Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 11
The Supreme Court on Friday said it would pass orders on June 15 on disbursal of Rs 10 crore compensation to the families of two Indian fishermen allegedly killed by Italian Marines off the Kerala coast in 2012.
A Vacation Bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee, said it would also pass an order on quashing the pending criminal case against the two Italian Marines in India for killing Indian citizens.
However, it said as per the International arbitral award Italy would prosecute the marines—Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone—who were on board Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie when they allegedly fired at two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Bench said it may ask the Kerala High Court to ensure proper disbursal of compensation to the heirs of the victims.
Earlier, the Centre had told the court that Italy had initiated the transfer of Rs 10 crore compensation to be given to the kin of the fishermen.
The court had earlier deferred the hearing in the Italian marines’ case after the Centre said that compensation money from Italy was yet to be transferred to India.
The Supreme Court had in 2014 stayed the criminal proceedings against the two Italian marines before a Special Court at Kollam in Kerala. In 2015, it halted all the proceedings before all courts in India in view of an ITLOS (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) order calling upon India and Italy to suspend all criminal proceedings against the two marines.
The Hague-based tribunal on July 2 last year ruled that the two marines should be tried in Italy and asked the Indian authorities to close the criminal case against them.
The tribunal, however, had agreed with India’s contention that the Italian marines broke the freedom of navigation aspect of UNCLOS and, therefore, the killed fishermen’s kin were entitled to compensation.
The top court on April 9 asked the Centre to deposit with it the Rs 10 crore compensation agreed to be paid by Italy in terms of an award given by a Hague-based international tribunal before the proceedings were closed.
It had on August 7 last year said it would like to hear the relatives of two Indians killed by Italian marines off the coast in Kerala in 2012 before closing the case.
A day after an international tribunal ruled that India didn’t have jurisdiction to try two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in Kerala, the Centre had on July 3, 2020, moved the Supreme Court seeking disposal of the case pending before it.
The Centre said it had accepted the award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).