Marine: Let courts decide

The killing of the two fishermen took place at sea off the coast of Kerala.

The Supreme Court, in granting permission to Italian marine Salvatore Girone to return to Italy subject to certain conditions and pending the verdict of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, has acted in the interest of the law in such cases. It had earlier shown Mr Girone’s comrade, Massimiliano Latorre, the same leniency after Mr Latorre had suffered a stroke in India.

It is best to allow the courts to exercise their wisdom and understanding of the law rather than let the matter become a handle for local politicians seeking popularity. On the diplomacy side, what leverage New Delhi can hope to obtain vis-à-vis Rome is far outweighed by the principles of justice. Girone will remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, even while in Italy, until the international tribunal rules on the limited question of who has jurisdiction over the marines.

The killing of the two fishermen took place at sea off the coast of Kerala. It is almost impossible to prove whether the shooting took place in waters under Indian jurisdiction. What powers India can exercise will vary according to the zone in which the marines’ ship was at the time of the incident (these zones are decided by their distance from the Indian coast and India’s powers in these zones also depend on what the ship was doing). There was never any point in letting matters develop into a diplomatic row. India must wait for the verdict of the international tribunal.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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