The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands commenced today four-day public hearings in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former officer of India Navy, accused of spying by Pakistan and is currently in jail there.
According to Dawn newspaper, Pakistan’s delegation would be led by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor whereas Director General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal will lead the Foreign Office side.
India is presenting its case at the International Court of Justice, seeking cancellation of the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav awarded to him by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in 2017.
India had approached the Hague-based International Court of Justice for “egregious” violation of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, by Pakistan in the case. The International Court of Justice had halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it.
What is the Vienna convention?
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague has put on hold the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. Pakistan, the court said, must ensure that he is not executed till the court delivers its final verdict. The court said under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.
What India said
India on Monday accused Pakistan of misusing the International Court of Justice for propaganda as the top UN court began a four-day public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage. India, during the first day of the hearing, based its case on two broad issues — breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.
Senior advocate senior Harish Salve, who is representing India before the International Court of Justice said in court today that, Pakistan is embarrassed to disclose its judgment in the case. He also read out the chronology of the case, since he was “arrested”, saying that he was kidnapped from Iran, where he was running a business.
Pakistan didn’t inform India on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s ‘arrest’, Salve targeted the neighbouring nation. “Even the date of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s arrest is not known, he was not even given a lawyer,” he added.
Jadhav’s trial by military court hopelessly fails to satisfy even minimum standards of due process and should be declared “unlawful”
“The alleged “confession” was obtained from Kulbhushan Jadhav even before registering an FIR. Pakistan also didn’t share any details of the investigation,” said India’s representative Harish Salve at UN court.
Pakistan offered to allow Jadhav’s family to visit him, the terms were agreed and the meeting was held on 25th December 2017. However, India was dismayed at the manner the meeting with Jadhav’s family was conducted and wrote a letter on 27 December marking its protest. This was essayed to the UN court by Harish Salve.
Harish Salve representing Kulbhushan Jadhav in International Court of Justice: I would invite this court to keep in mind the relief to be granted in the backdrop of the fact that his trial has been conducted by a military court pic.twitter.com/0gM8obyP8d
— ANI (@ANI) February 18, 2019
He further added that Pakistan should have provided a substantial explanation for why it needed 3 months for providing consular access, upon which it could have claimed that it has complied with a treaty obligation, Pakistan hasn’t complied treaty obligations.
The former Solicitor General of India also said that Pakistan has steadfastly refused to disclose “specific events” in relations to which Mr Jadhav was convicted – even when it offered to extradite him to India on October 26, 2017.
Making a reference to the breach of Vienna Convention, Salve said at the UN court that Article 36 of Vienna Convention requires that a country must be informed about the detention of its citizens but Pakistan didn’t inform India on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s “arrest”.
According to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, consular access must be given before the trial is over. India wasn’t granted consular access in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case even though India made multiple requests, said Harish Salve.
The case of Kulbhushan Jadhav is only the fourth one involving a death sentence to be heard by the International Court of Justice since the first in 1999, and the first that does not involve the US. The previous three cases involved Germany, Mexico and Paraguay.
Following the four days allotted for the hearing, the judgement is typically expected within six months and is based on the decision by a simple majority of judges. Should there be an even split, the President has the casting vote. The decision of the court is final, and without appeal though there are limited circumstances where parties can ask for revisions or interpretations of a verdict.
The hearing comes at a time when tensions have severely escalated between India and Pakistan in the backdrop of a terrorist attack on CRPF forces on February 14′ 2019. India is making every possible diplomatic approach to isolate Pakistan at the global platform.