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Under what law are Italian marines to be tried? asks SC

Under what law are Italian marines to be tried? asks SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the central government to categorically spell out its stand about the law under which to try the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen.

The apex court bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan said the government will spell out its stand in writing by next Wednesday, when the court takes up the matter for further hearing.

The order came after Attorney General GE Vahanvati told the court that the Law Ministry's opinion has been sought on the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Law (SUA) being invoked for the marines' trial.

The Law Ministry is examining the Home Ministry's opinion and that of the External Affairs Ministry which favours withdrawal of the SUA.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) invoked the SUA but the decision has come under review after the Italian government opposed it, saying that its two marines could not not be tried under the anti-piracy law.

Appearing for marines Massimilliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court the two could not be tried under the SUA, which is an anti-piracy law.

Latorre and Girone have been held in India since February 2012 when they allegedly killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of the south Indian state of Kerala, mistaking them for pirates.

The marines were the security personnel on an Italian oil tanker crossing the Indian Ocean.

India claims jurisdiction in the case while Italy alleges the incident took place in international waters and the marines should be tried in their home country.


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