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India at ICJ: From Marshall Islands dispute to repeated run-ins with Pakistan

On Tuesday, India’s Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the International Court of Justice. Here are the ICJ cases that involved India:

india Updated: Nov 21, 2017 16:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
International Court of Justice‬,‪Dalveer Bhandari‬,‪India‬
International Court of Justice judges in the Hague.(AFP File Photo)

India’s Dalveer Bhandari was on Tuesday re-elected to the International Court of Justice, with Britain eventually withdrawing its candidate from a close fight.

Bhandari and UK’s Christopher Greenwood were locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election as the UN could not decide between them after electing four out of five judges to the ICJ.

Here are the cases at the ICJ that have involved India:

India vs Pakistan (2017-present)

In May, India approached the ICJ to save Kulbhushan Jadhav’s life after Pakistan repeatedly refused consular access to the man it alleged was a spy and sentenced him to death.

The Indian challenge was primarily based on Pakistan violating Vienna convention on consular relations. Among other things, the agreement allows diplomatic representatives to visit their nationals held prisoner by the host country. India also argued that Pakistan had ignored a bilateral treaty on consular access.

The ICJ has stayed Pakistan’s execution order, and is hearing the case.

Marshall Islands vs India (2014-2016)

In 2014, Marshall Islands accused nine countries of failing to comply with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

While the ICJ did not take up cases against a few countries that did not recognise its jurisdiction, it threw out the plea against India in 2016.

“The court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India,” presiding judge Ronny Abraham said, and therefore the tribunal “cannot proceed to the merits of the case.”

Pakistan vs India (1999-2000)

In 1999, Pakistan filed a case alleging that India shot down its aircraft. The neighbouring nation said the ICJ had jurisdiction over the matter, but India rejected it, adding that there was no mention of a treaty between the two countries.

In 2000, the ICJ’s judgment said “it has no jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Pakistan vs India (1973)

In May 1973, Pakistan filed a case over prisoners of war, saying it would transfer 195 of them to Bangladesh for trial in cases of alleged genocide.

In December 1973, the ICJ said Pakistan had held negotiations with India, resulting in an agreement. “(Pakistan) requested the Court to make an Order officially recording discontinuance of the proceedings in this case,” the court said.

India vs Pakistan (1971-1972)

In 1971, India filed a case in connection with the jurisdiction of the International Civil Aviation Organization council. Pakistan had complained to the council that India suspended the neighbour’s civil flights in its territory.

The ICJ rejected Pakistan’s objections on the question of its competence, finding “that it has jurisdiction to entertain India’s appeal”.

It, however, held that the ICAO council was competent to entertain Pakistan’s complaint and rejected the appeal made by India against the “decision of the council assuming jurisdiction in those respects.”

India vs Portugal (1955-1960)

Portugal said in 1955 India prevented it from exercising the ‘right to passage’ in its territory. The country was then in control of two territories – Dadra and Nagar-Haveli.

In 1960, the ICJ ruled that “India has not acted contrary to its obligations resulting from Portugal’s right of passage in respect of private persons, civil officials and goods in general.”

With inputs from agencies

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 11:49 IST