India will ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Monday for consular access to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. India will make the first round of oral arguments from 10 am to 1 pm in The Hague (2.30 pm to 5.30 pm IST).
According to the schedule released by the ICJ registry on October 3 last year, Pakistan will make its arguments at the same time tomorrow (February 19) and both countries will make a second round of oral arguments on February 20 and 21 respectively.
On May 18, 2017, the ICJ had delivered an order “indicating” the following “provisional measure”: that “Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings”.
Ties strained, India to push its point
The hearings come at a time when ties between India and Pakistan have hit a low following the Pulwama terror attack. The Indian side is expected to push its point that Pakistan has been breaking international rules and human rights laws.
Kulbhushan Jadhav case in ICJ: A timeline
This is how the case has progressed in the ICJ, according to a summary of the proceedings issued by the court in media releases as well as its annual reports:
On May 8, 2017, India moved the ICJ against Pak “for egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963” in the case of Indian national Jadhav’s detention, trial, and sentencing to death.
India said it was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest, and that Pakistan failed to inform Jadhav of his rights. In violation of the Vienna Convention, Pakistan had refused India its right of consular access to Jadhav. And India had learned about his death sentence only through a press release.
India told the court that 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 Baluchistan” on March 3, 2016.
Pakistan informed India of the arrest only on March 25, 2016. India sought consular access to Jadhav that same day, and repeatedly thereafter.
On January 23, 2017, Pakistan requested assistance in an investigation concerning Jadhav. On March 21, 2017, it issued a Note Verbale saying consular access would be considered in the light of India’s response to Pakistan’s request for assistance in the probe.
India told the court that “linking assistance to the investigation process to the grant[ing] of consular access was by itself a serious violation of the Vienna Convention”.
India asked the court for relief: (1) “by way of immediate suspension of the sentence of death”, (2) “by way of restitution in interregnum by declaring that the sentence of the military court… is violative of international law and the provisions of the Vienna Convention”.
Also, India asked that Pakistan be restrained from giving effect to the sentence, and directed to take steps to annul the decision of the military court.
On May 8, 2017, India filed a request for the indication of provisional measures. It said Jadhav “w[ould] be subjected to execution unless the Court indicates provisional measures directing the Government of Pakistan to take all measures necessary to ensure that he is not executed until th[e] Court’s decision on the merits” of the case.
India pointed out that Jadhav’s execution “would cause irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India”, and asked that the court direct Pakistan to “take all measures necessary to ensure that Jadhav is not executed”.
On May 9, 2017, the court asked Pakistan “to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on this Request to have its appropriate effects”. Public hearings on India’s request were held on May 15, 2017.
After the May 18, 2017 order, the court, on June 13, 2017, fixed September 13, 2017 as the time limit for India to file a memorial, and December 13, 2017 for Pakistan to file a counter-memorial.
On January 19, 2018, the ICJ authorized the submission of a Reply by India and a Rejoinder by Pakistan by April 17 and July 17, 2018 respectively.