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Marines: Italian government press release

With regard to the developments in the case of the two Marines, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has made the following points:

1. VIOLATION OF DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITIES: The order of the Supreme Court which forbids the Italian Ambassador to leave the Country represents an evident violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which codifies universally recognized principles. We also formally continue to uphold this principle, which is crucial for relations among States, and is also a fundamental principle of both customary and conventional law, as the International Court of Justice has constantly affirmed.

2. PREVALENCE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW: Italy continues to believe that the case of the two Marines should be resolved in accordance with International law. To this end we have proposed that settlement of the case be submitted to arbitration or to another judicial mechanism.

3. GROUNDS OF OUR DECISION: Our request to Indian Authorities to start consultations under art. 100 and 283 of UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has as of yet received no reply. Such a path was also contemplated by the sentence of the Supreme Court of India of 18 of January and previously proposed by Italy on several occasions. Ultimately, our additional proposal of consultations among legal experts was also rejected by India. The above India’s position – to our surprise and regret – has modified the previous scenario as well as the conditions for the signing of the affidavit. In the changed circumstances, the return to India of the two Marines would have violated our constitutional provisions (respect for the natural judge preordained by law, prohibition to extradite our own citizens; articles 25,26 and 111 of our Constitution). Our timely and repeated rogatory letters in order to pursue in Italy the ongoing criminal proceedings have so far received no reply. For these reasons the Italian Government, long after striving to achieve an amicable settlement of the issue – in which we still firmly believe – , reached the decision to formalize the initiation of an international legal dispute.

4. DIALOGUE Italy reiterates its resolute wish to arrive at a solution to this matter, sparing no effort to promote any due consultation. The above, consistently with the friendly relations that we want to maintain with India, in the awareness of the importance of India, both in terms of our bilateral relations as well as of the global responsibilities and challenges that we share.

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