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Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Past instances when ICJ was urged to stop executions

Countries move the International Court of Justice, the main judicial branch of the United Nations, in cases such as Kulbhushan Jadhav where their citizens are at risk of being executed by another nation after processes that have not followed Vienna Convention rules

india Updated: May 18, 2017 10:37 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kulbhushan Jadhav,India-Pakistan,The Hague
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.(AP file)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was set to rule on Thursday afternoon on India’s appeal to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage.

India has charged Pakistan with showing scant regard to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) and asked the ICJ, the primary judicial branch of the United Nations also known as The Hague after the city in which it is seated, to immediately intervene.

Past cases of a country going to the ICJ to stop the execution of its citizens by another:

LaGrand Case (Germany vs United States)

On January 7, 1982, German nationals Karl-Heinz and Walter Bernhard were involved in an armed robbery in Marana, Arizona in the United States. They were convicted of killing a man and severely injuring a woman and subsequently sentenced to death. Germany moved the ICJ weeks before their executions, securing a provisional stay from The Hague. But the US gave a lethal injection to LaGrand on Feb 24, 1999 and executed Bernhard in a case chamber a week later. In 2001, the ICJ rejected United States’ arguments based on domestic procedure and law and ruled in favour of Germany.

Avena case (Mexico vs US)

On January 9, 2003, Mexico took the United States to The Hague for violating VCCR in the trial of 54 Mexican nationals who were sentenced to death. Mexico requested the court to order a stay on the executions till it took a final decision on the matter, relying heavily on the ICJ’s judgment in the LaGrand case. César Roberto Fierro Reyna, Roberto Moreno Ramos, and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera were among those at risk of execution in the next few weeks, Mexico contended. The ICJ concluded that in 51 of the cases, excluding those of Reyna, Ramos, and Aguilera, the US breached the provisions of VCCR. But the matter didn’t end there and the US Supreme Court held that the United States Congress had not implemented enabling law to address violations of the VCCR.

Escalation: Going to UNSC

Parties have moved the United Nations Security Council to challenge an ICJ order. In 1986, Nicaragua, proceeded took the US to Hague accusing it of supported a rebellion to destabilise the country. ICJ ruled against US, which cancelled the declaration of ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction and moved the UN Security Council against the order successfully.

First Published: May 18, 2017 10:34 IST