The Indian Supreme Court on 15 June 2021 passed Orders implementing the 21 May 2020 Award, issued by an International Arbitral Tribunal, requiring India to cease exercising criminal jurisdiction concerning the 2012 Enrica Lexie incident and over the two Italian Marines, while also mandating payment of compensation to the victim families.
Our colleagues Titus & Co., Advocates – with whom we have been collaborating for the past fifteen years (read more here) – represented the Republic of Italy and the two Italian Marines through all stages of the case: before the Sessions Court and the High Court in Kerala, the Supreme Court in India and in inter-State international arbitration proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), Hamburg and before an Arbitration Tribunal established under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.
The case was won essentially on the basis that that the Italian Marines are entitled to immunity in relation to the acts they committed during the 2012 Enrica Lexie incident and that India is precluded from exercising its jurisdiction over the Marines, and that being military officials, Italy alone had jurisdiction to try them in Italy in accordance with its laws.
This was one of the main arguments and stands taken by Titus & Co. on behalf of the two Marines from the date of the incident on 15th Feb 2012; a stand which finally was decisive in the case being decided in Italy’s favour by the Arbitral Tribunal at the Hague whose Award was implemented on 15th June 2021 by the Supreme Court of India.
The Supreme Court was pleased to dispose of all pending proceedings in respect of the Enrica Lexie dispute. More particularly, the Court expressly directed that:
- The Arbitral Award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on 21st May 2020 has been accepted by the Union of India and Republic of Italy.
- The Original FIR No. 2/2012 and the re-registered FIR No. R.C. No. 04/2013/NIA/DLI, and all proceedings emanating therefrom, stand quashed under Art. 142 of the Indian Constitution, including proceedings under the NIA pending before the Judge at Special Designated Court at the Patiala House Courts, New Delhi.
- Pursuant to the said Award, both nations mutually discussed and agreed on Italy paying a compensation amount of INR 100 Million over and above other decretal amounts (around INR 21.7 Million) as compensation for the heirs of the deceased. That such compensation was accepted by all parties including the heirs and the State of Kerala and was also found by the Indian Supreme Court to be reasonable and in the interest of heirs of the deceased.
- The compensation amount paid by Italy and deposited with the ISC Registry has been directed to be transferred to the High Court of Kerala for appropriate disbursement/investment of the amount in favour of the heirs of the victim families so that such amounts are not diverted/misappropriated.
- The bail bonds and bank guarantees for securing the presence of the Marines stands discharged and released.
- The Republic of Italy shall resume its criminal investigation in the events of 15 February 2012 and the Union of India, Republic of Italy and the State of Kerala shall cooperate with each other in pursuit of that investigation.
In the following weeks, the two Marines will be heard by the Prosecutors in Rome to proceed to the conclusions of the investigations that were commended in Italy.