Category Archives: Treaties

Negotiation and Signature of the Caen Agreement on the Delimitation of Territorial Waters and Maritime Jurisdiction between Italy and France

On 13 January 2016 the French authorities arrested the Italian fishing vessel Mina with the accusation of violating French territorial waters. The Mina was arrested during fishery of the red shrimp off the Ligurian coast, between Ventimiglia and the Mentone bay, before the Balzi Rossi reef, and was released upon payment of an 8300-euro deposit. Subsequently, the French authorities expressed regret for the arrest, conceding that it ensued from a wrongful determination of the boundary and jurisdiction over the area. The case spotlighted the on-going discussion between Italy and France over the determination of their maritime boundaries and corresponding fishing rights in an area off Liguria and North of Sardinia, pending the ratification of the so-called Caen Agreement.[1] To date, Italy’s and France’s jurisdiction and fishing rights in the respective areas have been regulated de facto by the 1986 Bocche di Bonifacio Agreement[2] and the 1892 Convention on the fishing zone in the Mentone Bay.[3] More specifically, the 1892 Mentone Bay Convention has never entered into force and was negotiated as a modus vivendi providing for a cooperative ground between the countries, whilst leaving their positions legally unprejudiced. As to the Bocche di Bonifacio Agreement, it only determines French and Italian territorial waters in the Strait of Bonifacio. Though regulating the fisheries traditions and practices of French and Italian fishing vessels in a common zone West of the Strait, the Agreement fails to comprehensively establish the Parties’ maritime boundaries and fishing rights. The Caen Agreement, when in force, would thus constitute the first bilateral instrument to effectively determine the maritime boundaries between the two countries and serve as a basis to settle possible disputes.

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The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Lapo Pistelli, on the third-party effects of a bilateral treaty establishing an Exclusive Economic Zone

SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, 3rd PERMANENT COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS – EMIGRATION), XVII LEGISLATURE, 67th MEETING, 17 FEBRUARY 2015.

On 18 January 2015, two Italian trawlers (the Jonathan of Siracusa and the Albachiara of Cagliari) were arrested by the Egyptian coast guard about 36 nautical miles far from the coast of Egypt. The timely intervention of the Italian Government brought to the release of both the two vessels and their crews (except the catch) before a full day had passed since the incident. One month later, Mr Lapo Pistelli, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, intervened in the Senate and, commenting upon these facts, made a statement that might be read as implicitly accepting the third-party effects of a bilateral treaty aimed at delimiting two Exclusive Economic Zones in a highly contested area. In the words of the Deputy Minister:

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A Statement of the Undersecretary of State for Defence on MUOS

SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVII LEGISLATURE, 264th MEETING, 19 JUNE 2014

On 19 June 2014, the Undersecretary of State for Defence, Mr. Gioacchino Alfano, expressed the position of the Government on the project concerning the realization of the MUOS communication system in Niscemi, Sicily. The Minister of Defence had previously intervened, at that time before the Chamber of Deputies, on the same issues. In his statement, the Undersecretary highlighted that the MUOS project finds its foundation directly in the NATO treaties and subsequent agreements intervening thereon.

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The Minister of Defence Takes Position on the Storage of Nuclear Weapons on the Italian Territory and the Obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 175th MEETING, 17 FEBRUARY 2014.

On 17 February 2014 the Minister of Defence, Mr. Mario Mauro, reported in writing to the Chamber of Deputies on a request for information concerning the types of nuclear weapons stored in Italy, their location and the compatibility between such practice and the obligations deriving from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which Italy is a party. Minister Mauro stated the following:

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The Italian Position on the Ratification and the Implementation Prospects of the Protocol of the 1991 Alpine Convention in the Field of Transport

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 173rd MEETING, 13 FEBRUARY 2014.

Italy was the last among the countries concerned to ratify the Protocol on the Implementation of the 1991 Alpine Convention in the Field of Transport (Law no. 196 of 2012, deposited in Vienna on 7 February 2013) but it contextually adopted and filed an interpretative declaration which prompted the apprehension of the Austrian and German authorities as to whether this amounted to a formal reservation by Italy, and cast doubts on Italy’s real intention to implement the Protocol. Following up on the objections raised by Austria and Germany, the Undersecretary of State for infrastructures and transport, Mr. Rocco Girlanda, clarifies the Italian position on this issue in the following terms:

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The Work of the ILC on Subsequent Agreements and Subsequent Practice in the Interpretation of Treaties

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SIXTH COMMITTEE (LXVIII Session), DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL LAW COMMISSION ON THE WORK OF ITS SIXTY-FIFTH SESSION (UN Doc. A/68/10), 29 OCTOBER 2013.

On 29 October 2013, before the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, Min. Plenipotentiary Andrea Tiriticco, Director for Legal Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, expressed the position of the Italian Government on the work of the International Law Commission on the topic of “Subsequent agreements and subsequent practice in relation to the interpretation of treaties”. He stated:

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The President of the Council of the Ministers on Functional Immunity of State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction (Enrica Lexie Case)

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 50th MEETING, 10 JULY 2013.

On 10 July 2013, the President of the Council of the Ministers, Mr Enrico Letta, reported before the Chamber of Deputies on recent developments concerning the trial taking place before Indian authorities against sergeant major Latorre and sergeant Girone, two Italian marines part of a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) on board of the Italian oil-tanker Enrica Lexie accused of murdering two Indian fishermen while carrying out anti-piracy activities. Mr Letta referred to the testimony given by Latorre and Girone to the Indian judicial authorities on that same date and stated:

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