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Thursday 2 July 2020

Italy Should Compensate India in Marine Shooting, Arbitrage Says

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) — Italy should compensate India for damages incurred by the shooting of two fishermen by Italian marines off the coast of India in 2012, the Permanent Court of Arbitration said on Thursday.

The court said it was up to India and Italy to decide the amount of compensation warranted in the so-called Enrica Lexie case, which has soured relations between the two countries in recent years.

The marines, part of a military team on anti-pirate duty protecting the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie in 2012, say they mistook Indian fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots which accidentally killed the two fishermen.

Italian tanker Enrika Lexie seen anchored off coast of Kochi. Also seen is Indian coast guard ship Lakshmibhai.

The Enrica Lexie case is an international controversy. about a shooting that happened off the western coast of India. Shortly after the incident, the Indian Navy intercepted the MV Enrica Lexie and detained the two Italian marines. That has sparked a conflict of opinions over legal jurisdiction and functional immunity between the governments of India and Italy and has continued to cause diplomatic tension between the two nations.

After having been detained in India with no formal charges for two and four years, respectively, the two marines were finally released and returned to Italy. Meanwhile, an independent United Nations court was charged to resolve the conflict of jurisdiction. That was following a European Parliament resolution of January 2015, stating that “no charge has been brought by the Indian authorities” and that “Italian marines’ detention without charge is a serious breach of their human rights.”

While tangential, the incident drew attention to the practice of commercial shipping using armed guards. The controversy also had commercial implications between Italy and India.

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