India extends travel ban on Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini over missing marines who shot fishermen
Monday 18 March 2013
The Indian Supreme Court today extended a travel ban on the Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini “until further notice,” escalating the diplomatic stand-off between the two countries.
The Court had previously placed a ban on Mr Mancini’s travel on Thursday. The Indian government sent a notification to all airports and seaports, telling them to bar Mr Mancini from leaving the country.
Mr Mancini had appeared before the court on Friday to claim diplomatic immunity. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, ambassadors are required to be given freedom of movement.
The Supreme Court rejected this argument, saying that it had “lost trust” in Mr Mancini. The Court further claimed that the ambassador had waived his diplomatic immunity by acting as guarantor for the return of the two Italian marines charged with shooting two Indian fishermen in February last year.
The two marines were allowed to return home in February for four weeks to vote in the country’s general elections. They had previously been allowed to return to Italy for Christmas, after which they returned. The marines were due to return on March 22, but Mr Mancini informed the Court that they would not be returning.
"A person who comes to court and gives an undertaking has no immunity," Chief Justice Altamas Kabir is reported to have said by local media.
Harish Salve, a former solictor-general of India, said that the Court is on solid legal ground despite international conventions on diplomatic immunity. “In my perception, where a diplomat is a petitioner and seeks relief, then he cannot seek sovereign immunity,” he said. Mr Salve likened it to when an ambassador sues someone in his host country. “If he loses, he can not say he will not pay the money he owes by citing sovereign immunity.”
Mr Salve was legal counsel for the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, until last Monday. He withdrew after hearing on the evening news that Italy had notified the Indian government of its decision not to return the two marines. “It was an issue of conscience, but it is also not how you treat your legal counsel.”
The marines were stationed on the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie as a defence against pirates. The marines allegedly opened fire on a fishing boat they mistook for pirates off the coast of the southern state of Kerala, killing two. There have 12 pirate attacks off the western coast of India, where Kerala lies, since 2010, according to the International Maritime Bureau. The Bureau lists the shooting incident involving the two marines as an attempted attack.
They were detained by the Indian coast guard and imprisoned in Kerala.
The shooting sparked a diplomatic row, with both governments facing heavy political pressure at home.
The Italian government wants the marines to be tried in Italy, claiming that the shooting occurred in international waters. Under international law, killings on the high seas are tried in the country under whose flag the ship sails. The Indian government claims that the shooting occurred in its “exclusive economic zone” a nebulous zone between a country’s coastline and international waters.
The next court hearing is set for April 2.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...