Italian Government today approached the Supreme Court challenging invocation of anti-terrorism law against its two marines, saying it "would tantamount to the Republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state".
The petition, which will be taken up by the Supreme Court on January 20, also sought direction to the Centre and NIA to expedite the proceedings in the case or discharge the marines, who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, on the ground of the delay in trial.
The petition also challenged invoking of anti-terrorism law SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf) Act saying it is against the order of the apex court which allowed proceedings only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.
"Invoking the anti-terrorism SUA Act would tantamount to the Republic of Italy being termed a terrorist state and acts of its organs, which were in repression of piracy, as being deemed as acts of terrorism, which is wholly untenable and unacceptable in the facts and circumstances of this case and in keeping with the comity of nations and international cooperation," the petition said.
The joint petition, filed by Ambassador of Italy Daniele Mancini along with the Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, submitted that the draft protocol of 2005 to the SUA convention expressly excludes the applicability of the convention to activities undertaken by the military forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties.
"The purported attempt by the Centre to unilaterally invoke the provisions of SUA Act is contrary to and in wilful disregard of the directions of this court," the petition said, adding that they came to know about invoking SUA on the basis of application filed by NIA in trial court.