The European Parliament hopes that diplomatic dispute between Italy and India over the prosecution of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 during anti-piracy operations will soon be settled, under Italian jurisdiction and/or through international arbitration, it says in a resolution voted on Thursday. Members also called for the marines to be repatriated, as their detention without charge is a “serious breach of human rights”.
In a joint resolution approved by a show of hands, MEPs expressed great sadness at the tragic death of the two Indian fishermen, but also grave concerns about the detention without charge of the marines, or maròas they are called in Italian.
“We have to ensure that the principles of international law are complied with and I think that the fate of the two marines will be linked to the credibility of our anti-piracy efforts” saidEU foreign affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini in a debate on Wednesday night.
MEPs stress that restrictions on the marines’ freedom of movement represent “a serious breach of their human rights” and ask for their repatriation. They also back the positions stated by Italy on the 2012 incident and therefore hope that “jurisdiction will fall to the Italian authorities and/or international arbitration”.
Italy asserts that the incident took place in international waters and that the marines should therefore be tried in Italy or in an international court; whereas India maintains that it can try the marines because it took place in coastal waters under Indian jurisdiction. So far, no charge has been brought by the Indian authorities.
Members finally ask Ms Mogherini to take all necessary steps to protect the two Italian marines and state their support for the efforts of all parties involved to work towards a mutually acceptable solution.
In February 2012, the two Italian marò (marines), on board an Italian commercial vessel as part of an international counter-piracy mission, fired shots fearing a pirate attack and two Indian fishermen were killed.