DAWN – After long deliberation over the facts of the case the International Court of Justice unanimously ruled in favour of India. During a press conference three of the 15 judges formed a panel to further discuss the verdict concerning Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav’s retrial.
At the conference, Dalveer Bhandari stated that the court decided in favour of India on the grounds that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) superseded the 2008 bilateral treaty between Pakistan and India, the Agreement on Consular Access. Meaning that Pakistan did in fact violate Article 36 of the VCCR which required Pakistan to allow Indian consular access Jadhav. With this in mind, the court ordered a retrial calling on Pakistan to adhere to Article 36. At the same press conference, James Crawford, in response to a question by Dawn about ensuring a proper retrial, said that it was not in the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to enforce it. Crawford adding that he believed that allowing proper consular access will ensure Jadhav receives a fair trial.
The panel was asked about the significance of the ruling on future arrests, when there are claims of intelligence operation/terrorism, by India or Pakistan. To which Judge Giorgio Gaja responded and acknowledged the “hostile past” between Pakistan and India. Gaja also expressed hope that this ruling would result in “a little more peace and justice” between the two countries and for future generations.
In recent news, the United Nations News Agency has reported that Pakistan has arrested ‘unnamed Indian national’ along the Indian-Pakistani border and has been sentenced to death over suspected terrorist activities. This sentence was handed down today without giving the individual any access to consular supports. This flies in the face of the Jadhav ruling and clearly calls into question the non-binding nature of the ICJ as it appears there is little incentive to adhere to their verdicts. Given the blatant disregard of the Jadhav ruling in the latest arrest how can Jadhav’s retrial be trusted when he is still in custody of Pakistani authorities? Though it seemed that Jadhav may have had a second chance the fate of the ‘unnamed Indian national’ may too be his.