New Delhi [India], June 15 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the closure of all proceedings in India against two Italian Marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.
The top court said it decided to quash all proceedings against the marines after being informed that the compensation of Rs 10 crore for the families of the victims has been deposited in the registry of the Supreme Court by the Republic of Italy.
"The compensation amount of Rs 10 crore already paid by the Italian government, over and above is made, and is reasonable and adequate," a two-judge vacation bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Indira Banerjee and also comprising Justice M R Shah, said in its order.
The compensation is a mutually agreed amount between India and Italy in terms of the award fixed by an international tribunal.
"This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution," the apex court said in its order.
The Supreme Court passed the order after the Union of India (UOI) moved the SC seeking to close the case against the two Italian marines in India.
The two Kerala fishermen -- Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki -- were allegedly shot dead on February 15, 2012 by Italian mariners -- Latorre and Girone - who allegedly mistook the Kerala fishermen's boat 'St. Antony' for a pirate boat.
Justice Shah further today in his order said that the Republic of Italy shall now resume the criminal proceedings (against the two Italian marines).
He further directed that the compensation amount of Rs 10 crore, lying with the court be transferred to the Kerala High Court registry, out of which Rs 4 crore each will be paid to the next of the kin of the two fishermen while Rs 2 crore will be paid to the owner of the fishing vessel 'St Antony'.
"We order that a judge be appointed by the Kerala High Court to ensure that the amount of compensation paid to the victims are made available to their (deceased) legal heirs," the apex Court said, in its order today.
The top court also directed the Kerala government, Union of India and the Republic of Italy to ensure that the criminal proceedings against the two marines are carried out effectively in Italy.
The Supreme Court also said in its order that Italy must start criminal proceedings against the two Marines under its jurisdiction immediately and the case details and evidences will be provided by the Union of India and Kerala government to the Italy government to ensure that the case must go on against the two Italian marines.
The Supreme Court had in its last hearing on April 9, asked the Republic of Italy to deposit the compensation amount of Rs 10 crore, with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The apex court had asked the Centre to furnish the account details of the MEA so that the Republic of Italy can deposit the money in the account, and the SC can initiate the process of disbursing the money to the families of the victims.
The Supreme Court was hearing the Central government's plea to close criminal proceedings pending in India against two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration had in July, last year, had given its decision saying that the two Italian marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- will not be tried in India and in its judgment had ruled that India is entitled to claim compensation from Italy.
It had observed that the marines had violated international law and, as a result, Italy breached India's freedom of navigation, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. (ANI)