ICJ asks Pakistan to delay execution of Jadhav
Stephanie van den Berg
AMSTERDAM: The World Court ordered Pakistan on Thursday not to execute an Indian citizen convicted of spying until it hears a case brought by India. The court, formally known as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), is the top United Nations legal body for hearing disputes between states and its rulings are binding - though occasionally flouted.
“It is appropriate for the court to order that Pakistan take all measures at its disposal to ensure Jadhav is not executed before this (11-member) court has given its final decision,” presiding Judge Ronny Abraham said. The decision was unanimous.
India asked the ICJ for the injunction barring its fellow nuclear-armed neighbour from executing Jadhav, arguing that he was denied diplomatic assistance in violation of the Vienna Treaty on Consular Relations at what it terms an unfair trial.
Pakistan maintained that the ICJ need not intervene as it had adhered to a 2008 bilateral treaty with India that supersedes the Vienna pact by stating that the right to consular access can be waived where “national security” is at risk.
India rejects this interpretation.
Islamabad has also noted that Jadhav’s sentence remains subject to appeal and he is no immediate danger of execution.
ICJ RESERVES FINAL DECISION
The ICJ ruling did not favour the arguments of either side but was meant to prevent Pakistan from taking any irrevocable steps before the court can decide whether it has jurisdiction in the case and, later, which side is right or wrong.
“The court has given its ruling on provisional measures, which is basically a procedural process,” the Pakistani envoy at the ICJ, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, told reporters. “The court has said nothing on the merits or maintainability of the case.”
The ICJ will now call for a more comprehensive filing from India before it decides whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case in full - a process that could take years.
Indian Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi described the court’s decision as a victory. “The whole world now knows that there was no fair trial. The whole thing was a charade,” he told reporters in India. “The bogus stand put forth by Pakistan has been completely blown by this decision.”
Pakistan has described India’s decision to take its case to the U.N. court as “political theatre”.
The Vienna Convention has been a frequent subject of disputes at the ICJ, often in cases involving the United States. U.S. authorities ignored a similar ICJ injunction in 1999 and executed a German national.-Reuters
AFP adds: Outlining the reasons for its decision, Abraham said Pakistan had “given no assurance” Jadhav would not be executed before the court delivered its final decision.
“The mere fact that Mr Jadhav is under a death sentence and might therefore be executed is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India,” he added. Therefore the court was “satisfied” of the “urgency” of the case.
The ICJ was set up in 1945 to rule on disputes between nations in accordance with international law. The tribunal has not yet decided whether it has jurisdiction to hear India’s case, and a final ruling could take months, if not years.
The last time India and Pakistan took a dispute to the ICJ was in 1999 when Islamabad protested the downing of a Pakistani navy plane that killed 16 people. But the tribunal decided it was not competent to rule in the dispute and closed the case.
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