The Hague: India urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday to annul the decision of Pakistani military court and direct fair trial in civilian court and grant full consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav. “Annul the decision of the military court and restrain Pakistan from giving effect to the (death) sentence. Release Jadhav and ensure his safe passage to India. If not then direct a trial under normal law before civilian courts with full consular access,” Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, the Ministry of External Affairs, told the ICJ judges while making the final submission on the third day of hearing.
The retired Indian Navy officer Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
Mittal also requested the top UN court to declare that Pakistan acted in breach of Article 36 of Vienna Convention, failed to inform Jadhav of his rights and declined consular access to him.
Meanwhile, former Solicitor General Harish Salve, who is representing India at ICJ in the case, told the judges that Jadhav has become a ‘pawn’ in Pakistan tool to divert international scrutiny from itself. He added that Jadhav has been sent to gallows on the basis of extracted confession.
Explaining the meaning of judicial review, Salve drew a stark contrast to 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab case and said, “When we talk of review, I’d like to draw your attention in stark contrast in Kasab case. where the Supreme Court in India held that since it is a case of death sentence we may examine the materials on record first hand. This is called a review.”
Quoting an old lawyer’s saying, Salve said, “When you are strong on law you hammer the law, when you are strong on facts you hammer the facts and when you are strong on neither you hammer the table.”
Salve also responded to the arguments made by Pakistani counsel Khawar Qureshi and said, “A criticism of a sovereign state of the case made out of the other state must be in language consistent with the dignity of other states. Humpty Dumpty has no place in this court.”
He added, “The language echoed in this court… Perhaps this Court may lay down some red lines. Transcript is peppered with words such as shameless, nonsensical, laughable, breathtaking arrogance. India takes exception to being addressed in this fashion. I would let the matter rest as Indian culture prevents me from indulging in a similar language of insults.”
On the first day of hearing in the case, India urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to annul Jadhav’s death sentence and order his immediate release, saying the verdict by a Pakistani military court based on a “farcical case” hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process. Pakistan on Tuesday responded to India insisting that the Indian Navy officer was a “spy” and not a businessman.
The four-day hearing in the Jadhav case opened on Monday at the UN court headquarters in The Hague amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which was carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred as JeM militant Adil Ahmad Dar rammed an explosive-laden truck into a bus of the convoy on Srinagar highway on February 14.