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Airports won't allow Italy envoy to leave

In an unprecedented move, India yesterday put airports across the country on alert to prevent Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country as per the Apex court’s orders. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid yesterday said the orders of the Supreme Court (SC) have to be complied with by all government agencies.


Daniele Mancini was issued notice in the wake of the Italian government going back on its undertaking to the court wherein it had assured the return of the two marines after their four weeks’ stay in their country. File Pic/AFP

He said the matter will come up before the apex court on Monday and after that the future course of action would be decided. “We will know then exactly what is the next step that should be taken,” Khurshid said. The union home ministry sounded the alert at airports a day after the SC restrained Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India without its permission.

The ambassador was issued notice in the wake of the Italian government going back on its undertaking to the court wherein it had assured the return of the two marines after their four weeks’ stay in their country. The SC ruling keeping Mancini in India appears to run contrary to diplomatic norms which guarantee the freedom of movement of foreign envoys.

Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 states that diplomats shall “not be liable to any form of arrest or detention”. But the Foreign Ministry has argued that “if the diplomatic agent willingly submits to the jurisdiction of a court, then that jurisdiction applies”.

Italy says that its decision was taken after India ignored its written offer for diplomatic negotiations, and because New Delhi does not have jurisdiction in the case. The SC on February 22 allowed the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala, to fly to Italy to vote in the February 24-25 national election. The two marines were to return by March 23.

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