India extends travel ban on Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini over missing marines who shot fishermen

 

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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower