ICJ new battleground for Indo-Pak engagements

Death sentence of Indian citizen countered

Business & Politics

News - India & You

May 16, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

Located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Court of Justice heard a dispute between India and Pakistan yesterday.

Located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Court of Justice heard a dispute between India and Pakistan yesterday.

India encountered Pakistan at the International Court of Justice as it began proceedings to fight against the death sentence given to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan.

After reportedly being denied consular access to its citizen who had been granted a death sentence in Pakistan, India took to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to pursue the case whose hearing was deferred yesterday. The citizen, Kulbhushan Jadhav, is a former naval officer from India and was convicted by a military court in Pakistan on accusations of espionage activities, where he was charged. The multilateral 1963 Vienna Convention has been invoked by India, which both parties are signatory to, yet Pakistan denied it on basis of a 2008 bilateral treaty. India now looks to stop the implementation of the death penalty that Jadhav faces, which Pakistan contested as inadmissible. The court has requested a stay of the death sentence and a resolution is awaited.

Jadhav was reportedly convicted on charges of being a spy for India’s prominent foreign intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). India’s counsel Harish Salve, stated, “The graver the charges, the greater the need for continued adherence of the Vienna Convention. Jadhav has been in judicial custody without any communication with his family.” However, the counsel from Pakistan, Khawar Qureshi highlighted that consular access was a provision outside the ambit of international law in consideration of both parties involved, as mentioned by the 2008 Consular Access Agreement.

During the proceedings, even as Pakistan was disallowed to showcase a “confessional” video of Jadhav, it displayed a passport, possessed by Jadhav by the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel. India hasn’t explained the passport and in the meanwhile requested for short-notice “provisional measures”. India has also denied any possible connections of Jadhav’s presence in Pakistan with the government. India’s plea on the urgency of the case remains unproved, as does Pakistan’s following of due procedure in granting Jadhav the sentence. The ICJ hearing, which has been deferred, is awaited anxiously as relations between both countries have been increasingly tense.

International arena for neighbours’ fight

India and Pakistan haven’t earned a reputation for being friendly neighbours yet the past few months have marked even more hostility. Whether cross-border terror operations, dispute over border or Pakistan’s increasing closeness to China, the two south-Asian countries have turned the regional fight international.

By invoking Vienna Convention and inviting the ICJ into an issue that is becoming increasingly politicised, India has moved away in its policy of upholding bilateral frameworks. At the same time, India has distanced itself from a major multilateral project, the One Belt One Road project, which has become yet another contending point with Pakistan and China. India is looking at some tough times ahead as the nation is at the brink of being isolated by its immediate neighbours.

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