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Court transfers Italian marine trial to New Delhi

Rejects bid by Rome to move case to Italy reporter, Thiruvananthapuram

January 18, 2013

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India’s Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by the Italian government to move a murder case against two of its marines to Italy.    

Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone are accused of killing two fishermen while guarding an oil tanker off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year.

The marines say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.

Chief Justice Althamas Kabir also ruled that the Kerala state court did not have jurisdiction over the case since the incident took place in international waters.

The court said the incident took place 20.5 nautical miles from the Kerala coast and that state jurisdiction stretches only 12 nautical miles.

Instead, he said the case was a federal matter and the marines would be tried by a special court in New Delhi.

The ruling follows a petition filed by the Italian government which questioned Indian jurisdiction over the case.

The court’s decision was criticized by some legal observers and relatives of the dead fishermen, who said proper justice would likely not be served if the case goes to New Delhi.

Taking the case away from Kerala will help the accused, said NK Premachandran, a former state minister and a Kerala lawyer.

“It will weaken the case and the marines will likely get away with minor punishment," he told

Dora Jelestian, the widow of one of the fishermen, also expressed disappointment over the court ruling.

"They killed my husband. We will not get him back. Our loss is forever. I've nothing more to tell you," she said. 

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