India-EU Summit:India presses for justice for killed fishermen

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Brussels, March 31: India and the EU have failed to arrive at any understanding on the four-year dispute involving two Italian marines accused of murdering two Indian fishermen, with the Indian side stressing the need for rendering due justice for the families of the deceased.

The joint statement, issued after the 13th India-EU Summit here late last night which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EU leaders, said the EU shares Italy's concerns to find an expeditious solution for the prolonged restriction of liberty of the two Marines.

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Both the sides stuck to their respective position and expressed their confidence in the arbitration procedure on the Italian Marines case currently underway in the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which India and Italy are strongly committed.

"Both sides will contribute to settling the case on this basis, enabling the cause of justice to be served for all those affected. The EU shares Italy's concerns to find an expeditious solution for the prolonged restriction of liberty of the two Marines. India stressed the need for rendering due justice for the families of the Indian fishermen who were killed," the statement said.

The statement came on a day when Italy asked the judges at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague to order India to release its detained marine Salvatore Girone, saying otherwise he risks four more years in India without any charges being made which would amount to "grave violation of his human rights".

The PCA is hearing oral arguments by the two sides. The arbitration "could last at least three or four years" which means that Girone risks "being held in (New) Delhi, without any charges being made, for a total of seven-eight years", Italy's representative had told the court.

Girone is one of two Italian marines accused by India of killing two of its fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in 2012. He has not been able to leave India, aside from a few brief permits, since the incident. The other marine, Massimiliano Latorre, is back in Italy after a stroke in 2014.

The Italian government has taken the marines case to international arbitration after repeated delays in the trial in India. The India-EU joint statement also said that "the EU hoped for a swift solution, through the due process of law in India in the case of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which concerns fourteen Estonian and six UK citizens sentenced to prison by an Indian court."

PTI 

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