SC to hear Italy's plea to modify bail conditions of Latorre

Last Updated : 08 September 2016, 07:30 IST
Last Updated : 08 September 2016, 07:30 IST

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Italy today made a fresh plea in the Supreme Court for modification of bail conditions of marine Massimiliano Latorre to enable him remain in Italy till an international tribunal decides on which country has the right to try the case of killing of Indian fishermen.

The apex court agreed to hear on September 20 the plea in which Latorre has sought imposition of same bail conditions that were made applicable to marine Salvatore Girone, his co- accused in killing of two fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.

A bench comprising Justices A R Dave and L Nageswara Rao decided to hear the plea filed by Italy on behalf of Latorre after a batch of senior lawyers, including K T S Tulsi, mentioned the matter and sought an urgent hearing on the ground that an earlier apex court order in the matter was valid till September 30 this year.

"Modify the bail conditions of chief master sergeant Massimiliano Latorre in the same terms as those prescribed for sergeant major Salvator Girone by this court's order dated May 26 this year... to enable Latorre to remain in Italy until a final decision by the Annex VIII Arbitral Tribunal on the merits of the case that finds India may exercise jurisdiction over him in respect of the Enrica Lexie incident," the plea said.

While relaxing Girone's bail conditions on May 26, the apex court had allowed him to go to his country till the jurisdictional issue between India and Italy was decided in an international arbitral tribunal.

The apex court had imposed four conditions on Girone including that he has to report to police station in Italy on first Wednesday of every month and the Italian authorities have to inform the Indian Embassy in Rome about it.

The second condition was that he will not tamper with any evidence, nor influence any witness in the case. The third condition was that Girone will give an undertaking that he will remain under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and lastly, if found violating any of the conditions, his bail will be cancelled, the court had said.

The marines, who were on board ship 'Enrica Lexie', are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. The complaint against the marines was lodged by Freddy, the owner of fishing boat 'St Antony', in which the two Indian fishermen were killed when the marines opened fire on them allegedly under the misconception that they were pirates.

On April 26, the apex court had extended till September 30 the stay of Latorre in Italy after it was informed that the international arbitral proceedings would be completed by December 2018 before International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Germany.

The court had also asked the Italian Embassy here to give an undertaking to abide by the conditions under which Latorre was allowed to leave India.

The court had earlier stayed all criminal proceedings, including the trial of the two marines. While allowing the joint request of India and Italy, the apex court had said the proceedings would remain stalled till the jurisdictional issue about which country has the right to conduct trial was decided through international arbitration.

The apex court had on August 26, 2015 suspended all court proceedings here in pursuance of an interim order of the ITLOS asking India to maintain "status quo" in the case.

The Indian government had then said a five-member tribunal (ITLOS Annex VII arbitral tribunal) would be set up, probably to decide the issue of jurisdiction.

The court, in August last year, had extended the stay of Latorre, who had undergone a heart surgery in Italy, by six months while asking him to file an undertaking that he would abide by its conditions.

Latorre, who had also suffered a brain stroke on August 31, 2014, was allowed by the apex court on September 12, 2014 to go to Italy for four months and after that, extensions have been granted to him.
Published 08 September 2016, 07:29 IST

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