The International Court of Justice in the Hague on Monday began the four-day public hearings of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case. Jadhav is on death row in Islamabad after Pakistan charged him with spying for Indian intelligence agencies in 2016.
After Jadhav was sentenced to death, India moved the International Court of Justice against the verdict in May 2017. The court stayed his execution, but a final verdict is pending. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi earlier this month had said it has all the evidence to prove that Jadhav had indulged in sabotage activities against Pakistan.
Here are the day’s developments:
5.32 pm: Hearing has been adjourned for the day. Pakistan will make its first round of arguments on Tuesday.
5.31 pm: “India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction and a direction that he be released,” Salve concludes.
5.30 pm: In the present case, review and reconsideration of case would be inadequate, Salve says, adding that the relief should be in the form of a direction to set Jadhav free.
5.25 pm: India submits that military courts of Pakistan can not command the confidence of this court and should not be sanctify by a direction to them to review and re-consider the case, he adds.
5.20 pm: Pakistan has an Indian national in custody who has been publicly portrayed to be a terrorist and an Indian agent creating unrest in Balochistan, Salve says. “Pakistan used Jadhav to build a narrative against India.”
5.17 pm: Accusing Pakistan of violating rights of Jadhav, Salve says Islamabad’s conduct does not inspire confidence that Jadhav will get justice in Pakistan.
5.14 pm: Proceedings in Pakistani military courts fall far short of international standards, he says. “In the 2 years, military courts have been allowed to convict civilians, 161 civilians have been given death sentence in an opaque manner.”
5.12 pm: “I would invite this court to keep in mind the relief to be granted in the backdrop of the fact that his trial has been conducted by a military court,” he says.
5.05 pm: “In January 2015, Pakistan empowered military courts to try civilians for terrorism-related offences,” he says adding that Pakistan amended its Army Act to allow this. “The working of Pakistani military courts has been censured by European Parliament,” he says.
5 pm: India has always offered consular access to Pakistan even when its citizens have been caught red-handed in acts of terrorism, says Salve. “It is another matter that Pakistan has never availed of the same,” he adds.
4.53 pm: The lawyer says Pakistan has refused to sign a treaty for mutual legal assistance despite repeated attempts by India. “There are a number of requests from India of legal assistance in cases of terrorism pending with it,” he adds.
4.50 pm: Pakistan’s argument of abuse is hopeless, Salve says. “If Article 36 of the Vienna Convention grants rights of consular access in all cases, including where allegations of such kind (of espionage) are levelled, then demanding those rights cannot be an abuse of those very rights,” says Salve.
4.40 pm: Pakistan’s allegations have no role to play in the matter presented here, Salve says. The case relates solely to violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan, he adds.
4.28 pm: Strictest and most rigorous guarantees must be undertaken in cases of death penalty, the Indian counsel says.
4 pm: Salve also refers to Article 5, 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which deal with the rights of arrested persons.
3.50 pm: “Pakistan should have provided a substantial explanation for why it needed three months for providing consular access, upon which it could have claimed that it has complied with treaty obligation,” Salve says.
3.45 pm: Salve refers to the 2008 bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan and its impact on Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. Bilateral treaties cannot modify the Vienna convention, but can only supplement it, he says.
3.40 pm: Article 36 of the Vienna Convention does not accept any exceptions, he says. It requires consular access to be given before the trial begins. “No exception given to charges of espionage under Vienna Convention,” he adds.
3.28 pm: Salve says Pakistan offered to allow Jadhav’s family to meet him, and the terms were agreed for the meeting held on December 25, 2017. However, “India was dismayed by the manner in which the meeting was conducted,” he says.
3.25 pm: Jadhav’s purported confession appears to be coaxed, Salve says. “There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay,” he says.
3.15 pm: Salve accused Pakistan of committing human rights violations in Jadhav’s case. Jadhav was not provided a lawyer, Salve says, adding that his date of apprehension was also not made public.
3.12 pm: Pakistan is misusing this court for propaganda, Salve says at the UN court. The alleged confession was obtained from Jadhav even before an FIR was registered, he says. “Pakistan also didn’t share any details of the investigation,” he adds.
3.06 pm: Salve says India had reminded Pakistan of its request of consular access to Jadhav on March 30, 2016, but there was no reply. New Delhi has sent 13 such reminders since on various dates, Salve says.
3.03 pm: “Jadhav’s continued custody without consular access should be declared unlawful,” Salve says, adding that Pakistan has not revealed the details of the so-called offence. “Pakistan story was always strong on rhetoric and weak on facts.”
2.50 pm: India’s counsel Harish Salve at the ICJ says Pakistan has no substantive defence in the matter and that the country has violated the Vienna Convention. India has demanded consular access to Jadhav under the rules of the Vienna Convention, but Pakistan has rejected the request repeatedly.
2.25 pm: The hearings will be held from February 18 to February 21 in the Peace Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands, the seat of the court. India, represented by Harish Salve, will argue its case from 10 am to 1 pm (2.30 pm to 5.30 pm India time) on February 18, and Pakistan will present its case on February 19 at the same time.
On February 20, India will kick off the second round of oral arguments, and Pakistan will respond on February 21.