India Bars Italian Envoy’s Exit

A signboard for the Italian embassy in New Delhi. Manan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A signboard for the Italian embassy in New Delhi.
Manan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

NEW DELHI (AP): India’s Supreme Court on Thursday barred Italy’s ambassador from leaving the country and demanded that he explain why his country is refusing to return two Italian marines to stand trial in the killing of two Indian fishermen, a government official said.

The court had allowed the marines to go home in February to vote in national elections with a written promise from Ambassador Daniele Mancini of Italy that they would return to stand trial. Italy announced Monday that it would not send them back.

The dispute has damaged relations between the countries, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India said there would be consequences if Italy did not back down.

The Supreme Court demanded Thursday that Italy explain why it was reneging on its promise, barred Ambassador Mancini from leaving India without its permission and insisted that he file his response by Monday.

The Italian marines were part of a military security team aboard a cargo ship when they opened fire on a fishing boat in February last year, killing the two fishermen. The marines said they mistook the boat for a pirate vessel.

Italy maintains that the shooting occurred in international waters and that it should have jurisdiction. India says the ship was in Indian territorial waters.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said Monday that Italy would not return the marines because India’s decision to try the pair there would violate their rights, in particular the principle of immunity for foreign state actors. The ministry said it would be open to international mediation.

Source: NY Times

More Reports & Resources

The Ministry of External Affairs Press statement on the Italian Marines issue
It was conveyed to him that India expects Republic of Italy as a country that is committed to the rule of law to fulfil the sovereign undertaking given by it to the Supreme Court of India…Full Text

India’s Airports Told to Not Let Italian Ambassador Fly
The Indian government on Friday alerted airports to block any attempt by the Italian ambassador, Daniele Mancini, to leave the country, escalating an already tense diplomatic dispute…Full Text

Terzi: Marines remain in Italy; International Dispute
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…Full Text

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. United Nations, Treaty Series
The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations outlines the rules of diplomatic law for the exchange and treatment of envoys between states. It has become an almost universally adopted Convention with 179 states party to it. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is fundamental to the conduct of foreign relations and ensures that diplomats can conduct their duties without threat of influence by the host government. Done at Vienna on 18 April 1961. Entered into force on 24 April 1964.

The convention ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions: (Article 3)

1.The functions of a diplomatic mission consist, inter alia, in:
(a) Representing the sending State in the receiving State;
(b) Protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law;
(c) Negotiating with the Government of the receiving State;
(d) Ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State
(Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations…Read More)

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