International

Italian Marines Accused Of Killing Fishermen Headed Back To India For Trial

A December 22, 2012, photograph of Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone (L) at Ciampino airport near Rome. i i

A December 22, 2012, photograph of Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone (L) at Ciampino airport near Rome. Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images
A December 22, 2012, photograph of Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone (L) at Ciampino airport near Rome.

A December 22, 2012, photograph of Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone (L) at Ciampino airport near Rome.

Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

Two Italian marines are returning to India to face charges stemming from the 2012 deaths of two Indian fisherman, Italian officials announced Thursday.

As we recounted recently, disagreement over how to handle the case had resulted in a diplomatic confrontation between India and Italy.

The marines had previously been allowed to leave India to vote in Italian national elections in late February, with the promise that they would return to face charges afterward. On March 11, the Italian government reversed course and decided it would not send the marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — back to face justice. In response, India was to insist that the Italian ambassador could not leave India.

Here's how the AP explains the shooting that led to the charges:

The Italian marines were on anti-pirate duty aboard a cargo ship off India's coast in February last year when the fishermen, aboard an Indian fishing boat, were killed.

Italy has insisted the shooting happened in international waters during an international anti-piracy mission and Italy should have jurisdiction.

Bloomberg reports that talks between the two governments paved the way for the marines' return:

"The Italian government has requested and obtained from the Indian authorities written assurances as to the treatment of the marines and the protection of their fundamental rights," Prime Minister Mario Monti's office said in a statement.

As a result of the assurances, the marines agreed to leave Italy tonight to return to India by tomorrow, the original deadline for their four-week home-leave.

The two men will reportedly stay at the Italian embassy in New Delhi during the legal proceedings.

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