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Terzi: Marines remain in Italy; International Dispute

New Delhi 11 March 2013

On the instructions of Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi, Italian Ambassador in New Delhi Daniele Mancini delivered a note verbale today to the Indian authorities regarding the case of Italian Marine sharpshooters Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, by means of which the Italian government notified the Indian government of the following:

Italy has consistently considered the conduct of the Indian authorities a violation of the obligations imposed by international law to which India is subject by virtue of customary international laws and treaties, in particular the principle of immunity from the jurisdiction of the bodies of any foreign State, and the rules of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.

Immediately following the Indian Supreme Court’s 18 January 2012 ruling, Italy formally proposed to the government of New Delhi a bilateral dialogue by which to seek a diplomatic solution to the case, as the Court itself had recommended when it cited counter-piracy cooperation between States in pursuance of UNCLOS provisions.

In light of India’s lack of response to the request advanced by Italy to activate such forms of cooperation, the Italian government acknowledges a dispute with India over the rules contained in the above-mentioned Convention and the general principles of international law applicable to the case.

For these reasons, by means of the note verbale delivered today by Ambassador Mancini, Italy formally conveys its willingness to the Indian government to reach an agreement on a solution to the dispute, even through international arbitration or legal ruling, and requests that India initiate the consultations envisaged in the UNCLOS convention.

Italy takes this opportunity to inform the Indian government that, given the formal acknowledgement of an international dispute between the two States, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone will not be returning to India upon expiration of the leave granted them.

This decision, which was also conveyed to the Indian Embassy in Rome and on which the two foreign ministers intend to meet, was taken in accordance with the Ministries of Defence and Justice and in coordination with the office of the Prime Minister.

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