India seeks civil court trail on Kulbhushan Jadhav

 India seeks the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to direct Pakistan to hold the trail in a “civilian court” against charges levelled on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, for which a Pakistan military court issued death sentence. India also urged to grant him all legal resourse, including consular access.

Making the final arguments for India at the International Court of Justice, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs Deepak Mittal said: “Annul the decision of the military court and restrain Pakistan from giving effect to the (death) sentence. Release Jadhav and ensure his safe passage to India. If not, then direct a trial under normal law before civilian courts with full consular access.”

Mittal requested the top UN court to declare that Pakistan acted in breach of Article 38 of Vienna Convention, failed to inform Jadhav of his rights and declined consular access to him. “India requests this court to adjudge and declare that Pakistan acted in egregious breach of Article 36 of Vienna Convention,” he said.

India questioned the functioning of Pakistan’s notorious military courts and urged the International ICJ to annul Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, which is based on an “extracted confession”. Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, cited the example of how Ajmal Kasab, the lone 26/11 Pakistani attacker caught alive, was given legal options, including a Supreme Court hearing.

He also cited Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s interview to a newspaper in which he acknowledged his country’s role in the 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed by 10 LeT terrorists. “This interview has not been denied,” Salve said.

On Pakistan’s military courts, he said the International Commission of Jurists and European Parliament have criticised their functioning and added that anything diluting provisions of Vienna Convention must fail.

“Jadhav’s trial was completed in 4-6 months or weeks…What happened to more than 150 people killed in the Mumbai terror attacks?” Salve asked as he raked up the Ajmal Kasab case to highlight the meaning of judicial review.“In Kasab case, the LeT terrorist who was apprehended and caught red handed by brave police officers, the Supreme Court of India examined materials on record first-hand since it was the case of death sentence. This is called review,” he said.

On Pakistan’s argument that India did not provide proof of Jadhav’s nationality, Salve said Pakistan had no doubt when it arrested Jadhav that he was an Indian national.

The four-day hearing in the Jadhav case opened Monday amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers. Pakistan will make the closing arguments later today. The ICJ is expected to deliver its verdict in the summer of 2019.

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