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India locks horns with Italy on the nine year Marines issue in an international court

Italy pleaded with an international arbitration court to end the criminal prosecution of the two Italian marines accused of the killing two Indian fishermen fishing off the Kerala Coast in Indian territorial waters seven years ago under Indian law, an incident that led to soaring of relations between the two countries

Marines were innocent, Italian rep argued

The Italian representative who appeared on behalf of the Marines in the Netherland based Court argued that the marines were innocent and that any case involving them should be tried in Italian court of Law since the case involves active duty servicemen of their country. But India continues to disregard their contention about the innocence of the Marines.

Referring to the inordinate delay in the completing the prosecution against the two Italian marines in the Indian Court of law, the Italian counsel told the court that by the time the arbitration is completed they will have been subject to deprivation of liberty without any lawful charges for nearly eight years.

Fishermen killed in international waters known for pirate activity

He also alleged that the Indian fishermen who were shot and killed in international waters off India which is known for pirate activity. He also claimed that warning shots were fired in the air by the Marines to deter the boat that was on a collision course with the Oil tanker. Marines were positioned to safeguard the tanker.

The boat was in India’s exclusive economic zone, Indian counsel

The Indian counsel, who appeared for the deceased fishermen, however strongly refuted Italy’s contention that the incident took place in the international waters. The fishing boat he said was operating in the India’s exclusive economic zone. He also disputed the Italy’s claim that warning shots were fired before they attacked the fishermen.

The counsel dismissed Italy’s claim for jurisdiction to try the marines and said they should be tried in Indian courts under Indian law since the incident took place in Indian waters. The arguments were inconclusive.

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