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SC closes criminal cases against Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday ended all criminal cases against two Italian marines accused of shooting two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 resulting in their death. The apex court said that Italy must carry out the probe in the incident, and India and Kerala must cooperate in the probe.

The court also directed that the Rs 10 crore compensation given by Italy must be transferred to the Kerala High Court. Notably, the Union government had deposited the money received from Italy with the registry of the Supreme Court. The apex court has directed the Kerala High Court to nominate a judge who can oversee the distribution of the compensation so that there is no misappropriation.

The Kerala government had earlier submitted to the court that the compensation amount will be distributed between the families of the two fishermen and the owner of the boat which was destroyed. The state government said that out of the Rs 10 crore, Rs 4 crore each will be paid to the victims’ families and Rs 2 crore will be paid to the owner of the boat.

Satisfied with compensation, says SC

During an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had said that the cases against the two Italian marines will be closed only when the money is deposited with the apex court’s registry. On Tuesday, the court said, “We are satisfied with the compensation and the ex-gratia paid over and above earlier. This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution.”

No jurisdiction

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in the Netherlands had held that India has no jurisdiction to carry out criminal proceedings against the Italian marines and that Italy has jurisdiction to probe the incident. The tribunal also directed Italy to pay compensation to the victims’ families.

Case history

Salvatore Girone and Massimilano Latorre, the two Italian marines, allegedly killed two unarmed Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. The Kerala High Court ruled that the Italian marines can be prosecuted in India. The marines had moved the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court ruling.

 

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