The Indian Supreme Court has made a decision to enforce The Hague Court of Arbitration’s order to free one of the two Italian Navy marines being held in India after they were accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February 2012 while on anti-piracy duty, according to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In late April, The Hague Court of Arbitration granted permission for the return of Sergeant Salvatore Girone to Italy until the arbitration process on the Enrica Lexie case, which began in June 2015, is concluded.
In line with the decision of The Hague Court of Arbitration, Italy and India have cooperated during the last few weeks in order to define the terms and conditions of Girone’s return and permanence in Italy.
The ruling of the court in The Hague has taken into account the legal and humanitarian considerations related to Girone having spent over four years in India, which could have been extended for another two or three years, considering the time required for the arbitration procedure, according to the ministry.
Italy earlier said that this ruling would not affect the continuation of the arbitration procedures, which are expected to define whether the jurisdiction over the Enrica Lexie dispute lies with India or Italy.
Girone and Sergeant Massimiliano Latorre, who temporarily returned to Italy for medical treatment, were part of an Italian marine team hired to protect the Enrica Lexie from pirates.
On February 15, 2012, while the vessel was en route from Sri Lanka to Djibouti, it came across an Indian fishing vessel off the India’s state of Kerala, when the marines allegedly mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired at the vessel, killing the two men.
Following the incident, the Enrica Lexie was ordered to proceed to Kochi port, where the two marines were arrested.