India and Italy may soon sign mutual legal assistance treaty in criminal matters
India and Italy are moving closer to signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and prevention of crime, including transnational organized crime and terrorism, have officials said.
The two countries have already held two rounds of negotiations in which agreed minutes were signed, paving the way for the upcoming finalization of the MLAT by New Delhi and Rome.
The minutes were signed during the second series of meetings held recently by the Joint Secretary (Coordination and International Cooperation) of the Ministry of Interior, Saheli Ghosh Roy, and Stefano Opilio, Director General of International Affairs and international judicial cooperation, Italian Ministry of Justice. .
The talks are continuing in the right direction and the MLAT between India and Italy is expected to be signed soon, an official familiar with the development said.
An MLAT is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of collecting and exchanging information for the purpose of enforcing public or criminal laws.
This assistance includes the examination and identification of people, places and things, transfers of custody and assistance in immobilizing instrumentalities of criminal activity.
Negotiations between India and Italy for the MLAT have started following improved diplomatic relations between the two countries. Ties between the two countries were previously strained due to the murder of two Indian fishermen by two Italian marines off the coast of Kerala in February 2012.
Two unarmed Indian fishermen were shot dead aboard the fishing vessel St Antony by two Italian marines – Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre – aboard the tanker Enrica Lexie after mistaking the fishermen for pirates.
The defendants were freed after a court order that resulted in Italy depositing 10 crore rupees as compensation to the victims in June 2021.
The compensation is an amount mutually agreed between India and Italy in terms of an award by an international tribunal.
The Home Office is the nodal ministry responsible for entering into Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements which are designed to facilitate the broadest measures of mutual assistance in the investigation, prosecution and prevention of crime, service of subpoena and other judicial documents, execution of warrants and other judicial commissions and search, restraint, confiscation or forfeiture of proceeds and instrumentalities of crime, another official said.
These agreements are important in the fight against transnational organized crime, cross-border terrorism, crimes and other serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering, counterfeiting of currency and smuggling of arms and weapons. explosives.
India has so far signed these treaties with 44 countries including Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cambodia, Egypt, France, SAR Hong Kong, Iran, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Africa South, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
India and other SAARC countries signed a convention on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters in 2008.
India has since ratified the convention, but a few other SAARC countries have yet to sign. The convention aims to strengthen regional cooperation in criminal investigations and prosecutions.
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