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Pakistan recognised ICJ remit in 1960: AG

Updated May 20, 2017 07:08am

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Presiding judge Ronny Abraham of France, center, reads the World Court's verdict in the case brought by India against Pakistan in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday, May 18. ─ AP
Presiding judge Ronny Abraham of France, center, reads the World Court's verdict in the case brought by India against Pakistan in The Hague, Netherlands, Thursday, May 18. ─ AP

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf has said that Pakistan signed the March 29 declaration with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to create firewalls for the first time and national security concern was among the reservations listed by Islamabad over the world court’s jurisdiction in the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Dispelling the impression that Pakistan agreed to the jurisdiction of the ICJ in such cases only in March this year, he said in a statement that Pakistan had signed an unconditional declaration to agree to the jurisdiction of the world court way back in September 1960.

The original declaration, the AG explained, was without any reservations and exceptions and through it Pakistan had agreed to an ipso facto compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. “In plain words we had made no exceptions or reservations in the earlier declaration.”


Govt’s top lawyer hits back at critics, says March 29, 2017 declaration was signed to create firewalls


The AG’s comments were in response to the criticism by some legal experts of the country’s strategy in the case. They are of the view that Pakistan should have withdrawn its March 29 declaration immediately after the Indians took the Jadhav case to the ICJ and should not have contested the case.

The criticism came after the ICJ restrained Pakistan on Thursday from executing the convicted Indian spy until a final verdict in the case.

“The impression being created as if we agreed to compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ in March with a sinister motive is not true,” Mr Ausaf said. “Rather in March we created firewalls, including the one relating to security of Pakistan, for the first time.”

But in any event, he said, the ICJ was not looking at that aspect of the matter rather they were looking at the Vienna Convention and the optional protocol to the convention to which both India and Pakistan were signatories.

“The optional protocol invests the ICJ with powers and jurisdiction to decide disputes between member states,” he said, adding that the international court was not looking at the aspects being referred to on social and electronic media.

“There is no design or sinister motive behind the conditional declaration signed in March this year,” he said. “If we were to withdraw this declaration, we would have to go back to the 1960 declaration, which gives jurisdiction to the ICJ without exceptions.”

Meanwhile former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has said that the ICJ had no jurisdiction to entertain the Indian request since the Jadhav case does not fall within the definition of the contentions on the basis of which only the world court can exercise jurisdiction.

Talking to reporters, he said that the ICJ had erred in law to ignore 2008’s bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan on consular relations only to assume jurisdiction not vested in it.

He said Pakistan had a foolproof strong case based on cogent reasons to decline relief to India, particularly for the reason that the ICJ had no jurisdiction coupled with the fact that Article 1 of the optional protocol was not relevant to consular access to a criminal involved in terrorism.

Moreover, he said, the provision of Article 26(2) of ICJ statute was not followed as the number of judges to constitute the bench was required to be determined by the court with the approval of the parties.

According to Article 31(1) of the statute, it was obligatory on the court to appoint an ad hoc judge as the nominee of Pakistan as it had already happened in 2000 in the case relating to the shooting down of a Pakistani aircraft wherein India and Pakistan both nominated their representative judges.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017

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Comments (56)

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Harmony-1© May 20, 2017 07:18am

No wonder Khawar Qureshi QC said 'think before criticising...its only a provisional hearing'. This is no victory or loss for any side!

Lord of the obors May 20, 2017 07:20am

ICJ is the wrong way. India and Pak should just exchange spies like how normal non-hyper countries like US and Russia do. There is no need to be 'drama queens' by either side. This display shows extreme lack of EQ and mental development. Some kind of Freudian complex

M. Saeed Awan May 20, 2017 07:28am

The test is of Pakistan to prove that Kulbushan was found in terrorist activities.

RAJ May 20, 2017 07:34am

Whether it is ICJ or CPEC, no one in Pakistan has any clarity

Sab se pehle pakistan May 20, 2017 07:34am

Congratulations PML-N and its corrupt to the core government.

Saaf go May 20, 2017 07:58am

Then what is all this fuss about ?

Meow May 20, 2017 08:00am

Pakistan had a different legal understanding. India also interpret the same thing differently. Both went to dispute. ICJ ruled in favor of India. So pakistan interpretation has no takers and need to accept the truth.

Indian May 20, 2017 08:05am

Pakistan should put more resources on education. Even very senior and retired authorities are talking as ordinary people.

BK May 20, 2017 08:08am

If only he was tried in an open civil court, all this could have been avoided. Why was he not tried in a normal court of law?

changez khan May 20, 2017 08:22am

This PML-N corrupt government must go.

Ash20 May 20, 2017 08:26am

Not sure why Pakistan do not want consular access. It seems Mr. Jadhav has been already eliminated in custody that is a plausible reason. This strategy is not good as India can also deny access to any Pakistani in future in the name of security. Where we will go from there? If this is what Pakistan want then it is better for both countries to stop issuing any visa. Absolutely no visa as tomorrow somebody else will go through similar circumstances in any one of the country though it is not possible in India as they have rule of law.

VECTRA May 20, 2017 08:56am

After so much dilly dallying and initial denials you accepted that Pakistan do has accepted ICJ's jurisdiction way back in 1960 by acceding to VCCR and Optional Protocols.Then my question is why Pakistan Govt was denying earlier that ICJ has no jurisdiction??

Now since you accepted the same,the next step is to prove that Mr Jadav is a spy.Do you have authentic proof's to be admissible in ICJ because Mr Sartaz Aziz had earlier confirmed that Pakistan do not have enough evidence against Jadav?

PAMNANI - INDIA May 20, 2017 09:28am

Why not ICJ comes under CPEC.

KJ May 20, 2017 09:30am

@VECTRA :"Do you have authentic proof's to be admissible in ICJ because Mr Sartaz Aziz had earlier confirmed that Pakistan do not have enough evidence against Jadav?"

Be patient, they will cook up something.

AKKS May 20, 2017 09:33am

What sort of legal experts are these? Not even aware that their country is signatory to the ICJ in 1960. Then the lawyer appointed by the Govt is telling the court that ICJ has no jurisdiction! Is it a lie or a lack of awareness. In any case it is a matter of embarrassment!

KJ May 20, 2017 09:35am

@RAJ : If this case is about honesty and truthfulness then why is Pakistan at loggerheads with ICJ?

Abdul JABBAR May 20, 2017 09:37am

After the ICJ verdict Pakistan can appeal to CPEC committee.

AKKS May 20, 2017 10:07am

The legal experts are not even aware that their country is signatory to the ICJ in 1960. Then the lawyer appointed by the Govt would tell the court that ICJ has no jurisdiction in this case! Is it a lie or lack of awareness. In any case it is a matter of embarrassment!

Khanm May 20, 2017 10:17am

Does anyone out of twenty corore think before they leap..as a matter of fact we don't even know our own laws..we are simply master manipulator of the when it comes to saving our elites ...

M. IRFaN May 20, 2017 10:19am

All these legal opinions from pakistani legal experts questioning ICJ jurisdiction carry no weight outside pakistan. These opinions are for domestic audience. Nobody gives a damn in international fora.

Hawk May 20, 2017 10:29am

Whatever the charges maybe, is it not true that a good judicial system should have rights of counselor access and right to a free and fair trial ingrained in the system. If not the current system of military courts can be used for cover up and stifling democratic protests. What if the military decides to go after a political opponent and sentence him to death on cooked up charges. The behavior of lawyers is even more pathetic.Pakistan needs to build on its foundations of democracy. Otherwise it would be a democracy on life support.

VECTRA May 20, 2017 10:30am

@Abdul JABBAR CPEC committee!!,what's that and how it is related to ICJ??

Jabbar May 20, 2017 10:33am

@Abdul JABBAR Funniest comment ever .... OECD knock knock ! We want to hang somebody can we? Plzzzz?

Zak May 20, 2017 10:44am

According to Article 31(1) of the statute, it was obligatory on the court to appoint an ad hoc judge as the nominee of Pakistan as it had already happened in 2000 in the case relating to the shooting down of a Pakistani aircraft wherein India and Pakistan both nominated their representative judges.

Open this case again based on Jadev ruling and bring another on indian occupation of kashmir and brutality there.

PROUD pakistani May 20, 2017 10:58am

CPEC wins at last.PAKISTAN will be a superpower after CPEC.We will give loans to USA ,RUSSIA,JAPAN ,GERMANY, BRITAIN and even INDIA.We have CPEC ,so ICJ cant do anything.

Sameer May 20, 2017 11:07am

29th march created firewalls...one of them to gaurd interests of National Security! Hmm doesnt seem to be working!

RAjA May 20, 2017 11:22am

@Harmony-1©. To be able to decide outcome one must establish goals. Indias Goal: 1: stop/delay his immediate hanging, 2: Internationalise the sham trial and verdict. Both goals acheived. Next step will be get a verdict on consular access and try and get Pak to show the International community any evidence. ICJ has no authority as such but can indirectly assert moral pressure on Pak

Global Peace May 20, 2017 11:28am

ICJ not given final verdict , it just said do not do it before court decide , anyways China refused to listen to ICJ on south china sea nothing happened, what if pakistan wont listen , nothing can happen, So do not speculate too much.

hind May 20, 2017 11:48am

the same people are criticizing govt who keep shouting plebiscite for J&K without even knowing what UN resolution is

ajay May 20, 2017 11:49am

@PAMNANI - INDIA - "Why not ICJ comes under CPEC."

Inshallah it will. Have faith. After CPEC is complete, Pakistan will buy ICJ, UN, US, UK and YouTube.

ali May 20, 2017 11:53am

@global peace by not following ICJ rulling china closed door for itself to ICJ , Pakistan can't do that as Pakistan depends on ICJ for Indus water treaty

Vasan May 20, 2017 12:21pm

Please don't try to fail ICJ...

Raj May 20, 2017 12:22pm

Once CPEC is completed, first thing Pakistan should do is to dissolve UN and ban every international forum like ICJ, ICC etc, then impose sanctions on every single country in the world except China.

Rajdeep Tyagi May 20, 2017 12:29pm

What's wrong in providing consular access ?? First of all he has to be proved a spy secondly even spy deserves a fair trial and consular access.

Anuj May 20, 2017 12:38pm

@Harmony-1© nice try.

Indi rocks May 20, 2017 12:40pm

Like PAK, IND too can overlook ICJ and annul Indus water treaty.

Abba May 20, 2017 12:42pm

@Global Peace. Yes its true China and US did not listen to ICJ..however Pak is just slightly different to these 2..living on handouts doesnt qualify..well atleast till cpec.

Zak May 20, 2017 12:51pm

It is good India took it to third international party, ICJ. Last time they took kashmir issue to UN, a plebiscite was ordered. Now India s subversive activities are being highlighted and india is shown to be 'not shinning' anymore or ever will be. The false plastic mask is melting, slowly, slowly.

Naheem May 20, 2017 01:17pm

ICJ charter

"Compulsory" jurisdiction is limited to cases where both parties have agreed to submit to its decision, and so instances of aggression tend to be automatically escalated to and adjudicated by the Security Council. According to the sovereignty principle of international law, no nation is superior or inferior against another. Therefore, there is no entity that could force the states into practice of the law or punish the states in case any violation of international law occurs. Therefore, the absence of binding force means that the 193 member states of the ICJ do not necessarily have to accept the jurisdiction. Moreover, membership in the UN and ICJ does not give the court automatic jurisdiction over the member states, but it is the consent of each state to follow the jurisdiction that matters.

tomUHTO TAWMAYTO May 20, 2017 01:20pm

So much heartburn.....sigh!

F/o Zak May 20, 2017 01:27pm

@Zak take a chill pill ...it happens when you are humiliated to core at the international forum.

Chandan May 20, 2017 01:35pm

@Zak That to not complied by Pakistan

Azmeen May 20, 2017 01:39pm

Opposition should not mislead the public on this case. Govt., must listen all stakeholders & prepare a strong case including strengthening of the panel of lawyers with demonstrated competence in the ICJ.

Abbas May 20, 2017 02:07pm

@Harmony-1©. To be able to decide outcome one must establish goals. Indias Goal: 1: stop/delay his immediate hanging, 2: Internationalise the sham trial and verdict. Both goals acheived. Next step will be get a verdict on consular access and try and get Pak to show the International community any evidence. ICJ has no authority as such but can indirectly assert moral pressure on Pak

ehsan May 20, 2017 03:14pm

@Meow This has opened the doors for pak to take the kashmir issue to ICJ, especially the daily massacares being carried out there.. So stop gloating.

vectra May 20, 2017 03:39pm

@ehsan But Pakistan can't take the kashmir issue to ICJ.Had it can then it would have done so.There is a limitation of ICJ in Kashmir issue.

ICJ comes under UNSC and UNSC comes under UN and when UN can't do much then its lower branches can hardly do anything.Kashmir is a 100% sovereignty issue where no power can do anything especially if it involves a militarily mighty nation like India and that is why you are seeing Kashmir issue is where it is since lase 70 years.

Pg56 May 20, 2017 03:48pm

@VECTRA "@Abdul JABBAR CPEC committee!!,what's that and how it is related to ICJ??" I think that eas a sarcastic comment.

Pg56 May 20, 2017 03:54pm

@ehsan "@Meow This has opened the doors for pak to take the kashmir issue to ICJ, especially the daily massacares being carried out there.. So stop gloating." You can only take a case that relates to your own citizens there.

RK May 20, 2017 04:00pm

The fact is, to take away attention from all the lack of development and the inefficiency of the politicians they need distractions to give people. All these are those.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 20, 2017 04:13pm

Let's wait and see what happens in the days to come since patience is a great virtue which most people ignore and forget.

the end is near May 20, 2017 04:29pm

The India Spy/Terrorist Jadhav will stay in Pakistan and will be punished according to Pakistan's criminal laws and procedures. Its a serious and critical matter of Pakistan's internal security and therefore no external pressure from ICJ or any other foreign court will be accepted at all. Pakistan is a sovereign and independent state and knows very well how to deal with foreign state sponsored terrorists. Thanks

gogo May 20, 2017 05:36pm

@ajay And the world bank and IMF.

Medan bharathan May 20, 2017 08:01pm

@RAjA : both goals achieved - probably; ever occurred that our man's already with the maker?

Dr. Aurangzeb Syed May 20, 2017 08:17pm

Readers should know that under the rules of the establishment of ICJ, countries are allowed to recognize or not recognize ICJ jurisdiction in each case, on a case by case basis. If a country A approaches the ICJ with a complaint against country B in case X, then country B may accept to submit itself to accept ICJ as the 'judge' in that particular case (X), while if the same were to happen in another case (Y), the country B could legitimately refuse to recognize ICJ jurisdiction without any legal jeopardy. The ICJ was established as part of the formation of League of Nations in the 1920s, in circumstances where the voluntary acceptance of its jurisdiction was made a prior condition by big powers which were loathe to give blanket jurisdiction. After the War, and the ICJ was incorporated into the newly formed UN. Readers should not confuse ICJ with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which gets blanket jurisdiction upon its initial acceptance. ICC basically tries cases of war crimes.

mohammed daud May 20, 2017 09:59pm

@RAJ "Whether it is ICJ or CPEC, no one in Pakistan has any clarity" Best comments with 198 likes" Just look at India’s propaganda machinery, what relationship ICJ’s Jadhav’s case has with CPEC, India can’t consume CPEC at any cost, how unlucky we are that our next door neighbor is putting unnecessarily all its efforts and recourses to make sure we should not get out of the present mess we are in. Our one sincere neighbor China is trying to help us build a gigantic and enormous project like CPEC and the other neighbor is uselessly trying to bully us by using the columns of this newspaper as its propaganda tools to misguide and influence the Pakistan public opinion against CPEC. Would India ever allow ICJ to look into the atrocities, and human rights violation it commits on daily basis to the people of Indian Held Kashmir?

Khanm May 20, 2017 11:23pm

What international court of justice..the judgement varies from country to country..If we have power there is no UN no International court .America openly said in the UN that "we will go alone if the UN could not go in favour of us "the next day they bombed Syria....we have to revamp ICP and UN because they are just puppet institutions and extension of super power..