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Motion for a resolution - B8-0085/2016Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on EU citizens under detention in India, notably Italian, Estonian and UK citizens

19.1.2016 - (2016/2522(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Rolandas Paksas on behalf of the EFDD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0085/2016

Procedure : 2016/2522(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on EU citizens under detention in India, notably Italian, Estonian and UK citizens


The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Treaty on European Union,


– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,


–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the additional protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular Articles 9, 10 and 14 thereof,


– having regard to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,


- having regard to the statement by the spokesperson for United Nations Secretary‑General Ban Ki-moon of 6 January 2015 inviting the two countries – Italy and India – to try to reach a reasonable and mutually acceptable solution,

– having regard to all the statements by both the Commission and its Vice-President / the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the case of the Italian ‘marò’ Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone,


– having regard to the answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini on 18 February 2015,


– having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular that of 13 January 2015,


– having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,



A. Whereas on 12 October 2013 the motor vessel Seaman Guard Ohio was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the Tuticorin coast of the state of Tamil Nadu; whereas the Indian police detained 10 crew members of the vessel and 25 anti-piracy security guards (Estonian, UK and Ukrainian citizens); whereas the vessel is owned by US-registered maritime security firm AdvanFort International and used as an accommodation platform for counter-piracy guards between transits on client commercial vessels transiting high-risk areas in the Indian Ocean;


B. Whereas on 30 December 2013 the charge sheet was presented by the state prosecutor of Tamil Nadu, and according to the lawyers representing the security guards, the security guards were accused of illegally importing weapons to India in violation of the Arms Act; whereas all Estonian and UK members of the crew, in prison until 5 April 2014, were released on bail; whereas on 26 August 2014 the Indian police force asked the Supreme Court of India to consider an appeal; whereas it has not yet been decided whether the case will be admitted by the Indian Supreme Court and the date when the hearing before the judges will take place has not been determined;


C. Whereas despite the decision of the High Court, the Estonian and UK citizens do not have access to their documents and personal belongings and they cannot leave India; whereas their presence in India is not necessary for the appeal procedures; whereas the passports and belongings of the men remain in the possession of the Indian police;


D. Whereas six former British soldiers and 14 Estonian guards working for a private “anti-pirate” security company have been sentenced to five years in prison in India after a court upheld a conviction for possession of illegal arms;


E. whereas on the night of 15 February 2012 the Italian commercial vessel Enrica Lexie, came across the fishing trawler St Anthony off the coast of Kerala, India; whereas six Italian marines (marò) were aboard the Enrica Lexie to protect the ship from potential attacks by pirates; whereas, fearing a pirate attack, warning shots were fired at the approaching boat, and two Indian fishermen, Valentine alias Jelastine and Ajeesh Pink, were tragically killed;


F. whereas on 19 February 2012 members of the Indian police force boarded the vessel, confiscated the marines’ arms and arrested the two who had been identified as those responsible for opening fire on the fishing boat; whereas, with both sides citing international law, Italy asserts that the incident took place in international waters and that the marines should be tried in Italy or in an international court; whereas, however, India maintains that it can try the marines because the incident took place in the Indian economic exclusive zone;


G. whereas these events have caused diplomatic tensions, given the legal uncertainty surrounding the mentioned cases;


H. whereas even after almost for years, charges have still not been brought by the Indian authorities in respect with the said Italian marò, while the same are still under restriction of their personal liberty;


I. whereas the fact that one of the Italian marò has been temporary permitted to stay in Italy, while the other is not detained in jail cannot considered as excluding a status of deprivation of personal liberty;


1. Expresses great sadness at the tragic death of the two Indian fishermen and extends its condolences to their families;


2. Strongly condemns any act related with the traffic or illegal importation of weapons;


3. Stresses that the consequences of the event of 15 February 2012 and 12 October 2013 should nevertheless be treated strictly within the rule of law, fully respecting the human and legal rights of those allegedly involved;


4. Is deeply worried by the situation violating human rights and expresses its great concern at the lengthy restrictions of liberty, without charge of the said seamen; stresses that all the seamen must be immediately repatriated; stresses that the lengthy delay and restrictions on the seamen’s freedom of movement are unacceptable and represent a serious breach of their human rights;


5. Regrets the manner in which the issue has been handled and supports the efforts of all parties involved to work urgently towards a reasonable and mutually acceptable solution in the interest of all the families as well as of the countries involved;


6. Reproaches the huge and grave delay with which the Italian Government recurred to arbitral proceedings on the case, notwithstanding a four year longstanding diplomatic impasse;


7. Welcomes the institution of arbitral proceedings under Annex VI of the Convention of the Law of the Sea, by the Italian Government by notification made by it, on the 26 June 2015;


8. Welcomes the sought of provisional measure by the Italian Government, pending the institution of the Arbitral Tribunal, according to the said Annex VII;


9. Commends the prompt issues of provisional measures by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, but strongly regrets the content of the said measures: by freezing the criminal proceedings against the two Italian marò while at the same time rejecting the request of taking all measures necessary to ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines be immediately lifted, the said International Tribunal paradoxically achieves the effect of freezing also their status of deprivation of personal liberty;


10. Strongly recall that this way, relying on the Order of the said Tribunal in the “Arctic Sunrise” Case, that international standards of due process would be violated;


11. Stresses that that considerations of humanity must apply in the law of the sea as they do in other areas of international law, as stressed by the same International Tribunal (see M/V “SAIGA” (No. 2) (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines v. Guinea), Judgment, ITLOS Reports 1999, p. 10, at p. 62, para. 155 and The “Enrica Lexie” Incident, (No. 24) (Italy v. India), Provisional Measures, p. 24, para 133);


12. Is aware of the consequences that the lengthy restrictions on liberty entails for the two marò and their families; of the urgency of the issue - that is both humanitarian and legal -, being this status quo one where fundamental rights are suffering irreparable damage on a daily basis and that every additional day in which a person is deprived of these rights must be regarded as one day too many;


13. Regrets that India strongly objects to the allegation of Italy that it has violated international standards of due process;


14. Recalls that the issue has the potential to impact the overall European Union-India relations and has also a bearing on the global fight against piracy, to which the EU is strongly committed;


15. Asks, considering the positions taken by the Member States involved, that jurisdiction will fall to either the European national authorities or international arbitration;


16. Reminds the Commission of the importance of stressing the human rights situation in the framework of relations with India and hence of considering further measures to facilitate a positive resolution to the case;


17. Recalls that the rights and security of EU citizens in third countries should be safeguarded by the National and EU diplomatic representations, which should work actively for the defence of the fundamental human rights of EU citizens in detention in any third country;


18. Encourages the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to take any necessary action to protect the two Italian marines in order to achieve a quick and satisfactory resolution to the case;


19. Hopes that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea modify provisional measures, pursuant to article 290, paragraph 5, of the Convention, ordering India to take all measures necessary to ensure that restrictions on the liberty, security and movement of the Marines be immediately lifted, considering the urgency of the situation so requires”;


20. Recalls India’s obligation to respect the immunity of the Italian Marines as State officials exercising official functions, according to which it must cease to exercise any form of jurisdiction over the Enrica Lexie Incident and the Italian Marines, including any measure of restraint with respect to Sergeant Latorre and Sergeant Girone;


21. Recalls India’s obligation to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is party, having acceded to it on the 10 April 1979, in particular Articles 9, 10 and 14 thereof and condemns India's violation of the said Articles, in particular the right not to be subject to arbitrary detention, the right to be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for arrest and to be promptly informed of any charges against him, the right to be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and to be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release, the right for all persons to be equal before the courts and tribunals and be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, in the determination of any criminal charge against him, and the right to be tried without undue delay; accordingly, strongly urges India to respect the right recognized by the said articles, with respect to the abovementioned seamen;


22. Invites India to support the Montreux Document of 17 September 2008 that contains a set of good practices designed to help states take measures nationally in order to fulfil their obligations under international law;


23. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Member States, the United Nations Secretary-General, and the President and Government of India.