India snatched a major victory when the International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadav.
In a major diplomatic victory for India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague today ordered Pakistan in no uncertain terms that it cannot execute former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav till the final verdict has been pronounced.
The court also ordered that India was legitimate in seeking consular access to Jadav who was arrested by Pakistan on cooked up charges.
But there is an iota of doubt if Pakistan would obey the order. The Pakistan delegation at the ICJ hinted that the entire verdict was only procedural in nature. Reading between the lines, it could mean that Pakistan could still defend its sovereign rights and go ahead with the execution of Jadav.
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And Pakistan has a precedent. The US had earlier disobeyed an ICJ ruling stating that the rights of a country over-rule all other rules on international fora.
So, being a rogue state, would Pakistan thumb its nose at international law and go ahead with the verdict given by its military court? One can only guess and nobody can trust Pakistan which is actually controlled by the Army and the ISI.
On Pakistan’s side is also the fact that these verdicts cannot be implemented. It is not binding either. It could at best carry a strong diplomatic fibre. Disobeying the verdict would only further expose Pakistan’s sham courts and judicial systems.
After a long time, this is the first instance that India has rather taken an aggressive stand in bringing Pakistan to books.
Delivering the judgment on behalf of 10 fellow judges, presiding judge Ronny Abraham of France said “Appropriate to say that Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure Jadhav is not executed pending final decision.”
The judge observed that prima facie the Vienna Convention will apply in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
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The ICJ also asserted its jurisdiction over the case of Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of espionage and subversive activities. The circumstances of Jadhav’s arrest remains disputed, the ICJ judge said.
Reacting to the verdict, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said Pakistan’s lies stand exposed.
AG Mukul Rohatgi said Indian stand is victorious. He congratulated all concerned persons, especially the External Affairs Ministry.
In Pakistan, chaos followed the verdict with the Army blaming the political dispensation for the fiasco at the ICJ. This has brought immense pressure on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Earlier, India had sought the ‘annulment’ of the death sentence awarded by a military court in Pakistan to the former Indian Navy officer calling it ‘farcical’. This was obviously not accepted by the ICJ. Instead it only stayed the execution till the final hearing.
Pakistan said that India was using ICJ as “a stage for political theatre”. Pakistan also claimed that they have solid evidence of Jadhav’s espionage activities.
On April 10, a military court in Pakistan awarded death sentence to Jadhav for alleged “espionage and subversive activities”. Following that, on May 8, India approached ICJ for an urgent hearing and sought suspension of the plea. Acting on the Indian petition, the ICJ two days later wrote to the Pakistan government to put on hold, effectively, the execution of Jadhav. In its petition, India had argued that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention with regards to consular relations and that he had been given “no right” to defend himself.
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In the ICJ, India’s counsel Harish Salve reiterated India’s claim that the death sentence awarded by the Pakistani military court was a violation of the Vienna Convention on consular relations. To this argument, Pakistani counsel Khawar Qureshi said that India’s plea in the case was ‘irrelevant’ as the Vienna Convention did not apply in the case of a ‘spy’.
On the issue of consular access to Jadhav, Salve pointed out with evidence that Pakistan had rejected 16 requests by India. Qureshi argued that “spies cannot get consular access” and that all information regarding Jadhav’s investigation was given to India.
While Salve argued that there was no evidence of Jadhav being a spy and that he was kidnapped from Iran, Qureshi responded by saying that Pakistan had “solid evidence” to prove with regards to his activities and that he was arrested from Balochistan.
However, the court rejected Pakistan’s request to play a video that was recorded where Jadav was reportedly admitting his guilt. India argued that the video was doctored and had no independent verification.
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