A Win for India as Italian Marines Return to Stand Trial

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VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / Getty Images

Italian marines Salvatore Girone, left, and Massimiliano Latorre arrive at an airport near Rome on Dec. 22, 2012. India allowed the two men, accused of shooting Indian fishermen while guarding an oil tanker, to return home for Christmas

India won a diplomatic coup on Friday as two Italian marines returned to India to stand trial for allegedly shooting two fishermen off the coast of Kerala last winter. The incident, in which the marines, hired as private security to an Italian oil tanker, say they mistook the men to be pirates, has been the source of escalating tension between the two nations for the past year but came to a head last week, when the marines returned for what was slated to be a temporary visit to Italy but Rome said they would not be going back.

On Thursday, the Italian government finally agreed to send them back after gaining the assurance from New Delhi that they would not face the death penalty. It ended a dicey few weeks for the Congress-led government — and for Indian-Italian ties. The marines, who had been out on bail in India awaiting trial, have come and gone before since their arrest last year, when India allowed them to go home for Christmas. When India’s Supreme Court allowed them to return home again to vote in their country’s elections last month, the Italian ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini, acted as a guarantor in the High Court that they would go back by March 22. When Rome decided that they were not to be returned and Mr. Mancini informed the court as such, India’s High Court put a ban on his leaving the country, alerting airports to look out for him, and denied his appeal for diplomatic immunity.

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The move did not go down well in Italy nor in India, where the opposition took the opportunity to lambast the government for allowing them to leave in the first place. But Congress leaders stood their ground. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a stern warning saying that any attempt by Rome to obstruct India’s legal process by not returning the marines would “violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representatives of a sovereign government to our Supreme Court … If they do not keep their word, there will be consequences for our relations with Italy.” Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi too came out strongly against Italy, where she was born and raised, saying no nation should take India for granted.

Rome’s agreement to return the marines on Thursday sparked outcries in Italy, where some have said that the government, reeling from the European financial crisis, was unwilling to alienate a trade partner. The row between the two nations began last year after the shooting on Feb. 15, 2012, when the governments disagreed where the marines should be tried. Italy has maintained that the shooting took place in international waters, where, if there is a crime, the accused are supposed to be tried in the country the vessel is flagged in. India, however, has insisted the shooting took place in a special economic zone, and the men should therefore be tried in India.

Many in India have applauded Congress leadership for the marines’ return, giving the embattled ruling party a small but palpable boost as it gets ready for national elections slated for next year.

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59 comments
sreejiththeone
sreejiththeone

Can someone confirm if they have actually arrived in India? And if yes, where are they?

civilliability
civilliability

after their economy,its now the turn of italian diplomacy to die an unnatural death.they have made themselves a laughing stock of the world.LOL.

Palbriz
Palbriz

And if you want to be treated like a respectable Nation abolish death penalty, it is barbaric.

Palbriz
Palbriz

@shama If a fisherman points is boat at high speed towards a big cargo ship to deviate its route and save his net in waters infested by pirates that can easily be mistaken for an attack. And if there are international agreements to have marines on board of these ships it is only because India and other countries like Somalia are unable to keep their sea safe. There are also precise rules of engagement and everybody at sea should be aware of these rules. A warning was certainly given before opening fire. Italian soldiers don't go around the world shooting at innocent people for no reason. If the fishermen were not informed or they simply thought that saving their nets was more important then there was negligence on their part as well as indian authorities. Those soldiers simply followed instructions in a really dangerous environment. That has nothing to do with racism, colonialism or anything of that sort. The Italian Government should refund the families of the deceased and that was already done as fa as I am concerned, a symbolic very short prison sentence could also be issued and everybody should be happy with that. If you all care so much about the lives of those fishermen why do you let thousands of people starve to death in the streets of India every day? It seems to me that human lives are valued less than cows in your country except when it comes to foreign citizens when you can make it a matter of principle so that your politicians can keep fooling the public opinion boasting their firmness in front of a western nation. It's just dirt.


Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/03/24/a-win-for-india-as-italian-marines-return-to-stand-trial/#ixzz2Or79MsBP

Palbriz
Palbriz

A country that still has death penalty should not have the right to judge citizens of another state, the more so if these citizens are soldiers sent over to protect indian trade routes from pirates. Death penalty? Pirates? Holy cows? What the hell is this? You Indians are still in the 18th century! At least stop your really annoying, pathetic laments about racism of the white men.

prk1949
prk1949

The report  A Win for India as Italian Marines Return to Stand Trial, is highly misleading. Many people have felt that getting back the marines was a deal between the governments of India and Italy. Read my following columns in the DNA:

India botched up the marines DNA | Friday, March 15, 2013: (URL: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column_india-botched-up-the-marines-issue_1811368

India has again bungled the marines issue DNA | Tuesday, March 26, 2013    (URL:  http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column_india-has-again-bungled-the-marines-issue_1815747 )        

shama
shama

Who's jurisdiction  is it, where they should be tried , under what laws - national and international , remains to be resolved through appropriate legal proceedings . The Italian marines will be given all legal help and they can appeal to international courts for the same if they are unhappy with the proceedings. But i'm amazed at the reactions in Italy - such double standards - what makes them decide that lives of their marines is in any way more valuable than those of the two fisher men ? - because they are poor and belong to a developing country? And that country cannot be relied upon and the laws of that country need not be respected- such hypocrisy and disgusting racism. I would have understood still if this hue and cry had come after Indian courts had pronounced a ruling or a verdict - whether on the question of adjudication or the sentence to be given  which was deemed unacceptable to Italian citizens .

I just dont understand what this hue and cry is about. If this incident had happened in the reverse, i.e  Indian Marines had by chance shot italian fishermen, they would never have seen the light of the day again. Forget about them being returned to India to be tried by Indian courts. 

So basically it is that a white man, and someone as exalted as a marine cannot be tried at par with any other colored man in a developing country for he is above their laws and his life is above those of poor  fishermen.  To the extent that Italians are ready to go back on their words, never mind that they pride themselves on that , to save themselves from such an eventuality. 

Have you even given Indian courts and Indian laws a chance yet ? There has been no death penalty for more than decade except in very few cases, rarest of rare crimes . No Indian court would give them death penalty for accidental shooting , if so established . BUt whatever else, those marines are certainly not heroes for us , and niether are the lives of those fishermen ,any less valuable for us . If the marines are responsible for a criminal act commited when they were on duty due to negligence at the very least, they ought to be punished for the same



mohantry
mohantry

- If Death Penalty has never been a deterant Then why did you shoot Indian Fishermens and had given them death penalty ?
- I Fully Agree with you that your foreign minister is also a cosmic idiot like you peoples in italy.
- India never asked Italy to protect its shipping routes , we do not believe italy(cosmic idiot) have such potential.
- Case is prejudice and don't jump the gun and give the verdict for yourself you shylock
- On what primafacei evidence you are telling indian authorities subtracted,divided,multiplied,added or exponent of evidence ?
- Yes its true only terrorist countries and its people will kill innocent unarmed fishermens, thats absolutely fair Mr.cosmic idiot
- You call rapes in different names such as dating,Brothel,porn videos etc , Animals does'nt rape,it happens only in humanitarian culture when restrictions
and regulations imposed on man kind.It is something dicussed inside culture you don't understand it either. Rapists never gets convicted bcz ruler is from italy!!!
- All creatures in this world are holy ? Will you disagree ? Ask your Pope !!!
- I'm not surprised either!!!

SahuSatyen
SahuSatyen

@TIME @TIMEWorld why it's touted a victory whereas it was more keeping your dignity intact. UPA is doomed to lose regardless.

ZeeTweets93
ZeeTweets93

%s It's more due to economic power than diplomatic power. %s

mohantry
mohantry

Its a twin Win for Italy  Helicopter deal and killer mariners loop hole escape deal !!! I believe this story writer will be very well aware of the happenings in future in these  deals !!! I Cherish and remember those days ,once upon a time in India there was a king who killed his own son in the same way his son killed a calf accidently while travelling in a chariot ( Manu Needhi Cholan ) , Nomad Italians would be hunting some pigs in the forest during that contemporary period!!! Now it is a curse that we are ruled by Italy!!!

Palbriz
Palbriz

A country that still has death penalty is barbaric and should not be granted the right to judge citizens of another country. 

232franco
232franco

I read your comments, I'm really amazed, I'm sorry, but in what reality do you live? In the rest of the world this is seen opposite case for the following reasons: 1) india, such as Italy have signed the same treaties, just read them to realize the reality; 2) The two Marines are protected by immunity functional, as on Italian ship on the high seas and under the jurisdiction of the Italian criminal, acted on behalf of and according to the Italian State and then the dispute is between states. The Italian ship was in international waters, as revealed by GPS, and 3) within 24 miles, 12 +12 competence of the coastal State is only for certain crimes "smuggling, slavery etcc." Convention of Montego Bay "), 4) the legitimate use of weapons comes only after visual warnings and radio for the respect of distance (protocol of engagement) 5) the Marines do not go around the world killing people at random; 6) A civilized country, not allows piracy in front of its coasts, does not attract in its port a ship under false pretenses; does not violate the law of the sea and the extraterritoriality of the ship ... makes us participants in a joint committee to investigate India / Italy, especially the ballistic weapons ... evidence subtracted from the Italian authorities for a trial in Italy as required by Italian law ... evidence removed from the UN International Tribunal for the dispute between the States ... but what are we talking about? In India, corruption is widespread, who ensures that the victims were really fishermen?

MacroViewpoints
MacroViewpoints

@CChristineFair actualy self-inflicted loss for India-why wr they let return in 1st place?bcaus they wr italian;india hs conditions frmitaly

cmfailte
cmfailte

I dont think it is a win of India. Its plan to cheat Indian people, indian leaders already promised that they wont get death penalty, that is only imprisonment. According to the contract between Indian and Italy the marines have to go for imprisonment in Italy. Who will believe they will be in Prison in Italy? its cheating of poor Indian people by Indian politicians, they already proved that how they can over come suprime count. When the Italy denied to send them back to India, stright away Indian leaders was planning to expel the high commission which  was blocked by suprime court. But in all means Politicians of India cheated Indians

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

Let me add, that the crime is against Indian fishermen.  In India DEATH penalty still exists.

And with increasing Cross-Border Terrorist activities from neighbourhood, India cannot think of abolishing Death Penalty.

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

Absolute false reporting.  Nobody applauded that Ms.Sonia Gandhi's Congress-I Party Led UPA Govt.

And this is just an eye-washer.  Indians (fishermen) were killed by europeans.  Isn't it enough that British ruled India and killed thousands and thousands of India brutally during the Independence war?  Even now if the situation is such that any European can come to the borders and kll Indians then it'll be a shame for the country.

The perpetrators should be hanged till death for killing.  They are murderers.  Instead, it's a shame they are being treated as Heroes.  

Govt-of-India might have succeeded in bringing those murderers for trial, but of no use.  

  1. They can't be given DEATH penalty. 
  2. They lead a life of luxury in Italian embassy during the trial.
  3. Italy demanded a fast trial in a special court.  So it'll all be over in a few days and the murderers will be sent back to Italy as if with State Honours.
  4. Hence, this is NOT a victory for India.