01/18/2013, 00.00
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Kerala government loses jurisdiction in Italian marines’ trial

For the Supreme Court the incident occurred in international waters, but the military can not claim immunity. A special court in New Delhi will take up the case and decide where they will be judged

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were in international waters at the time of the murder of two Indian fishermen. This has been established by the Supreme Court of India today, which, however, has also stated that at the time of the offense, the two soldiers were not subject to immunity, because serving as security guards on the Enrica Lexie. According to this, the Kerala Government no longer has the authority to deal with the case, because it is a federal crime, and only the central government can judge the two soldiers. The Supreme Court has transferred the case to a special court for homicides, in New Delhi (the capital) which will decide if the marines should be judged in India or Italy.

The Supreme Court ruling was expected for several months: the jurisdiction trial concluded in September 2012, and the verdict of the court was decisive for all other proceedings against the two sailors. Harish Salve, the lawyer for two sailors, said he was "satisfied" with the exclusion of the Kerala government.

The incident occurred on the Enrica Lexie February 15, 2012. The two marines were aboard the tanker as security guards, and are accused of having shot an Indian fishing boat, mistaking it for a pirate boat. Two men from the crew, Jelestein and Ajesh Binki, died from the shots fired by the military.


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