ICJ: Pakistan can’t execute Jadhav until…

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The Hague: This is how the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) arrived at its interim judgment on the appeal of India against a Pakistani military court’s verdict to hang Kulbhushan Jadhav on the charge of espionage and terror activities.

ICJ proceedings

“Pakistan had denied consular access to India but it informed India that consular access will be considered after India’s assistance in the investigation of the issue.  It appears that under Pakistani law Mr Jadhav will have 40 days to file an appeal, that is till 19 May. It is not known if he has done that so far,” president of the court Judge Ronny Abraham says, reading out the ICJ verdict at 3:30 PM.

“On the date the application was filed, a dispute existed between the parties as to consular access with regard to the trial and sentencing of Mr Jadhav. The acts alleged by India are culpable of falling under the Vienna Convention guaranteeing the right to communicate and have access to consular access rights,” the judge continues. Thus, the ICJ upholds India’s stand that Jadhav deserved a consular access.

Dealing with the issue raised by Pakistan that the Vienna Convention does not apply to one who is ‘convicted’ of being involved in terrorist activities, the judge says that the convention does not contain any provision to exclude persons suspected of terrorism or espionage, contrary to the Pakistani claim.

Judge Abraham adds that the ICJ has the right to intervene provisionally when the subject concerned faces an imminent threat to his life and, in the case in question, Jadhav faces such a risk indeed. The risk is compounded, according to the ICJ, as Pakistan is not sure when it will hear Jadhav’s plea though a tentative date of 1 August is being spoken of. Here, Pakistan stays quiet on the fate of the hearing. Judge Abraham announces that, until the final decision of the court, the matter is sub judice.

The entire panel of the ICJ accepts the provisional applicability of the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the matter. The court tells Pakistan that the ICJ verdict will be binding on that member-state.

After this stage, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweets:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi retweets Swaraj’s tweets and, according to our sources, speaks to Swaraj after this. he compliments her for the efforts of advocate Harish Salve, who represented India in the case.

Background

For the past one year, Pakistan has been saying that it had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan on suspicion of his involvement in terrorist activities in the region. On the other hand, India has held that Jadhav was abducted from Iran and brought to Pakistan. While Jadhav was indeed an Indian sleuth involved in collecting information related to the Parliament House attack of 2001, he had long since retired and was running a business in Iran.

The ICJ had, two days ago, rejected Pakistan’s appeal to run a tape of Jadhav’s ‘confession’ inside the court, declaring the ‘evidence’ as inadmissible. India holds that Jadhav confessed under duress and torture.

During the arguments at the ICJ, Pakistan said on the one hand that it was not established yet that Jadhav was an Indian national (because, according to it, India had not claimed so) and, on the other, it maintained that he was an Indian spy!

Our previous coverage of the issue

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