Marines row: 'We want quick, expedited justice', says Italian Dy FM

New Delhi, Mar. 22 : Justifying the escalation of a standoff over the marines issue, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stefan de Mistura today said a potential diplomatic crisis has been avoided, and added that a special court should be established soon and the proceedings should be expedited.

"We want a special court to be established soon and the proceedings should be expedited," he told the media here.

Stefan de Mistura, who met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid here, said the news of death penalty became a crucial issue in Italy.

"The Indian Government assured us that there would be no death penalty," he added.

Asserting that globally soldiers are tried in their own country, the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said: "We still believe the marines should be tried in Italy."

The two Italian marines facing murder charges in the shooting of two Indian fishermen off Kerala Coast last year reached the national capital this evening.

The latest development took place after the Italian Government reversed its decision, and said late on Thursday night that it would return the two marines facing murder charges in the shooting of two Indian fishermen.

Italy's previous decision not to send the marines - Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone - to face trial in India triggered a diplomatic standoff.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Italy's Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini not to leave the country till April 2, when the next hearing into the killing of two Kerala fishermen allegedly by two Italian marines is scheduled.

The apex court further indicated that all authorities should take appropriate steps on the order restraining the Italian envoy from leaving the country.

Mancini, meanwhile, told the apex court that he had complete immunity under the Vienna Convention.

The apex court said that it would not accept nor does it believe the ambassador's statement, as he had lost trust of the court by going back on his word.

Asserting that there will be consequences if the Italian Government does not respect its commitment and return the two marines to India, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had earlier said that there can be no two opinions about the actions that have been taken by the Italian Government on the matter raised by the members.

"Our government has already made it clear that these actions of the Government of Italy are not acceptable. They violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representatives of a sovereign government to our Supreme Court," said Dr. Singh.

"Our government has therefore insisted that the Italian authorities respect the undertaking they have given to the honourable Supreme Court and return the two accused persons to stand trial in India. If they do not keep their word there will be consequences for our relations with Italy," said Dr. Singh.

The two Italian marines, Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's election.

The two were allowed to go home during Christmas. They returned to India on the expiry of their leave.

--ANI (Posted on 23-03-2013)

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