In a setback to the two Italian marines who had sought to quash the case against them for shooting and killing two Indian fishermen, the Supreme Court today said that the Indian government did have jurisdiction to conduct the trial against them, although it said the state of Kerala did not.
These are the key updates and developments in the case so far:
Fishermen deaths: Two Indian fishermen aboard a fishing vessel off the coast of Kerala killed in a hail of bullets they claim was fired from aboard cargo vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ on 15 February 2012. The two fishermen, Ajesh Binki (25) and Gelastine (45) were killed after the marines allegedly mistook them for pirates.
Italy permits Kerala police to take custody of the marines: The two marines taken into custody by the Kerala Police and taken to CISF guest house in Wellington Island in Kochi for interrogation. Italian delegation from legal and foreign ministries meets with Indian government.
Italian government launches all out effort to secure release of marines: The Italian junior Foreign Minister meets with India’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to discuss the potential release of the marines and argues that the the incident took place in international waters. India refuses to relent.
The two Italian navy personal also file a petition challenging the FIR against them on the ground that the shooting occurred outside Indian territorial waters and therefore Indian law wouldn’t apply.
Cardinal gets drawn into controversy: A report by Catholic news agency ‘Fides’ quotes Cardinal of Syro Malabar Church Mar George Alancherry as having appealed to the state authorities not to resort to “precipitate action”. After outcry over his alleged statement, Alencherry says his statement was misunderstood.
Kerala HC allows relatives of killed fishermen to appeal against quashing FIR: Kerala High court permits relatives of two Indian fishermen, allegedly shot dead by two marines on board an Italian vessel in mid-February, to implead in the petition relating to quashing of FIR in the case.
Ship allowed to leave Indian waters: Kerala High Court allows the Enrica Lexie to leave Indian waters after its owners furnish a bond of Rs 3 crore and meet other conditions, including that the ship’s captain, and vessel, should be brought to Kerala for any further investigations that might be required. The Supreme Court endorses the decision.
Italian government awards compensation to slain fishermen’s families: After negotiations over compensation to be paid to the kin of two fishermen, the Italian government reportedly reaches an agreement to pay both families Rs one crore each. The Supreme Court makes adverse observations about this settlement with the relatives. (Read Firstpost‘s view on how the Italian government settled with the relatives of the fishermen here)
Italian government moves Supreme Court: The Italian government moves a petition through its ambassador in New Delhi urging the apex court to direct India to hand over the custody of its two marines to the Italian government. The petition said that the continued detention of the two Italian marines by Kerala Police was illegal and ultra vires as it was violative of the principle of sovereign immunity and also in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Marines granted bail by Kerala High Court: Kerala High Court permits the release of the two marines from jail and says they shall stay in a building within a distance of 10 km from the office of the Kochi city Police Commissioner, appear before the Commissioner on all days between 10am and 11am and as and when required.
Indian government opposes Italian plea to quash FIR: The Indian government opposes the Italian government’s plea to quash the FIR against the two marines on the grounds that the Italian government will conduct a trial against the two marines in their home country.
Italian marines allowed to go home for Christmas: After the Italian government assures it the Indian government and Kerala High Court allow the two marines to visit their relatives for Christmas.