Any farcical attempt: India warns of returning to ICJ

Any farcical attempt: India warns of returning to ICJ

Jadhav case

 Senior advocate Harish Salve addresses a press conference on ICJ's verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav case in London on Wednesday. PTI photo

India on Wednesday vowed to return to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if Pakistan made “another farcical attempt” while reviewing the conviction of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

“We expect Pakistan to do whatever it has to do including appropriate legislative measures to guarantee a fair trial,” senior advocate Harish Salve, who was New Delhi's lead counsel in the case at the ICJ, said.

“So Pakistan's conduct is under watch and if what they do is another farcical attempt, we will be back in the court,” he added while speaking to media at the High Commission of India in London shortly after the ICJ delivered its judgement on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in The Hague.

“Pakistan had based allegations (against Jadhav) of what we lawyers call abuse of process and said that was another ground why India should not be allowed the relief it seeks. That has been rejected. (The) ICJ held that Pakistan is guilty of internationally wrongful acts,” said Salve.

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The ICJ asked Islamabad to review the conviction of Jadhav and the death sentence awarded to him by a military court of Pakistan on April 10, 2017. The court, however, did not accept New Delhi's plea that the re-trial should be conducted at a civilian court of Pakistan. It left it to Pakistan Government to choose the means of reviewing and reconsidering the conviction.

India had argued before the ICJ between February 18 and 21 this year that the entire trial of Jadhav and the sentence awarded to him by the military court of Pakistan had been farcical as it had been based on "confession taken under custody", without adequate legal representation.

Salve had argued on behalf of New Delhi that the trial was in brazen defiance of the rights and protections provided under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations 1963 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966.

Islamabad had on March 25, 2016, made public what it had claimed to be a "confession video" of Jadhav, with him admitting on camera that he had been working for the RAW of India and "involved in crimes of espionage and terrorism directed toward the infrastructure and people of Pakistan". New Delhi had termed the "confession" as one made under duress and dismissed the video as propaganda by Islamabad.

Salve had argued that the jurisprudence on 'human rights', including under ICCPR, had recognised “due process” rubric and a vital element of due process was the right to an effective defence against criminal charges, and to a fair and impartial trial, in which the accused would be represented by a lawyer of his choice. The use of military courts for the trial of civilians had always been a violation of due process standards. The trial of foreign national civilians by military courts had been a violation of not only the ICCPR but also the minimum standards recognised as principles of international law, the lead counsel of New Delhi had argued before the ICJ.