The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will deliver its verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav today (July 17). Pakistan military court had sentenced Jadhav to death and India had questioned it. Here is an understanding of India’s arguments
The Hague (Netherlands): The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will deliver its verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav case today (July 17). The case relates to Indian national Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an "extracted confession" has been questioned by India.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
The ICJ, in a statement early this month, said a public sitting will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on July 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict.
On 8 May 2017, India instituted proceedings in ICJ in relation to egregious violations by Pakistan of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 in the matter of arrest, detention and trial of Jadhav.
India based its case on two broad issues — breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.
Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, applied to the facts of the Jadhav case, mandated:
(a) As Pakistan "arrested" Jadhav, they should have notified the Indian Consular officers without delay;
(b) That India's consular officers were (are) free to communicate with, and have access to Jadhav;
However, Pakistan is in breach of Article 36(1) (b) of the Vienna Convention which obliged Pakistan to inform India of the arrest of an Indian national "without delay".
Jadhav was purportedly "arrested" on March 3, 2016, and it was only on March 25, 2016 that the foreign secretary of Pakistan informed the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad of this "arrest". Pakistan has not offered any explanation as to why it took over three weeks to inform the Indian High Commissioner as to the arrest of Jadhav.
Pakistan is in breach of the Vienna Convention of failing to inform Jadhav of his rights under the convention. This conduct of Pakistan is evident through public statements by government functionaries that suggested that the detenu was not entitled to consular access, strongly suggests Pakistan has not informed Jadhav of his right to communicate with the Indian consular post.
India also argued that the entire trial and sentence by Pakistan's military court, which was based on "confession taken under custody", without adequate legal representation was farcical. It was in brazen defiance of the rights and protections provided under the Vienna Convention and the International Law, including ICCPR.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
A 10-member bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14.
During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.
Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on an "extracted confession".
In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible."
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Pakistan had rejected India's plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its "spy".
However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.
Last Updated 1:06 PM IST