The hearing on Italy’s request to allow the Italian marine Salvatore Girone (who is still being kept in India) to return to Italy for the time of the arbitration proceedings has opened today at the International Arbitration Court in Hague. The above mentioned proceedings concern jurisdiction over the case of Girone and Massimiliano Latorre who are charged with having killed two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. Ambassador Francesco Azzarello, representative of the Italian government, spoke up after the President of the arbitral Tribunal had opened the trial.
If we consider that the arbitration proceedings on the Marines case “may last at least three or four years – the diplomat said – Salvatore Girone risks being held in Delhi, with no indictment, for a total of seven or eight years, which would be a serious violation of his human rights”. That is why the rifleman “must be allowed to go home until the final decision” of the arbitration is taken.
According to Azzarello, “the only reason why sergeant Girone is not allowed to leave India is because he represents the guarantee that Italy will send him back to Delhi in case of a trial is held in the future. But a human being cannot be used as a warranty for a State’s conduct”. Italy, he said, has already expressed “its commitment, and will reiterate it in the most solemn way, to abide by any decision of the Court with regard to sending Girone back to India if, at the end of the proceeding, arbitration recognizes Indian jurisdiction”.
Salvatore Girone “is forced to live thousands of kilometers away from his family, with two little children, and is deprived of his liberty and rights. Damage to his rights concerns Italy, which bears severe and irreversible injury because of the persistence of his detention and of the exercise of jurisdiction over an Italian State Body”. India, he added, “does not even respect the basic principle of due process”, that is to say, “formulating an indictment.”