ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear Kulbhushan Jadhav's conviction case, says Pakistan

Published May 15, 2017
India's Ministry of External Affairs official Dr Deepak Mittal snubs  Pakistan's Dr Muhammad Faisal's handshake in The Hague. —AP
India's Ministry of External Affairs official Dr Deepak Mittal snubs Pakistan's Dr Muhammad Faisal's handshake in The Hague. —AP
Moazzam Ahmad Khan, head of Pakistan's delegation, and members wait for judges to enter the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands. —AP
Moazzam Ahmad Khan, head of Pakistan's delegation, and members wait for judges to enter the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands. —AP

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday heard the case brought to it by India pertaining to the sentencing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was handed a death sentence by a Pakistani Field General Court Martial (FGCM) last month.

Ambassador Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Dr Muhammad Faisal and Syed Faraz Hussain were present at the Peace Palace as members of Pakistan's legal team.

Khawar Qureshi led Pakistan's arguments, while Asad Rahim Khan and Joseph Dyke were present on Pakistan's behalf for the proceedings in The Hague.

ICJ has no jurisdiction in the case

Presenting its arguments before the court, Pakistan maintained that the ICJ did not have jurisdiction to hear the Indian application, Radio Pakistan, the state-run broadcasting service, reported.

The arguments for Pakistan were presented by Dr Faisal to the court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday.

Pakistani representatives told the court that Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan”.

Dr Faisal said that, according to the Vienna Convention, the court had no jurisdiction to hear such a case.

India's delegation waits for judges to enter the World Court in The Hague. —AP
India's delegation waits for judges to enter the World Court in The Hague. —AP

He further said the Indian spy was sentenced to death after fulfilling all necessary legal procedures and that he was also given legal counsel to defend the allegations against him.

Faisal also showed the court a picture of a passport which he said was found in Jadhav's possession bearing a completely different “and Muslim” name.

“India has been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to provide an explanation for this passport which is the most obvious indication of covert and illegal activity,” added Faisal.

Vienna Convention does not apply to a 'spy'

Lawyer Khawar Qureshi, also appearing for Pakistan, subsequently argued that the ICJ is not a criminal court and cannot decide such type of cases relating to national security.

He further appealed to the court to dismiss the Indian application, saying that "there is no agency".

The counsel for Pakistan also said that the provisions of the Vienna Convention do not apply to a "spy involved in terror activities".

Qureshi said that Jadhav “is a terrorist” and “India invoked the jurisdiction of this court improperly.”

“This court exists to ensure that states engage in peaceful resolution of disputes. This court does not exist for time-wasting and political grandstanding,” he maintained.

"India's allegation regarding the kidnapping of its spy is not true and he [Jadhav] was arrested by Pakistani forces from Balochistan," he maintained.

Earlier, the UN's judicial body had heard India's arguments in the first phase of the proceedings.

As the proceedings began, India had appealed to the UN's top court to order Pakistan to suspend its planned execution of Jadhav, saying his rights had been violated by Islamabad.

Harish Salve, leading the Indian legal team, had focused his arguments on Pakistan's denial of consular access to Jadhav as he presented India's case before the judicial body.

“The situation in which we find ourselves is grave and it is urgent,” Salve said. “India has made innumerable requests since March 2016 for consular access.”

The hearing focused on India's request for so-called “provisional measures” that can be granted at short notice to ensure a dispute between states does not deteriorate during full ICJ proceedings, which typically take several years.

Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of India's Ministry of External Affairs, told judges at the ICJ that Jadhav's death sentence was handed down following a "farcical" trial.

Jadhav was “an innocent Indian national, who, incarcerated in Pakistan for more than a year on concocted charges, deprived of his rights and protection accorded under the Vienna Convention, has been held incommunicado ... and faces imminent execution,” Mittal told the tribunal.

Mittal also claimed that Pakistan had failed to respond to all Indian demands for information about the case, snubbing requests for documents including the charge sheet.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the ICJ said it would deliver its order in a public setting on a date that will be communicated to both parties.

The court's president Ronny Abraham said the tribunal would publicly deliver its decision on whether to grant an emergency stay of execution “as soon as possible.”

Pakistan pursues Jadhav's case at the ICJ

After deliberation, Pakistan had decided last week to forcefully pursue the Jadhav case at the ICJ. Pakistan's arguments were to be focused on refuting all allegations levelled against it and also pointing out atrocities India was getting away with committing in India-held Kashmir, it was reported.

The hearing was conducted days after India filed an application with the UN's judicial body seeking the suspension of the Jadhav's death sentence.

In its application filed with the ICJ, India had accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, stating that Pakistan has repeatedly denied consular access to Jadhav.

India also alleged that "it was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest," and learned about the death sentence through the media.

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan's Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan. He was sentenced to death by a FGCM in April this year.

India had termed the death sentence awarded to Jadhav “an act of premeditated murder," while maintaining that Jadhav was a retired officer of the Indian Navy.

India has further claimed that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in a business undertaking.



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