Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paolo on Sunday said his country respects the Supreme Court and expressed hope that the case of two Italian marines facing trial in the ‘Enrica Lexie’ issue would be solved as per national laws and international justice.
“We respect, and I do respect, the Supreme Court of India. We are confident that the case will be solved according to national laws and international justice,” said Paolo, who arrived in Kochi on Saturday night to meet the marines - Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone. He was accompanied by Italian Ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice, Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo and Defence attache Franco Favre.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the marines, the Minister voiced confidence that the marines would be able to visit their homes for Christmas.
The marines recently moved a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking permission to visit their families in Italy for Christmas. The High Court will consider the plea on Tuesday.
“No nation more than India understands the value of celebrating Christmas. For us, Christmas is the festivity. So you understand how much we want them to go back, to be with their families and parents. I am confident that the Indian people will understand,” Paolo said.
“I came here to meet the marines. They are in active duty. It is my responsibility to come. They are still on a mission; they are supporting the mission. I came here from Afghanistan where I met other soldiers. In the same way, I came here to say hello,” he said. The Minister, who arrived at Kochi from Herat in Afghanistan, left for Italy without meeting other officials of the Central Government.
The marines onboard Italian merchant vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ were taken into custody after they shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Alappuzha coast in February this year. They are currently facing trial in India.