New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the stay of Italian Marine Massimiliano Latorre, who along with his colleague Salvatore Girone is accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, in Italy till April 30 and asked the government to apprise it of the status of international arbitration proceedings in the case.
The bench, comprising Justices A R Dave, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy, also inquired from senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the marines, about media reports saying that Latorre would not be sent back to India by Italy.
"These are stray reports," Sorabjee said. The court also asked the government to apprise it of the status of international arbitration proceedings to be undertaken in pursuance of directions of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the matter on April 13, the next date of hearing.
On August 26 last year, it had suspended all court proceedings here in pursuance of an interim order of the ITLOS asking India to maintain "status quo" in the case. While allowing the joint request of India and Italy, the court had said the proceedings would remain stalled till the jurisdictional issue about which country has the right to conduct the trial was decided through international arbitration.
A five-member tribunal (ITLOS Annex VII arbitral tribunal) would be set up, probably in a month to decide the issue of jurisdiction, the Centre had said then. 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 court, in August last year, had extended the stay of Latorre, who underwent a heart surgery in Italy, by another six months. Latorre, who had 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.
The complaint against the Italian marines was lodged by Freddy, the owner of the 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.