The Supreme Court on Monday ordered Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini not to leave the country till April 2, when the next hearing into the killing of two Kerala fishermen allegedly by two Italian marines is scheduled.
The apex court further indicated that all authorities should take appropriate steps on the order restraining the Italian envoy from leaving the country.
Mancini, meanwhile, told the apex court that he had complete immunity under the Vienna Convention.
The apex court said that it would not accept nor does it believe the ambassador’s statement, as he had lost trust of the court by going back on his word.
Against the backdrop of mounting pressure from the Indian government to send back the two marines to face trial for shooting a pair of fishermen off the Kochi coast, Mancini had earlier said Rome is not an enemy of New Delhi, and added that this case should be solved by consensual means.
"We are a friendly government to the government of India. We are not an enemy. We want to work with the Indian government in all possible manners. And, we have been consistent since day one. It is for us, I mean the supremacy of an international law, to be reassessed," Mancini told media.
“In these very months, and in the last few weeks, and even in the last few days, we tried and we put forward several proposals to the Indian authorities to solve this case by consensual means. This is what we still want to be doing," he added.
Asserting that there will be consequences if the Italian government does not respect its commitment and return the two marines to India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Parliament last week that there can be no two opinions about the actions that have been taken by the Italian government on the matter raised by the members.
"Our government has already made it clear that these actions of the government of Italy are not acceptable. They violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representatives of a sovereign government to our Supreme Court," said Dr Singh.
"Our government has therefore insisted that the Italian authorities respect the undertakings they have given to the honourable Supreme Court and return the two accused persons to stand trial in India. If they do not keep their word there will be consequences for our relations with Italy," Dr Singh added.
The two Italian marines, Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month’s election.
The two were also allowed to go home during Christmas. They returned to India on the expiry of their leave.
Image: Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini