Stop Trial of Marines: UN Tribunal tells India

In a mixed ruling in the Italian marine's case, a UN tribunal on Monday asked India to stop all legal proceedings against the marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen in 2012 after they apparently mistook them for pirates.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (IT-LOS) also rejected Italy's demand for provisional release of the two marines. The tribunal asked both countries to submit their initial reports in the case on September 24.

"Italy and India shall both suspend all court proceedings and shall refrain from initiating new ones which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the...arbitral tribunal or might jeopardize or  prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render." , the tribunal said.

India said it would abide by the tribunal's decision as a responsible member of the International  Community and as a party to the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

India, though said the tribunal rejected both the measures sought by Italy-that India should refrain from taking or enforcing any judicial or administrative measures against the marines and from exercising any form of jurisdiction over the incident, and also for the return of Girone to Italy and continued stay of Latorre in Italy throughout the proceedings of the tribunal.

"While we are studying the judgement in detail, it is clear that the tribunal did not consider the two provisional measures sought by Italy ot be appropriate as that would have pre-judged the meris of the case and would not have equally preserved the rights of bought parties until the constitution of the Annex VII Tribunal under UNCLOS, which will decide the issue of jurisdiction," India said in a statement.

"The tribunal has instead prescribed a provisional measure in which both Italy and India should suspend all court proceedings and shall refrain which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to Annex VII Tribunalor prejudice its decision on jurisdiction," it added.

The 21-member UN-mandated court located in Hamburg issued the order with 15 in favour and six against.

The two marines, who were on board ship 'Enrica Lexie' are accused of killing two Indian fishermen on February 15, 2012 off the Kerala coast.

Source: The Times of India

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