‘Italian marines should appear in uniform before Indian court’

Rome, April 16 (IANS/AKI) The two Italian marines facing trial in India for the killing of two Indian fishermen should wear their naval uniforms when they appear before the Supreme Court hearing, an Italian legal expert said.

“The reason for this is that they need to affirm that they are members of the military and therefore organs of the Italian state,” said Natalino Ronzitti, who teaches international law at the Rome-based International Affairs Institute.

“The big problem is that of jurisdiction,” he said.

“1Italy maintains that India does not have jurisdiction in the case and that the two marines are protected by immunity in their role,” he said. “It is essential to reaffirm this.”

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of shooting dead two Indian fisherman they mistook for pirates while protecting an Italian oil tanker off the coast of India’s Kerala state in February 2012.

The marines returned to India last month to end an escalating diplomatic standoff.

However, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi resigned in protest at the decision of the Italian government.

India is setting up a special court in New Delhi to try the marines and the Indian government has told Italy that the pair will not get the death penalty.

–IANS/AKI

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