Second Enrica Lexie Marine Allowed Back to Italy

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By The Maritime Executive 2016-05-27 03:12:04

The second of two Italian marines implicated in the shooting death of two Indian fishermen in 2012 has been permitted to return to his home country pending resolution of an arbitration case at a U.N. tribunal.  

The Supreme Court of India ruled Thursday that Secondo Capo Salvatore Girone could leave the country while the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) deliberates on the matter of whether Indian courts have jurisdiction over his case. 

The Court required that Girone report to an Italian police station once monthly, and the Italian Ambassador will have to assure his return to India for trial if ITLOS rules in India's favor. He must undertake to remain under the jurisdiction of the Court, and if he should violate the terms of his bail, the Court reserved the right to cancel it. 

The Indian government's solicitor general said that the administration had no objections to Girone's request for bail so long as he complies with these conditions. 

Italy has reportedly agreed to the terms. “As directed by the tribunal, Italy has also indicated the conditions for bail which may be imposed by the SC during Girone’s stay in Italy, duly recognizing that he will remain under the authority of the SC of India during this period,” said Indian MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

A U.N. court ruled earlier in the month that Girone should be allowed to depart India pending a decision on his trial, and that Italian and Indian authorities should work together to facilitate this. Girone has been in India for most of the intervening time since the shooting, and is living at the Italian embassy in Delhi. 

On 15 February 2012, Italian marines operating as part of an anti-piracy team on board the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie allegedly opened fire on the fishing vessel St. Antony, killing two Indian crewmen on board, Ajesh Binki and Valentine (no last name given). Girone and his compatriot Massimiliano Latorre were arrested and charged. Lattore was allowed to return to Italy last year on compassionate grounds, as he had suffered a stroke. 

Italy's government has argued that the case should not be heard in India; it asserts that the incident occurred in international waters. India said it remained confident that the issue of jurisdiction would be decided in its favor.

Marines are viewed by Italy as state officials immune to foreign prosecution. The Italian government has paid $190,000 in compensation to each victim's family.