New Delhi: The Central government on Friday has filed an application in Supreme Court seeking the disposal of all the pleas pending for last eight years in relations to the Enrica Lexie case in light of the decision passed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration as per the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The union of India has submitted in its application that it has “decided to accept and abide" by the decision of the arbitration tribunal, based in Hague. The 2 July order held that India is entitled to claim compensation from Italy in the case where two Italian marines had shot dead two Indian fishermen.
However, the Tribunal held that India has no jurisdiction over the men and hence cannot hear the case in India. It ruled that trial of the marines will be held in Italy and Italy should compensate India for damages incurred by the shooting of the two fishermen.
The union government states that in accordance with the provisions of the UNCLOS and the Rules of Procedure agreed by India and Italy, “the award(decision) is final and without appeal and shall be complied with by the parties to the dispute".
The plea also highlighted the order of the tribunal stating that “India is entitled to payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of “St. Antony".
The Tribunal held that the parties are invited to consult with each other with a view to reaching agreement on the amount of compensation due to India.
The 482-page plea with detailed affidavits, narrates the sequence of events related to the case along with the order of International Tribunal on law of the sea (ITLOS) which had suspended the case proceedings in Italy and India, since the matter was to be decided by the arbitration.
The incident took place in 2012. The two marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone onboard the Enrica Lexie, an Italian oil tanker, said that they mistook two Indian fishermen for pirates and shot them in international waters. India on its part said the shooting had taken place in Indian waters and detained the two men. The case soured relations between Rome and New Delhi with New Delhi holding the two marines in custody in India for several years. India had maintained that the marines had flouted India's sovereign right by moving into Indian waters and killing two Indian fishermen.
In 2012, the Italian side had struck an agreement with the two fishermen's families for ₹1 crore each as what they described "compensation". The Supreme Court had expressed shock at some clauses of the agreement saying it amounted to "blood money". Appearing on behalf of the Italian side, Harish Salve has claimed it was not "blood money" but compensation to allow the two families to rebuild their lives.
There has been a pause in the case in the Supreme Court as Italy took the matter to the Arbitral Tribunal under UNCLOS questioning India's jurisdiction in the matter.