Govt going ahead with special court in Italian marines case

Following the return of the two Italian marines, the government is said to be going ahead with setting up of a special court where the two sailors accused of killing fishermen off the Kerala coast will stand trial.

The Centre is expected to inform the Supreme Court sometime next week or on April 2 of the progress made in formation of  the court, to be set up in consultation with the apex court.

The Union government will also issue a notification containing the name of the special judge. The court, in all probability will be situated in Delhi, as per Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s demand.

The issue to be resolved by the special court is the dispute over jurisdiction as to where the marines should stand trial. Should they be tried in India or in Italy.

Rome has contended that they should be tried in their home country, as per international conventions, asserting that the incident took place in international waters.

The government may face the ire of the SC for not taking pro-active steps on its direction which came over two months ago. The court has already questioned the delay in the matter.

Court directions

It was on January 18 that the court directed the Centre as it ruled that the Kerala government did not have any jurisdiction in the matter.

The Italian deputy foreign minister Steffan de Mistura also asked the Indian government to set up the special court  expeditiously.

While agreeing that the special court would be set up shortly, sources told Deccan Herald that it would be anybody’s guess as to when the case would reach a conclusion.

The new court will have to take into consideration various issues, examine scores of witnesses and dig into several legislations and international treaties to reach a judgement.

In its January order, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to set up a special court in consultation with the chief justice of India “to try the case in accordance with the provisions of the Maritime Zones Act, 1976, the IPC, the CrPC, and, provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982.”

Until the end of the trial, the marines will be staying at the Italian embassy guest house at the posh diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri here.

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