Kulbhushan Jadhav
Kulbhushan Jadhav

ICJ to start public hearings in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case on February 18

ANI | Updated: Feb 18, 2019 03:39 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Feb 17 (ANI): The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, will hold public hearings in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former officer of India Navy currently in jail here, on February 18.
According to Dawn newspaper, Pakistan’s delegation would be led by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor whereas Director General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal will lead the Foreign Office side.
The newspaper has further reported that “the world court has set a timetable for public hearings from February 18 to 21 in The Hague and Harish Salve, who represents New Delhi, is expected to argue first on February 18.”
"India will reply on February 20 while Islamabad will make its closing submissions on February 21. The ICJ is expected to deliver the decision by the summer of 2019."
“We are fully prepared with our strongest evidence being the valid Indian passport recovered from Commander Jadhav with a Muslim name,” Dawn has quoted an official, as saying.
Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from Balochistan in March 2016 for his alleged involvement in espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, a charge which India has outrightly rejected.
Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism on April 11, 2017, following which India moved the ICJ, challenging the verdict. Subsequently, on May 18, 2017, a 10-member bench of ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case.
India will present its case before the court. Since the matter is sub-judice, it is not appropriate for me to state our position in public. Whatever we have to do, we will do at the court,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi last week in response to a question in this regard.
India has also accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by not giving consular access to Jadhav arguing that the convention did not say that such access would not be available to an individual arrested on espionage charges.
Pakistan, however, has maintained at the ICJ that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 applied only to “legitimate visitors and did not cover clandestine operations.”
In a statement made in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian parliament, on April 11, 2017, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that “Jadhav has been awarded a death sentence by a Pakistani military court-martial on concocted charges, I repeat, on concocted charges.”
“I would like to inform the House that Shri Jadhav was doing business in Iran and was kidnapped and taken to Pakistan. The exact circumstances are unclear and can only be ascertained if we have consular access to him,” she had further stated in the statement.
“Accordingly, from the time his abduction was known, our High Commission in Islamabad has continuously pressed Pakistani authorities for such access. Although this is provided for by international law and is deemed a norm in international relations, the Government of Pakistan did not permit it. That itself should tell us much about the strength of the case against Shri Jadhav.”
Swaraj had further said: “Our position on this matter is clear. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Jadhav. If anything, he is the victim of a plan that seeks to cast aspersions on India to deflect international attention from Pakistan’s well-known record of sponsoring and supporting terrorism. Under these circumstances, we have no choice but to regard the sentence, if carried out, as an act of pre-meditated murder.” (ANI)