immunity from Indian penal legal guidelines and jurisdiction of Indian courts. The final result of the investigation and prosecution of the 2 marines will present to the world the equity of the felony justice system prevalent in Italy and the sensitivity of European nations not solely to ‘black lives matter’ but additionally to “Indian lives matter”.

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