Enrica Lexie Case: Foreign lawyers to appear for India

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New Delhi: India hired two foreign lawyers who are experts in international arbitration to challenge Italy's move to take the issue of two of its marines who are accused of killing fishermen of Kerala.

India hired Alain Pellet and R Bundy to represent its case before the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea (ITLOS) which will hear the case on August 10 and August 11.

italian marines

Pellet is a French expert in international law and former president of the UN International Law Commission while Bundy has 30 years of experience as counsel and advocate in many public international law litigations.

An Indian team, comprising Additional Solicitor General P L Narasimha, officials from Ministries of External Affairs and Home, would also be in Germany to assist the two hired lawyers.

ITLOS is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.

The tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognised competence in the field of the law of the sea.

Earlier, during hearing in the Supreme Court on July 13, Italy had made a plea before the court saying it has invoked international arbitration challenging India's jurisdiction to try two of its marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala three years ago.

Narasimha had told the apex court bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, that India, being a signatory to the International Convention, would participate in these arbitration proceedings.

The ASG said that India had jurisdiction to try the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, as the alleged offence had taken place in the Indian waters.

The incident has generated debates in the international legal community.

The incident took place in the Arabian Sea on 15 February, 2012, when two Indian fishermen on board a fishing vessel named St Antony were killed by shots fired by two Italian marines on board the Italian oil tanker, the Enrica Lexie.

The Italian marines were arrested and charged with murder under Sec.302 of the Indian Penal Code.

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