The Hague: A day after India tore through the “opaque proceedings” of Pakistani military courts while urging the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to annul Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence and order his immediate release, Islamabad is set to put forward its argument before the UN’s top court on Tuesday. Also Read - 'Irreparable Damage': UN Top Court Orders Myanmar to Prevent Rohingya Genocide
While India argued on Monday, Pakistan will make submissions today. India will then reply on February 20 and Pakistan will make its closing submissions on February 21. Also Read - Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: 'Decision to be Taken in Accordance With Pakistani Laws While Honouring ICJ Verdict'
The ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, is holding public hearings in the Jadhav case from Monday 18 to Thursday 21 February, 2019. The verdict is expected by the summer of 2019. Also Read - Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: Pakistan Denies Reports About Amending Army Act to Allow Ex-Indian Navy Officer to File Appeal in Civilian Court
While presenting India’s arguments in the case, Ex-solicitor general Harish Salve said that the Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence by a Pakistani military court is based on a “farcical case”, which hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process.
“Military courts of Pakistan cannot command the confidence of this court and should not be sanctify by a direction to them to review and re-consider the case. India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction, and directions that he be released forthwith,” Salve said at the ICJ.
The four-day trail opened on Monday amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed at least 41 CRPF soldiers.
“India seeks relief in declaring that the trial by the military court in Pakistan hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process… and should be declared unlawful,” said Salve, the former solicitor general of India.
Noting that military courts in Pakistan are not independent, Salve said the working of such courts have been censured by the European Parliament.
“A foreign detainee has the right to life, the right to a fair trial and an impartial judiciary. However, Pakistan has sentenced 161 civilians to death in their military courts in opaque proceedings in the last two years,” Salve said.
He urged the ICJ to grant relief to Jadhav in the backdrop of fact that his trial has been done by a military court.
“Considering the trauma he (Jadhav) has been subjected to over the past three years, it would be in the interest of justice of making human rights a reality, to direct his release,” Salve said on the first day of the hearing.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Making submissions in the ICJ that lasted nearly three hours, Salve said Pakistan’s conduct doesn’t inspire confidence that Jadhav can get justice there.
“Pakistan has in custody an Indian national who has been publicly portrayed to be a terrorist and Indian agent creating unrest in Balochistan…,” he said, adding that there is no doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool.
No “credible evidence” was provided by Pakistan to show his involvement in any act of terrorism and Jadhav’s purported confession clearly appeared to be “coerced”, Salve said.
Noting that under the international law Pakistan was bound to grant consular access to Jadhav without delay, Salve said India sent 13 reminders to Pakistan for consular access to Jadhav, but Islamabad is yet to accede.