ROME - Italy on Tuesday recalled its ambassador from India in protest over a new delay in court proceedings against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in a case that has raised tensions. Ambassador Daniele Mancini will return to Italy immediately for consultations, the foreign ministry said in a statement, condemning “a new and unacceptable delay by the Indian Supreme Court”. The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are staying at the Italian embassy in New Delhi, are accused of killing two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates while guarding a cargo ship in 2012. “Given the evident incapacity of the Indian judicial authorities to handle this case, Italy will continue and intensify action to defend its sovereign rights in line with international law,” FM Emma Bonino said.

A first version of the statement had referred to “India’s evident incapacity” to handle the case, rather than accusing specifically the judiciary.

“Italy’s main aim remains trying to obtain the return of the two marines as quickly as possible,” Bonino said.

An Indian Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was immediately postponed because prosecutors are still waiting for the Indian justice ministry to decide which law to try the case under.

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati has requested the pair be prosecuted under a maritime security law, which attracts a 10-year sentence.

“The matter was under the consideration of the law ministry and I need more time to work out a solution to the issue,” Vahanvati told the court in New Delhi.

The next hearing will be on February 24.

“This is too much. There is no justice in this case. We are faced with an ambiguous behaviour and a lack of trustworthiness on the part of the Indian authorities,” said Mario Mauro, Italy’s defence minister.

“The decision to recall the ambassador is not only justified but inevitable and reflects the feelings of the Italian people,” he said.

Italian authorities have lobbied the European Union and the United Nations on the case, saying Latorre and Girone should be tried in Italy because it says the incident took place in international waters.

India denies this, saying it happened in Indian waters.