The Enrica Lexie incident has been widely discussed on this blog and in the international media. So far the case has been heard by courts in the Indian state of Kerala and has been argued before the Supreme Court of India. This last court has had the matter under consdieration since September of this year after a full court argument and briefing. On 21 November 2012 the Supreme Court issued a Suo Motu Petition requesting additional briefing regarding a “Recent Firing Incident, Widely Reported in the Press, Resulting in the Death of Two Persons, Allegedly on Account of Use of Firearms by Some Private Security Personnel”. Nothing in the petition and order issued by the court directly identifies it with the Enria Lexie incident, and in fact, the order was issued in relation to another shooting incident in downtown new Delhi, but its content and reference could address issues raised by the Enrica Lexie case.
The Justices requested additional briefing from Ministry of Home Affairs for the Union of India on four issues: (1) what legal rules exist to govern the use of private security agencies; (2) what rules exist for the issuance of firearms to such companies’ personnel; (3) what rules govern the use of such firearms by said personnel and; (4) “what are the rights and duties of private security agencies under the law, particularly, vis-a-vis the criminal law of the land”.
From the point of view of International Law, the Enrica Lexie incident raised two major questions the jurisdiction of India over the events and the immunity of the Italian soldiers from said jurisdiction. If the responses to this order can be applied to the Lexie case, it would appear that the Court has found a basis to affirm India’s jurisdiction and is in a possition to look and see which national laws would govern the substantive case.
I will report more on the case as it develops.