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ICJ verdict: Comprehensive victory for India in Jadhav case, says Jaitley

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 18, 2019 Published on July 18, 2019

Former Finance Minister says, need to see whether Pakistan will follow the due processin reviewing Jadhav’s sentence

Describing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav as a ‘comprehensive victory’ for the country, former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said another Pakistani military court cannot be the appropriate judicial authority to review Jadhav’s conviction, which was based on the confession made in custody and in the absence of consular access.

The ICJ has stayed the judgment of a Field General Court Martial on Jadhav, an Indian national sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism.

The ICJ held that the Vienna Convention, which binds both countries, effectively provides for consular access to Jadhav. In a blog, the former Finance Minister, who is also a renowned lawyer, said the ICJ judgment supports and upholds India’s stance on Jadhav’s case.

“An accused held in custody or detention in a foreign country has to be immediately informed that he has a right to seek consular access. The country to which the accused belongs has to be immediately informed that their national is in custody and, upon request, consular access has to be mandatorily provided. Such access enables an accused in a foreign land to get legal representation so that the trial against the accused would appear to be a fair trial. The ICJ has rightly held that each one of these pre-requisites were violated by Pakistan and, therefore, a conviction based on the violation of such basic human rights cannot be allowed to be executed,” said Jaitley.

Jaitley said the most important issue to be addressed by Pakistan after the case has been referred back is at what forum the case will be reviewed and whether the due process will be followed according to international law and practices.

“A plain reading of the judgement showed that India had won on almost all counts. What surprised many was the official claim of Pakistan that the judgement is, in fact, Pakistan’s victory. Supporters of this viewpoint gave two primary reasons for such a boisterous and bravado claim. Firstly, Jadhav had not been released by ICJ and secondly, that the military courts in Pakistan had been upheld and the case will go back to the military courts itself which are entirely State-controlled. Therefore, the relevant question is what will be the forum and the process of the review and reconsideration that will be available to Jadhav once the case is referred back to Pakistan,” said Jaitley.

Published on July 18, 2019
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