The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday began a public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the alleged Indian spy sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, with India arguing for immediate suspension of the death sentace.
Appearing for India, senior advocate Harish Salve argued that Islamabad has violated Vienna convention by not providing copy of chargesheet and verdict and denying consular access to Jadhav. He also said that Pakistan have blocked India’s efforts to provide legal aide to the former naval officer.
“The procedural safeguards are greater when the charges are as serious as capital punishment. The Vienna Convention offers no exception. India asserts that the breach of the Vienna Convention is fatal. Under Article 36, jurisdiction exists in respect of all cases that parties refer to and in respect of all matters specially provided for in treaties and conventions,” Salve told the international court.
India argued that human rights treated as “basics” all over had been thrown to the wind by Pakistan. All requests for consular access to 46-year-old Jadhav had fallen on “deaf ears”, it said.
Salve added that the confession video of Jadhav was doctored and charges against him were framed.
Jadhav was framed on confessional statements extracted from him when he was in Pakistan’s military custodyHarish Salve, Senior advocate representing lawyer at ICJ
He also raised concerns that Pak may execute Kulbhushan Jadhav before the international court takes a decision in the matter.
The present situation, attorney Harish Salve said before the court, was grave and that is why India had sought ICJ's indulgence.
Salve also refuted the Pak claim that Jadav was arrested from Balochistan on 3 March 2016, saying that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had been involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy.
He also argued that the appeal filed by Jadhav’s parents was in desperation, without knowing the charges or the evidence against him. It is unknown in case of Jadhav as to who will appeal for clemency.
Deepak Mittal, who is also representing India along with Salve said that trial of Jadhav by Pakistan military court was “farcical” and urged for provisional measures.
“The fact that hearing is taking place within seven days of request acknowledges the urgency of the issue. By its timely action, the court has given hope to the entire country and the innocent family of the soldier. We hope that the court will provide provisional measures stopping the decision taken by after a farcical trial in Pak in violation of the rights given to Jadhav and to India,” Mittal said.
Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, recognised as the acknowledgment of rights of individuals from another state and the state itself, its provisions are sacrosanct, Pakistan has violated all provisions of Article 36, India argued.
The Hague-based court started the hearing with a briefing about the case. India’s presentation will be followed by arguments from the Pakistan team led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf. Both sides are given 90 minutes each to present their arguments.
Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, had been sentenced to death about a month ago by a Pakistani military court on grounds of espionage and sabotage. India moved the ICJ last week to save Jadhav after Pakistan denied consular access despite 16 requests.
Pakistan has said the Indian move to approach ICJ was an attempt to divert attention from “state-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan” and that it was analysing the ICJ’s authority in the matter.
Pakistan had already suggested that it may refuse to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction in this case, saying that ‘matters of national security’ won’t come under ICJ. According to reports, Islamabad had informed the court, 12 days before awarding death sentence to Jadhav, that the country’s ‘national security’ issues would not be part of the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
Both countries had last clashed at the ICJ 18 years ago, with the previous instance relating to shooting down of Pakistan’s maritime reconnaissance aircraft Atlantique by the IAF in the Kutch region on 10 August 1999, killing 16 people on board shortly after the Kargil conflict.