What is the issue?
- Kulbhushan Jadhav is an Indian national who was arrested by Pakistan from Balochistan over charges of terrorism and spying
- The Pakistani government states that he is a serving commander in the Indian Navy who was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan, and was arrested on 3 March 2016 during a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan.
- The Indian government recognises Jadhav as a former naval officer, but denies any links with him and maintains he took premature retirement and was possibly abducted from Iran.
- On 10 April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan.
What India is doing in this case?
- India has received a stay order preventing Pakistan from executing the death sentence awarded to the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
- India pointed out the violations of the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations.
- Pakistan had denied consular access to India despite 15 attempts.
- It also refused to give any details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until the death sentence was passed.
- India has rarely approached the ICJ especially when it comes to Pakistan.
- India is always hesitatant to “internationalise” its bilateral relations.
- But given the nature of Jadhav’s case in which Pakistan refused to follow any established principle India was forced to take the extreme measure of taking the case to the ICJ.
What are Pakistan’s arguments?
- Pakistan claims that the two countries are governed by a 2008 bilateral agreement on consular access, which effectively exempts Pakistan from its obligations under the Vienna Convention, and which also ousts altogether the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
- It argues that the Vienna Convention does not apply when a person has been detained for offences involving espionage or terrorism, as concerns over national security always trump the demands of consular relations.