By LE Staff

New Delhi, June 15, 2021: The Supreme Court has quashed all criminal cases against the two Italian marines who were accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 while being detailed on the vessel Enrica Lexie.

A Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah agreed to the government’s plea to stop the criminal trial and other proceedings against the marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, following a United Nation tribunal decision that the duo would be tried in Italy, The Hindu reported.

Directing that the compensation of Rs10 crore given by Italy must be transferred to the Kerala High Court, the apex court urged Italy to resume the criminal proceedings against the marines in compliance with the U.N. tribunal. It also said that India, Italy and Kerala must cooperate in the case. 

The Centre had deposited the Rs 10 crore compensation received from Italy with the Supreme Court Registry, NDTV reported. The Kerala government had told the court that out of ₹ 10 crore, ₹ 4 crore each will to be paid to the two victims’ families and ₹ 2 crore to the owner of the boat which was destroyed.

The Supreme Court asked the Kerala High Court to nominate a judge so that there is no misappropriation in the distribution of the compensation.

The court said there was a general consensus among the stakeholders in the case, and it too felt, that ₹10 crore, over and above the ex gratia amounts the families had received earlier, was a “reasonable amount of compensation”. Justice Shah, who read out the order, concluded that this was a “fit case to close all proceedings in India”.

The two Italian marines – Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre – were accused of killing two unarmed Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. The marines had appealed in the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court’s decision that they could be prosecuted in Kerala.

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague had held that India has no jurisdiction to carry out criminal proceedings against the Italian marines and that Italy has jurisdiction to probe the incident. The Tribunal also directed Italy to pay compensation to the victims’ families.

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