The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hear an extremely rare case involving Pakistan and India, as tensions between the two neighbours rise over the conviction of Indian Navy officer and agent of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency for espionage.
On Monday, the ICJ will hear the complaint from New Delhi accusing Pakistan of ‘egregious violations’ of the Vienna Convention for its treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a 47-year-old Indian military officer who has been in Pakistani custody since March 2016.
Last month, Jadhav was convicted of espionage and sabotage, and sentenced to death, in a military tribunal. India complained to the ICJ that its 16 formal requests to Pakistan for consular access to Jadhav have been repeatedly rebuffed — in ‘contravention’ of international law — and has asked for a stay on his execution.
Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz shared the charge sheet against the Indian spy and a timeline of his trial in a media briefing and said that since India has no credible explanation about why their serving naval commander was in Balochistan, it has unleashed a flimsy propaganda campaign.
India claimed Jadhav was ‘kidnapped’ from Iran, while Islamabad insists he was arrested from Balochistan province. The appeal to the ICJ is an unusual departure for India, which typically insists its differences with Pakistan must be resolved bilaterally, without international mediation.
India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said that New Delhi was determined to save an Indian citizen being held in Pakistan. “This is a course of action we have chosen after ‘careful’ deliberation and consideration in the interest of saving a life and ensuring justice for a son of India,” he told reporters.
— STEPS TAKEN TO ENSURE TRANSPARENCY
The adviser reassured critics that steps had been taken to ensure transparency during the trial of the Indian spy under Pakistan’s laws and the Pakistan Army Act. Elaborating on these steps, he said Jadhav’s confessional statement had been recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, whereas the proceedings had been conducted under the Law of Evidence.
Witnesses recorded statements under oath in front of the accused, who was allowed to question them. “It should be clear from these details that Jhadav was tried under the law of the land in a fully transparent manner,” he said. “His sentence is based on credible, specific evidence proving his involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan,” he said.