Only court to decide on settlement in Italian marines case

Only court to decide on settlement in Italian marines case

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today ruled out any out of court settlement in the Italian marines issue unless it is ordered by the court itself as it is a criminal case.

"This is a criminal matter and I can't see that in a criminal matter an out of court settlement is possible," Khurshid said while briefing media during return from Indonesia as part of a Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led delegation.

"In a criminal matter only court can order some settlement, if at all there are any depending on the charges and other matters," he said when asked whether there can be an out of court settlement in the marine case.

The External Affairs Minister's response comes amid reports of differences between the National Investigation Agency and the Law Ministry on how to proceed with the case after four colleagues of the two detained marines expressed their inability to come to India to depose before the court.

On February 15, 2012, two Indian fishermen on a fishing boat were shot dead allegedly by members of an Italian Vessel Protection Detachment deployed on MT Enrica Lexie at approximately 20.5 nautical miles off the coast of Kerala.

The two marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- were arrested after the incident and are being tried for murder.

On extradition treaty with Indonesia, he said, "There are already some important agreements that we have signed with Indonesia and some of them are in process of being ratified by their Parliament.

"Those pacts include extradition treaty and the mutual legal assistance treaty. They are yet to be ratified and once they are we will take this forward for implementation."

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