Two Italian marines being tried for murder in India will not return to the country as New Delhi does not have jurisdiction over the case, the Italian foreign ministry announced on Monday.
"Italy has always argued that Indian authorities have violated their obligations under international law...especially the principle of immunity from trial by the organs of a foreign state and the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The decision not to send Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who had been allowed to come home to vote and meet their families, back to India was taken by Italy's defence and justice ministries in consultation with the prime minister's office, it said.
The two marines have been at the centre of a year-long international row for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates off the southern Indian state of Kerala February 2012.
Italy claims the incident occurred in international waters and has been trying to get Latorre and Girone tried in Italian courts, while India contends the shooting occurred in its own territory.
India's Supreme Court last month allowed Latorre and Girone to return to Italy to vote in the February 24-25 national election. It had earlier allowed them to go home for Christmas.