ICJ expected to deny India’s plea to release Kulbhushan Jadhav

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ISLAMABAD: It seems unlikely, according to international experts, that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule in India’s favour in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case today (Wednesday).

The verdict of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) operative’s case will be announced today at the Peace Place in Hague at 06:00 pm Pakistan Standard Time.

As per international law expert, Taimur Malik (who spoke to The Express Tribune), the ICJ is likely to deny India’s ‘acquittal, release and return’ demand.

According to Malik, the ICJ is expected to grant India consular access to the spy. However, anything more than that would raise eyebrows around the world and subject the ICJ to criticism from international law experts for judicial activism.

Malik said that if the ICJ rules that consular access is granted to India, then it can be taken as a victory in Pakistan. This will demonstrate confidence in Pakistan’s judicial system and Jadhav’s fate would then be decided by Pakistani courts.

Kulbhushan Jadhav is a serving commander in the Indian Navy and is a member of Indian spy agency R&AW. Pakistani authorities investigated and found out that he was sent to Pakistan to carry out terrorist attacks in Karachi and Balochistan.

Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, who is leading the Pakistani legal team in the case, arrived in the Netherlands, on Tuesday.

A 16-member bench of the ICJ led by Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will decide whether or not to give consular access to the Indian spy. Pakistan’s former chief justice Tasadduq Hussain Jillani is an ad hoc judge in the case and India’s Dalveer Bhandari is a permanent judge at the ICJ, is also a member of the bench.

This is the first time that an ICJ bench will rule on whether or not consular access should be given to a spy or not.

Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had endorsed Jadhav’s death penalty in April 2017. Jadhav filed for a mercy petition in May 2017 as India took the case to the ICJ. The ICJ stayed his execution.

Harish Salve gave oral submission on behalf of India while Queens Counsel Khawar Qureshi defended Pakistan’s position.

India argued in the case that Jadhav was an innocent businessman who had been kidnapped from Iran by Pakistani authorities and tortured to confess that he was an agent of R&AW. India said that a military court conducting Jadhav’s trial was a farce.

India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by not allowing consular access to its citizen.

Pakistan argued that Jadhav was a spy who had been given an Indian passport with a Muslim name by the Indian government.

Islamabad pointed to an express Agreement on Consular Access between the two states which stated that consular access would be granted ‘on its merits’ in the case of national security.

Pakistan said that it had convicted Jadhav based on the evidence that had been obtained from him.