THE HAGUE: The UN’s top court on Thursday ordered Pakistan not to execute Indian citizen Kulbushan Jadhav, who has been convicted of spying and subversive activities in Pakistan, until it gives a final decision.
Announcing its ruling on an urgent bid by India to stop Pakistan from executing the death sentence of convicted spy, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected Pakistan’s argument that it did not have jurisdiction in the matter. The court reasoned it could hear the case because it involved, on the face of it, an alleged violation of one of the clauses of the Vienna Convention, which both Pakistan and India ascribe to and whose interpretation falls under its purview. “[Meanwhile] Pakistan should take all measures to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed till the final decision of this court,” the court said.
The court also said Pakistan should inform it of all measures taken for implementation of the order.
The president of the court, Ronny Abraham, read out the decision.
In a press release posted on the ICJ’s website, the court provided its reasoning for the order it had issued. “The Court begins by considering whether it has jurisdiction prima facie to hear the case. It recalls that India seeks to ground its jurisdiction in Article I of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention, which provides that the Court has jurisdiction over “[d]isputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the [Vienna] Convention”.
“In this regard, the Court notes that the Parties do indeed appear to have differed, and still differ today, on the question of India’s consular assistance to Mr Jadhav under the Vienna Convention.”
“It further notes that the acts alleged by India [...] appear to be capable of falling within the scope of the Convention. In the view of the Court, this is sufficient to establish that it has prima facie jurisdiction under Article I of the Optional Protocol.”
“The Court further observes that the existence of a 2008 bilateral Agreement between the Parties on consular relations does not change its conclusion on jurisdiction. The Court then turns to the question whether the rights alleged by India are at least plausible. It observes that the rights to consular notification and access between a State and its nationals, as well as the obligations of the detaining State to inform the person concerned without delay of his rights with regard to consular assistance and to allow their exercise, are recognized in Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention, and that India has alleged violations of this provision. In the view of the Court, therefore, it appears that the rights alleged by India are plausible.”
“The Court then focuses on the issue of the link between the rights claimed and the provisional measures requested. It considers that the measures requested are aimed at ensuring that the rights contained in Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention, are preserved. Therefore, a link exists between the rights claimed by India and the provisional measures being sought.”
“The Court then examines whether there is a risk of irreparable prejudice and urgency. It considers that the mere fact that Mr Jadhav is under a death sentence and might therefore be executed is sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India. The Court further observes that Pakistan has indicated that any execution of Mr Jadhav would probably not take place before the month of August 2017. This means that there is a risk that an execution could take place at any moment thereafter, before the Court has given its final decision in the case.”
“The Court also notes that Pakistan has given no assurance that Mr Jadhav will not be executed before the Court has rendered its final decision. In those circumstances, the Court is satisfied that there is urgency in the present case.”
“The Court concludes by indicating the following measures:
Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the Court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present Order. The Court also decides that, until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seised of the matters which form the subject-matter of this Order.”