ROME — Two Italian marines facing murder charges in India won't be returned there for trial, the Italian Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The sailors, who were part of an anti-piracy military security team, are accused of fatally shooting two Indian fishermen aboard a cargo ship whom they believed were pirates in February 2012.
India allowed the sailors, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to travel to Italy last month to vote in a national election and they were scheduled to return to Indian custody after Easter. The men had similarly been allowed to return home over the Christmas holidays.
But the ministry said in a statement Monday that India's decision to try the pair there would violate their rights, in particular the principle of immunity for foreign state actors, and they would not go back.
The ministry said it would be open to international mediation in the case.
The long fight over the marines' fate has strained ties between India and Italy, with Rome saying that they should be tried in an Italian court and that the shooting happened in international waters, which India disputes.
The Indian Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the men should be tried by a special court to be set up by the central government in consultation with the chief justice. The decision removed the case from the jurisdiction of the southern state of Kerala, near where the shooting took place.
The Italian statement said Italy's ambassador in New Delhi has informed the Indian government of its decision.