Jadhav Case a matter of “individual vs. state rights”

DAWN – Little has been revealed about the proceeding of the Jadhav Case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). As it stands a preliminary judgment is in the works and is expected to be formalised shortly and will finally decide Jadhav’s fate.

The Jadhav case arose from a March 2016 arrest of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav who confessed to working for India’s intelligent agency’s Research and Intelligent Wing (RAW). In an earlier interview conducted by Dawn, Jadhav can be quoted as collaborating with Indian intelligence agencies to conduct plans “of criminal nature, leading to the killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens”.  The 15 judges of the ICJ have deliberated over Jadhav’s case finding tension over individual versus state rights. Pakistan’s claims of Jadhav being a terrorist and a threat against security, in particular in Balochistan, has lead them push for a national trial not an international one. On the other hand, Dawn has collected a quote in early April 2017 from RAW officials stating Jadhav was “not a high-grade operative” and therefore not capable of contributing to Indian Intelligence Agencies. India describes Jadhav’s actions as an individual rather than state affiliated and ignoring the claims that he was acting on behalf of India.

Another main issue arising out of individual and state rights was deciding which legal framework should be used to cover the ruling namely the 2008 the Agreement on Consular Access (ACA) between Pakistan and India or the 1963 Vienna Convention on the Consular Relations (VCCR). Pakistan argues that under ACA that they have the exclusive right to put Jadhav on trial and withhold consular access to India on the grounds that the arrest was made on security concerns against Pakistan. In contrast, India presses for the use of VCCR as they claim Pakistan violated Article 36 of the convention, by withholding information that Jadhav was detained, which would have granted consular access and legal resources to Jadhav. Both parties are making claims based on technicalities and place the decision in the hands of  well qualified Judges who must carefully weigh each side.

In a brief interview with Peter Tonka, one of the 15 judges sitting in on the case said that current deliberations were focused on “talking outside politics [and focus on] looking at it from a law perspective”. While judges Giorgio Gaja and Joan Donoghue found that there were some contentious moments concerning the details of Jadhav’s life and activities, but they were able to work together and move past these sticking points. Tonka hinted at the coming ruling as being unanimously agreed upon with few displeased parties. Further details about the case deliberations were withheld; however, it seems that there has been some hard-pressing conversation in Jadhav’s final ruling.

While the two main arguments before the court are highly controversial the judges seem to have done their best to thoroughly understand Jadhav’s case and come to a well-informed ruling. Until such ruling is released Jadhav will have to wait a little longer, in suspense.