India, Pakistan face off in ICJ over Jadhav

16 May, 2017, 09:53 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • 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 deferred its ruling on India's petition against the death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Naval officer, by a Pakistani military court.

"We believe India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation", a State Department spokesperson told PTI.

We want appropriate legal representation for Jadhav, India told the UN's main judicial body which has stayed his death sentence.

In an emergency hearing called only days after India lodged its case, lawyers and officials for New Delhi urged the ICJ to halt the death sentence imposed on Yadav saying his rights had been violated by Islamabad.

Pakistan has alleged that Jadhav was an agent of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Ahead of the hearing today, Deepak Mittal, who is the head of the Pakistan division in the external affairs ministry and is representing India in the retired Navy officer's case at the ICJ, ignored the handshake gesture by Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan's DG for South Asia and SAARC, and offered a "namaskar" instead.

Government sources also countered Pakistan's claims in court that India had not clarified on Jadhav's passport, nationality and kept silent for a year since Pakistan sought assistance with the investigations.

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"India's plea for invoking provisions of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention is not relevant in this case".

Qureshi said the issue of consular access to Jadhav was not considered as he was accused of spying and it was not considered to be applied on terrorists.

"It is clear from the Vienna Convention that the provision being sought under Article 36 by India can not be entertained by this court", Qureshi said in his 45-minute reply to arguments put forth by Indian counsel Harish Salve earlier. Islamabad also advocated an "expedited hearing which would dispel any suggestion for the need for provisional measures", adding that "Pakistan would be content for the court to list the application of India for hearing within six weeks".

India is presenting its case first, followed by Pakistan later in the day.

Salve said, "The execution of the death sentence can not be done while this court is hearing the appeal". We have a long border with India where millions of people reside. However, the court said after the conclusion of the proceedings that both parties would be duly notified.

On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

"India's allegation regarding the kidnapping of its spy is not true and he [Jadhav] was arrested by Pakistani forces from Balochistan", he maintained. These cases include Paraguay versus the United States in which the court decided that the American government needed to take steps to give rights of access of a Paraguayan national.

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