Mercoledì, 26 Settembre 2018

India marines 'will be back by Christmas'


(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, July 18 - Two marines facing murder charges
in India will most likely return home by Christmas, Foreign
Affairs Minister Emma Bonino said on Thursday.
"We are working on it and I am confident" Bonino said.
India is working as quickly as possible to resolve the case
of two Italian marines charged with murder, Bonino's counterpart
Salman Khurshid told ANSA Thursday.
"We are trying to solve obstacles in the context of our
laws," and how they relate to Italian laws, Khurshid said on the
sidelines of an art exhibition.
He added that he hoped for "a better understanding" between
the two countries: "I hope all these our efforts will lead to a
quick decision".
However, Khurshid refused to set a time frame for finalizing
investigation and trial of the marines.
The foreign ministers met in Budapest on Tuesday.
Both were in Hungary on other diplomatic business but found
time to meet.
India has said that it hopes to conclude an inquiry by the
end of August into the shooting and killing of two local
fishermen by two Italian marines, who allegedly mistook them for
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused by
Indian authorities of the double homicides of fishermen
Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki in February 2012.
Khurshid recently assured Italy that the marines would not
face the death penalty.
"They are not facing that possibility," he said.
He added that Indian law recognizes a mitigating factor
that offers hope that the pair may not be held criminally
Kurshid spoke of "a crucial mitigating factor, that
of good faith".
"If someone acts in good faith, there is no criminal
culpability," he said.
There have been conflicting reports on the penalties faced
by the men, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, since
they were returned to India after coming back home to vote amid
an escalating diplomatic row over Italy's initial refusal to
hand them back after the February 22 general election.
On April 22 India's supreme court handed the issue of their
coming trial to the government.
New Delhi decided to continue letting India's
anti-terrorism police lead a fresh probe.
Latorre and Girone are being investigated by the
anti-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA), and not the
criminal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
This was initially taken as suggesting the marines might
face a possible death sentence if convicted.
On April 16 Italy presented an affidavit challenging a
lower-court decision to assign the case to the NIA, which placed
the investigation under a severe 2002 law designed to fight
terrorism in international waters.
The 2002 anti-terrorism law calls for capital punishment in
the case of conviction for homicide.
After a drawn-out diplomatic row, Italy agreed to hand the
men back to Indian authorities in March despite contesting
India's right to jurisdiction, given the incident took place in
international waters.
India briefly stopped the Italian ambassador leaving the
country as the row escalated before Italy embarrassingly climbed
down on a refusal to honour a pledge to send the men back after
a trip home to vote in the general election.
They had previously returned, and Italy won praise for
keeping its promise, after a Christmas break.
Bonino, who replaced Giulio Terzi who resigned in a
government flap over the case, said she was certain an agreement
would be found because of India's great legal tradition and
respect for human rights.
"India is a great country, and one of rights. Our
countries need to listen to each other," she said.

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