Italy for international law in marines' case



New Delhi: Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura on Friday described the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines as "accidental" and insisted that Indian courts did not have jurisdiction over the incident that occurred in international waters.

Mistura, who met the marines in prison yesterday, said that international law should have applied to the Italians and also expressed concern over the lengthy trial.

He said it should be borne in mind that the marines on the Italian commercial vessel were operating in a sensitive maritime region where six pirate attacks had been reported in the recent past.

"They had tried to send some signals. They shot in the water and fired warning shots, some of which went in the wrong direction," he said to a TV channel.

He described it as an "accidental killing" and an "unfortunate incident which everyone regrets."

Mistura said he respected the Indian judiciary but believed international law should apply in the case.

Yesterday, the Italian minister met the marines, Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gir, in a Kerala prison and also called on Archbishop M Soosai Pacckyam in Thiruvananthapuram this morning.

He told reporters earlier that Italy also shared the safety concerns of Indian fishermen and would take steps to ensure that ships from his country would not stray into territorial waters, where traditional fishermen mostly engage themselves.

Mistura said Italy respected Indian judicial system but insisted that the Italian marines should be judged by Italian courts.

"We fully respect the Indian jurisdiction but in this case it is the Italian law which will be judging them (marines) and punishing them," the Italian deputy foreign minister said.

Asked about future plans, Mistura, "I would go to the Supreme Court (of India). The Supreme Court will probably understand but it is up to them and we have a lot of respect for the Supreme Court."

"You (India) are causing a precedent for the sake of an accidental incident instead of trying to find a proper solution to it," he said.

PTI