In what is termed as a great diplomatic win for India, the ICJ has ruled for “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav“, granting him consular access under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy Officer was arrested by Pakistan on grounds of “espionage” in March 2016. The case had been taken to the military court of Pakistan that gave a death sentence to Jadhav.
Jadhav was denied consular access in his trial despite several notifications from India; 13 precisely. Thus, India had to strike the doors of ICJ where senior lawyer, Mr. Harish Salve demanded consular access for Jadhav and pleaded to revoke his death sentence in the military court of Pakistan.
However, ICJ refused to annul Jadhav’s death sentence because it is beyond the court’s jurisdiction to interfere with the sovereignty of the nations.
After a verdict with a 15:1 ratio of the majority on India’s side, a question strikes almost immediately as to what could happen next in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The answers could be tricky specially now that the ball is in Pakistan’s court.
Would Pakistan Release Jadhav?
Pakistan’s history of criminal justice does not give a lot of hope to India. However, in light of recent events, we can afford an optimistic approach.
Pakistan’s new PM Imran Khan has lately been trying to strengthen its image in world diplomacy, ever since huge diplomatic pressure had been crowding on Pakistan post the Pulwama attacks and the listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
- Pakistan released Indian Air Force officer, Abhinandan winning some brownie points in diplomacy and appreciation from the big leaders including Donald Trump.
- Today, Pakistan claims to have arrested Hafiz Sayeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks which could be seen as another attempt by Pakistan to strengthen its image.
Therefore, the recent attempts of PM Imran Khan to strengthen the ties and paint a better image of Pakistan on grounds of terror funding activities have been noticed by the entire world. Pakistan could seek a way to have talks with India and release Jadhav.
Pakistan Could Begin Another Trial With Consular Access And Hold Jadhav Captive
Both the countries had signed the Article 94 of the United Nations Charter which makes it obligatory for them to comply with the ICJ’s decision.
However, many analysts question the power of ICJ, terming it as “a law by courtesy”. ICJ cannot enforce its ruling which would take matters in the hands of United Nations Security Council.
However, Pakistan doesn’t have the power to turn over the verdict in the UN Security Council, like the USA once did. There could be chances of China backing Pakistan among the permanent nations.
- If Pakistan follows the order and provides consular access to Jadhav, it might choose to begin a fresh trial or continue with the old trial.
- It is up to Pakistan’s will to proceed with the trial in the military court or the domestic court. The former being a disadvantage for India due to its “opaque” nature.
Whatever might be the further course of action, we can only just pray that India doesn’t have to face a Sarabjit like situation all over again. For now, a 15-1 majority in the court suggests a fair deal from the court’s side and increases diplomatic pressure points on Pakistan, which could be a good sign for us.
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