Italy blocks marines' Indian murder trial

Italian marines Latore Massimiliano, left and Salvatore Girone arrive to appear before a court in Kollam in southern Kerala state, India, Monday, April 30, 2012. Italy wants the marines to be tried at home

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Two Italian marines, charged in India with the murder of two fishermen, will not be returning to India to face trial, Italy's foreign ministry says.

Rome says Delhi is violating international law by putting the marines on trial in India.

India's Supreme Court earlier allowed Massimilian Latorre and Salvatore Girone to go home for Christmas and to vote in elections.

The arrest of the marines has led to a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

'Mistaken for pirates'

The Italian foreign ministry says it formally notified India about its decision on Monday.

It says Delhi has not responded to Italian requests to seek a diplomatic solution to the case, and there is now a formal dispute between the two countries over the terms of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, according to Reuters.

India has so far made no public comments on the latest development, but this will surely be seen in India as a grave breach of trust, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome reports.

The Italian marines are accused of shooting the two Indian fishermen dead last February after allegedly mistaking them for pirates.

At the time the marines were guarding an Italian oil tanker off India's south-western coast.

Italy says that the Indian fishing boat had behaved aggressively and ignored warning shots from their ship, the oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie.

Rome wants its nationals to be tried in Italy, saying the incident took place in international waters and the Indians do not have jurisdiction in the case.

India says the fishermen, Selestian Valentine and Ajesh Pinky, were unarmed.

The marines have been out on bail and awaiting their trial. The Indian Supreme Court said in January they would be tried in a special court in Delhi.

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