New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Friday said the government might appeal to the Supreme Court if the special court set up to try the Italian marines facing trial for killing two Indian fishermen rejects Indian jurisdiction in the matter.
In an interview with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme, he said: “Do we have a choice but to accept what the court decides,” and added that they might appeal to the apex court.
“The law will prevail in normal course, let it decide,” Khurshid said.
He also said the government would inform the Supreme Court about the “clarifications” given to Italy that the two marines would not face the death penalty.
“The law of the land is very clear, and only in rarest of rare cases is death penalty given,” said the minister.
Asked about Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura’s claim that the Enrica Lexie ship had been “lured into Indian waters” by Kerala Police, Khurshid said this was not stated by Italy before the Supreme Court and the government was not aware of it.
The two Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were sent back to India last week after a two-week diplomatic tug-of-war between the two countries. They face trial in India for killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast last year, mistaking them to be pirates.
Khurshid praised the Italian government for being “very sensible, been more than fair” for its handling of the case.
“They took time to be persuaded this is how two responsible governments should behave,” he said, adding that both Italy and India had done a “fair and sensible job”.’
The Supreme Court had Feb 22 allowed the marines to go to Italy for four weeks to cast their vote in the general elections there. However, on March 11, Rome had informed New Delhi that the two would not be returning to stand trial.
This prompted the Indian Supreme Court to order the Italian ambassador to New Delhi not to leave the country which, in turn, led to Rome to make a U-turn and send the servicemen back.