India and Pakistan last clashed at the ICJ 18 years ago regarding the shooting down of a Pakistani maritime reconnaissance aircraft by the IAF.
New Delhi: Till Sunday evening, Pakistan was yet to take a clear stand officially on its participation in proceedings in the crucial International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing on Kulbhushan Jadhav that will take place on Monday at The Hague. Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, had been sentenced to death about a month ago by a Pakistani military court on grounds of espionage and sabotage.
India has contested the move and dragged Pakistan to the ICJ on May 8 for refusing consular access to Jadhav and for violating the Vienna Convention on consular relations. Senior lawyer Harish Salve will represent the government of India at the ICJ on Monday.
According to news agency reports, both countries had last clashed at the ICJ 18 years ago, with the previous instance relating to shooting down of Pakistan’s maritime reconnaissance aircraft Atlantique by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Kutch region on August 10, 1999, killing 16 people on board shortly after the Kargil conflict.
Pakistan then reportedly claimed the plane was brought down in its air space and sought US$ 60 million in damages from India for the incident but a 16-judge bench of the court on June 21, 2000 voted 14-2 to dismiss Pakistan’s claim.
On March 29, this year, in a fresh declaration, Pakistan had recognised the jurisdiction of the ICJ but had specified before the ICJ that this would not apply to “matters related to the national security of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.
Pakistan treats the Kulbhushan Jadhav case as a matter of national security and this has triggered speculation that it may refuse to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction in this case.
The ICJ had last week stated that India “seeks the following reliefs: relief by way of immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused, relief by way of restitution in interregnum by declaring that the sentence of the military court arrived at, in brazen defiance of the Vienna Convention rights, restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court, and directing it to take steps to annul the decision of the military court as may be available to it under the law in Pakistan...”
The ICJ had added, “On May 8, 2017, the Republic of India instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, accusing the latter of ‘egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations’ (hereinafter the Vienna Convention) in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan.
The applicant (India) contends that it was not informed of Mr Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights. It further alleges that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, the authorities of Pakistan are denying India its right of consular access to Mr Jadhav, despite its repeated requests. The applicant also points out that it learned about the death sentence against Mr Jadhav from a press release.
India submits that it has information that Mr Jadhav was ‘kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Balochistan’ on 3 March 2016...”