Hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its verdict temporarily staying the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said that any country ignoring the verdict would be putting itself in a position of “violating all canons of international norms”.
When asked about the Pakistan Foreign Office’s reported refusal to accept the ICJ order, Jaitley told reporters in Srinagar, “Those who are dealing with it will certainly respond but the ICJ ruling is based on the international notions of rule of law and civility. Therefore, if any country says I don’t accept the ruling… it is the country putting itself in a position that it is guilty of such a heinous crime violating all canons of international norms.”
Jaitley, who was in Srinagar for a GST Council meeting, said, “This order, though interim, is a very serious indictment of the kind of mockery of the judicial system that exists in Pakistan.” In a reference to Jadhav’s trial in a Pakistani military court, he said, “For any student of law, it is obvious that secret proceedings conducted in darkness are conspiratorial in nature and denial of consular access only emphasises that denial. It is a great vindication of India’s stand and our entire team at The Hague deserves to be congratulated.
“The proceedings and the order today highlight the importance of the fact that a person who is allegedly accused… has a right of effective defence…,” the minister said.
He also lauded External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the strategy adopted at the ICJ and made special mention of Harish Salve, who argued the matter at the Hague.
Salve, meanwhile, said that India’s case on Jadhav had been “emboldened” and “invigorated” with the first round of victory at the ICJ. “I felt positive energy when I was arguing the case. I felt the judges were connecting. I felt gratified. I did not feel that connection when the other side was arguing,” he told TV channels from London. “We are now a lot more emboldened and a lot more invigorated.”
He said the ICJ has rightly held that India should have been granted consular access as per the Vienna Convention. When asked about charging Re 1 as fee for fighting the case, Salve said he took the case “pro bono” as he believed in it.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the ICJ order was a blow to Pakistan’s bogus stand. “The stand of the Indian government is vindicated… India’s stand was based on truth and justice and respect for human rights,” he told reporters here.
“I hope Pakistan sees sense, comes back on track, behaves like responsible nation and gives consular access,” he said.
“Let us now hope that the next step, which will be the final step sometime in August, also comes India’s way and that’s the time we can see that Jadhav comes back home,” he added.
Inputs from PTI in Srinagar.