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Defence & Security

Denial of Consular access to Jadhav is a Violation of Vienna Convention, India tells ICJ

NEW DELHI: After getting an interim stay in Kulbhushan Jadhav case from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on carrying out death sentence on the former Naval officer who is jailed in Pakistan. India will now have to  wait for the final ruling of the 15-judge ICJ whether Jadhav’s rights were violated. 

India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention which allows consular access to foreign nationals. Islamabad has repeatedly turned down New Delhi’s request for consular access to Jadhav who is jailed in Pakistan and has been convicted of charges of subversion and espionage and given death sentence by a military court last month. 

India instituted proceedings against Pakistan in ICJ, accusing Islamabad of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” in the detention and trial of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Last month, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale had asked for consular access to Jadhav for the 16th time.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted today that senior advocate Harish Salve would be representing India before ICJ in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.  

India on Wednesday said the decision taken to move the ICJ was calculated and carefully considered.


“This is a course of action chosen after careful consideration to save the life of an Indian citizen, a son of India, who is in illegal detention and whose life is under threat,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay told mediapersons here.

India had sought relief asking for a suspension of the sentence of death awarded to Jadhav, the ICJ said in a press statement. India had stated that the sentence of the military court was in “brazen defiance” of the Vienna Convention rights under Article 36 and elementary human rights of an accused.

“The applicant also points out that it learned about the death sentence against Jadhav from a press release. India submits that it has information that Jadhav was `kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Baluchistan’ on 3 March 2016, and that the Indian authorities were notified of that arrest on 25 March 2016,” said the ICJ in a press statement before it stayed the death sentence.

India also sought other “reliefs” from the ICJ including an immediate suspension of the death sentence,  restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court. 

India also sought directions from the ICJ to Pakistan to take steps to annul the decision of the military court as may be available to it under the law in Pakistan,  and if Pakistan is unable to annul the decision, then this court to declare the decision illegal being violative of international law and treaty rights and restrain Pakistan from acting in violation of the Vienna Convention and international law by giving effect to the sentence or the conviction in any manner, and directing it to release the convicted Indian National forthwith.”

India has contended that it was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights. It further alleged that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, the authorities of Pakistan are denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav, despite its repeated requests. 

“The Applicant also points out that it learned about the death sentence against Mr. Jadhav from a press release. India submits that it has information that Mr. Jadhav was “kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Baluchistan” on 3 March 2016, and that the Indian authorities were notified of that arrest on 25 March 2016. It claims to have sought consular access to Mr. Jadhav on 25 March 2016 and repeatedly thereafter,” the ICJ said in a press statement. 

India told ICJ that on January 23, 2017, Pakistan requested assistance in the investigation of Mr. Jadhav’s alleged “involvement in espionage and terrorist activities in Pakistan” and, by a Note Verbale of 21 March 2017, informed India that “consular access [to Mr. Jadhav would be considered in the light of the Indian side’s response to Pakistan’s request for assistance in the investigation process”. 

According to ICJ statement, India claimed that “linking assistance to the investigation process to the granting of consular access was by itself a serious violation of the Vienna Convention”. 

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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