ICJ verdict is a comprehensive victory for India: Arun Jaitley
A plain reading of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment in former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case shows that India has won on almost all counts, former finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.
“Pakistan lost conclusively before the ICJ,” the senior BJP leader wrote in a blog. “Its farcical processes through which innocent are held guilty, stand exposed.”
On Wednesday, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan had violated 49-year-old Jadhav’s right to consular access and called for a review of the death sentence handed to him by a military court in April 2017 at an appropriate forum of Islamabad’s choice. Jadhav was arrested by Pakistani security agencies in March 2016 on charges of involvement in spying and subversive activities.
Jaitley said the ICJ had given Pakistan an opportunity to comply with the rule of law and reform its processes. “Will Pakistan use this opportunity or will they squander it? Pakistan is now under a global gaze as to what direction it follows. The ICJ judgment in this case is a comprehensive victory for India.”
What surprised many was Islamabad’s official claim that the judgment was a Pakistani victory, Jaitley wrote, adding that supporters of this viewpoint gave two primary reasons for such a “boisterous and bravado claim”. First, Jadhav had not been released by ICJ, and second, the military courts in Pakistan had been upheld and the case would go back to the military courts that are entirely state-controlled.
“The relevant question, therefore, when the case has been referred back to Pakistan, what will be the forum and the process of the review and reconsideration that will be available to Jadhav,” Jaitley said.
On the legality of military courts, the ICJ offered no opinion because of its limited jurisdiction, which extended to the interpretation and enforcement of the Vienna Convention, the BJP leader said.
“That question, thus, would remain open before an appropriate forum for adjudication in future,” he said.
Jaitley also cited select paragraphs of the judgment and said they effectively meant that for a review and reconsideration, the denial of consular access amounting to violation of principles of natural justice would be a relevant ground for challenging the conviction.