Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the criminal cases against the two Italian marines will only be closed after Italian government deposits a compensation amount worth Rs 10 crore. The two marines were accused in the killing of two fishermen in 2012 off the coast of Kerala.
Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde scheduled the matter for next hearing on April 19. The court stated that the compensation amount will be disbursed to the families of the victims.
As per the submissions of Centre government, the Kerala Government has decided to disburse Rs 4 Crores each to the families of the two deceased fishermen and Rs 2 crores to the owner of the boat ‘St Antony’.
Italy’s government has already paid a separate compensation amount worth Rs 2.17 crore to the families of the victims.
The apex court bench said that European government should deposit the amount in the account specified by the Ministry of External Affairs as per the order of the international tribunal. It was further communicated that the Indian government should deposit the amount before the Supreme Court within a week of receiving the amount.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Indian government told that the government will share all the details. He also told the court that the families of the fisherman have agreed to accept the compensation amount.
Ascertaining the sense of urgency shown by Centre, CJI said, “We would like the same speed in regular matters, too. Normally the government seeks adjournments of two weeks, eight weeks, etc.”
“It depends on which ministry we deal with,” replied SG Mehta.
The two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, were onboard Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie on February 15, 2012. They fired on the fisherman citing the reason that they believed that they were in international waters and claimed to have mistaken them for pirates.
The International Court of Justice had ruled that the accused marines had violated the international law and therefore breached India’s freedom of navigation, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The court also stated that the compensation must be provided to India for loss of life, material and moral harm suffered by the captain and crew of the Indian shipping vessel on which the marines fired.