Sun, 16 May 2021

New Delhi [India], April 9 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Republic of Italy to deposit a compensation amount of Rs 10 crore with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), after which, a decision would be taken to pay this amount to the families of two Kerala fishermen killed by Italian marines.

The three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian fixed the matter for further hearing on April 19 (Monday).

The Apex Court 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 victims' families.

Unnikrishnan, one of the lawyers for the victim's families told the Apex Court that he is yet to receive money.

The award is yet to be paid to the victims' families, and "no amount is paid as per the award yet," he said.

Sohail Dutta, the lawyer appearing for the Republic of Italy today, told the Supreme Court that it is ready to pay the amount of compensation to the two families of the Kerala fishermen killed in 2012, while complying with the award passed on May 2020, by the International tribunal.

The Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, senior law officer appearing for the Union of India (UOI), said that the dispute was settled last year as to who will prosecute them? The International tribunal gave the award that the trial will go on in Italy, and not in India. India agrees to this award and did not contest it further.

"The international Tribunal's award's order has been accepted by India," the SG said.

Indians are the best in negotiating money matters. They (Italy) have agreed to pay the money of compensation and the victims gave agreed to the compensation amount, the SG Mehta said.

The SG Mehta also today during the course of the hearing, agreed to the arguments of the victims' families lawyer, that the amount has not been paid yet to them (victims' families).

"Yes, the amount is yet to be paid to the victims' families," the SG Mehta said.

The Supreme Court was hearing today 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 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.

On February 15, 2012, the two Indian fishermen were killed off the coast of Kerala by the two Italian marines on-board the Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie. (ANI)

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