NEW DELHI – India's Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed an Italian marine involved in the shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen in 2012 to continue to stay in Italy until Sept. 30.
The Italian foreign ministry said it considers the Indian jurisdiction in the matter suspended since the International Tribunal for the Sea ruled that India and Italy should suspend all internal judicial actions while arbitration is pending.
A statement from the ministry said the tribunal in the Hague is expected to decide "in the next days" on Italy's request for provisional measures for a second marine staying in India to return to Italy until the arbitration procedure ends.
The court's decision extends a medical leave for Massimiliano Latorre that had been due to expire April 30.
India's Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar informed the court that the arbitration would be completed by December 2018, the Press Trust of India reported.
The two Italians are accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 while being assigned to anti-piracy duty aboard an Italian oil tanker off India's coast.
Italy argues the shooting occurred in international waters, that the fishermen were mistaken for pirates, and that the case should be heard in an Italian court. New Delhi insists it has jurisdiction and wants to charge both marines with murder. Italy took the case to international arbitration last June.
The two marines have had to stay in India without formal charges for most of the time since the shooting. Latorre was allowed to leave in September after suffering a stroke, while Sgt. Salvatore Girone has stayed in India.
Italy recently asked the tribunal to order India to free Girone. He is free on bail but has been ordered to remain in New Delhi since 2012, while the case is pending.