‘Enrica Lexie’ Case (Italy v. India)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India-Italy relations; International laws and policies
About Enrica Lexie case:
- It is an ongoing international controversy about a shooting that happened off the western coast of India.
- On 15 February 2012, two Indian fishermen on board Indian fishing vessel were killed off the coast of Kerala after they were fired upon by Italian marines on board the Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie.
- Italy had approached the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in 2015 and the matter was heard by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2019.
- Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) tribunal has now ruled that Italian marines held “diplomatic immunity” and would face a trial in Italy, not India.
- However, PCA tribunal found merit in India’s counter-claim that the marines on board “Enrica Lexie” had violated the freedom of navigation rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by shooting at fishing boat and should pay compensation to the victims’ families, the boat owner and crew members.
- The tribunal said India must cease to exercise its jurisdiction.
Important value addition:
- The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention.
- The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
- The PCA is not a court in the traditional sense but provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise out of international agreements between member states, international organizations or private parties.
- The PCA is constituted through two separate multilateral conventions and is not a United Nations agency, but the PCA is an official United Nations Observer.