India has decided to nominate a sitting judge of the International Court of Justice at Geneva and a Swiss international law expert to represent it in the Kishanganga project dispute with Pakistan.
The names of Peter Tomka, a Slovak diplomat who is the Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, and Lucius Caflisch, a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, were finalised on Tuesday pending their formal acceptance.
On the selection, the government consulted, among others, eminent lawyers R.K.P. Shankar Dass and Fali Nariman, who represented India in 2006-07 in the dispute with Pakistan on the Baglihar dam on the Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has already named Bruno Simma, also of the International Court of Justice, and Jan Paulsson, Norwegian head of an international law firm, as its arbitrators in the Court of Arbitration that will be set up to resolve its differences with India under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.
India is constructing the 330-MW hydroelectric project on the Kishanganga, a tributary of the Jhelum in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi maintains that it is within its rights, under the treaty, to divert Kishanganga waters to the Bonar Madmati Nallah, another tributary of the Jhelum, which falls into the Wullar Lake before joining the Jhelum again.
Pakistan has objected to this, saying India's plan to divert waters causes obstruction to the flow of the Kishanganga. It has also raised objection to the depletion of dead storage in the run of the Kishanganga project.
As far as India is concerned, the issue was settled by the neutral expert on the Baglihar project. Islamabad had invoked the provisions of the treaty to resolve design differences in the Baglihar project by approaching the neutral expert. Under the treaty, a request for arbitration must contain a statement explaining the dispute, the nature of relief sought and the names of the arbitrators appointed. The date on which the request is received by the other party shall be deemed the date on which the proceedings are instituted. Unless otherwise agreed, the Court of Arbitration shall consist of seven arbitrators, of whom three may be called umpires. The chairman would be chosen from among them.
India has to send its response on Kishanganga arbitration to Pakistan within 30 days of its receiving the request for setting up a Court of Arbitration. Sources said the request was received on May 18 and the reply must be sent by June 17.