As it happened: Day 1 of the hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice

Kulbhushan Jadhav. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday began a four-day public hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

India moved the ICJ in May in 2017 against the “farcical trial” by the military court of Pakistan against 48-year-old Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer.

Here are the live updates:

4.20 p.m.


The ICJ reconvenes.

"Jadhav’s trial by military court hopelessly fails to satisfy even minimum standards of due process & should be declared "unlawful"," says Mr. Salve. "Serious charges need strict adherence to due process. Inhuman detention is a violation of universal rights."

Non-observance of 36 1B of the Vienna Convention is prejudicial to the guarantees of due process of law, says Mr. Salve.

"If article 36 grants rights of consular access in all cases including where allegations of such kind are leveled, then demanding those can't be an abuse of those rights,"  he adds.

"India has always offered consular access to Pakistan, even if those arrested were caught red-handed. It is another matter that Pakistan never availed of the offers," says Mr. Salve.

"We have not seen the evidence against Jadhav. We have not seen the judgement of the military court. All we have is the doctored confessions over and over again,"  says Mr. Salve.

"Pakistan has knowing, wilfully and brazenly violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. Honorouble judges, I respectfully submit that consequences must follow," says Mr. Salve.

4.00 p.m.


It has been confirmed that former Pakistan Chief Justice Jilani, who was unable to sit for the hearing, has been taken to the hospital. He had taken ill in the morning, reports Vidya Ram.


3.30 p.m.

On the Vienna Convention

Harish Salve reads out the various sections and articles of the Vienna Convention under which foreign prisoners fall. "India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access," he says.

"The Vienna Convention is a powerful tool that ensures the facility of consular access to foreign nationals who have been put on trial in foreign trial," he says. "Article 36 of the Vienna Convention says that a country must be informed about the detention of its citizens but Pakistan did not inform India about his arrest."

Without consular access, he says, "India has no information on what happened to Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan."

The court adjourns for a break.

2.30 p.m.

ICJ Hearing begins

Hearing begins. Former Pakistan Chief Justice Jilani, who was due to be sworn in as an ad hoc judge in the case is unable to sit for the Monday's hearing. The court is yet to confirm why.

ICJ judge reads out the case history.

Ex-solicitor Harish Salve, who leads India's legal team calls Pakistan's action an "egregious violation of the Vienna Convention".  He says there are only two broad issues in Jadhav case, including breach of Vienna Convention on consular access.

" There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay," news agency ANI reports Mr. Salve as saying. 

"Pakistan did not provide credible evidence and failed to disclose specific offences in the Jadhav case," he adds.

Mr. Salve recounts the chain events leading to Jadhav's imprisonment and India's attempts to attain consular access to him. "India's request (for consular access) did not evoke any response. 13 reminders were sent to Pakistan by India on various dates."

India asks for the ICJ to declare the Pakistani military trial of Jadhav and the lack of consular access accorded to him unlawful, and to direct his immediate release.

Mr. Salve also says Pakistan filed the FIR almost a month after the arrest of Jadhav.

“In April 2016 and FIR was registered against Jadhav. In May 2016, Jadhav was interrogated, and India sent reminders for consular access across May, June, and July,” Mr. Salve says.

“India reminded Pakistan for consular access — 13 reminders were sent — but to no avail,” he says.

“Pakistan is embarrassed to disclose charges against Jadhav,” he says, adding that Pakistan did not inform Kulbhushan Jadhav of his rights.

2.20 p.m.

ICJ cases

The ICJ is the main judicial arm of the UN, established in 1945 to deal with “contentious” cases submitted to it by member states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it, but is not a criminal court. A judgment could be expected within months of the hearings.

India’s legal team is expected to be led by Harish Salve, and Pakistan’s by Khawar Qureshi, a London-based Queens Counsellor. While one of the ICJ judges – Dalveer Bhandari – is Indian, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani will serve as an ad hoc judge on the case.

The case is only the fourth one involving a death sentence to be heard by the ICJ since the first in 1999, and the first that does not involve the US. The previous three cases involved Germany, Mexico and Paraguay.

Read more


2.10 p.m.

Three-hour hearing

The three-hour hearing will be split into two one and a half hour session preceded by the swearing in ceremony in of Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jilani as an ad hoc judge in the case. This will take the total number of judges hearing the case to 16, including India’s Dalveer Bhandari.

Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs is India’s Agent, heading the team, with Harish Salve as Counsel. The Pakistani delegation is led by the Attorney General, Anwar Mansoor Khan, with Khawar Qureshi as counsel.

Following the four days of hearings, the judgement is typically expected within six months and is based on the decision by a simple majority of judges. Should there be an even split, the President has the casting vote.  The decision of the court is final, and without appeal though there are limited circumstances where parties can ask for revisions or interpretations of a verdict.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 5:00:02 AM |

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