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Italian Marines case: Build international pressure for fair trial in Italy, Kerala CM writes to PM


Thiruvananthapuram, July 04: Kerala on Saturday urged the Centre to make "earnest efforts" to build international pressure to ensure that a fair trial is held against the two Italian marines who shot and killed two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012.

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In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: "It is quite shocking that such a grave crime committed against ourcitizens is not being broughtto justice in our country.

The matter definitely deserved amore sensitive and cautious handling from the beginning and during the proceedings in the ITLOS (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea), as it involved the loss of life of two innocent Indians."

The Hague-headquartered Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal had on Thursday upheld the conduct of the Indian authorities in the Enrica Lexie case in which the marines were accused of killing two Indian fishermen.

While stating that India was entitled to get compensation in the case, the tribunal had held that the marines cannot be prosecuted due to the official immunity enjoyed by them.

Vijayan also sought Modi''s intervention in getting just compensation to the families of the fishermen,who had lost their lives while they had put out to sea to earn their livelihood.

Whatever be the technicalities of the International conventions, the decision has "resulted in added grief to the bereaved familiesand people of Kerala," Vijayan said and conveyed the state''s "strong feelings" on the issue.

If the tribunal''s award was not appealable, as stated by the central government in the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the centre should make "earnest efforts"to build international pressure for a fair trial in Italy,he said.

As two lives have been lost without any provocation from the victims, there is a need to bargain for an exemplary amount, the chief minister said.

"We should also keep our option of approaching the ITLOS within the stipulated timeof one year if getting adequate compensation is not possible through negotiations."

Though the perpetrators of the crime have escaped their trial in India, all other possible actions need to be taken, he added.

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