External Affairs

India to Submit ‘Memorial’ to ICJ in Jadhav Case on Wednesday

The stay on Jadhav’s execution will remain in force throughout the hearings on the merits of India’s case against Pakistan and until a final verdict is reached.

Members of the International Court of Justice on May 18, 2017, the date they delivered their judgment in the Indian case against Pakistan. Credit: UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Frank van Beek. Courtesy of the ICJ. All rights reserved.

New Delhi: Right on deadline, India will hand over its written arguments – known as a memorial – to the International Court of Justice in The Hague on its plea to declare Pakistan to be in violation of international law for sentencing a former Indian naval officer to death.

Ministry of External Affairs joint secretary (legal and treaties division) V.D. Sharma left New Delhi for the Netherlands on Tuesday night in order to hand over a hard copy of India’s memorial to the ICJ around noon on  Wednesday.

On May 8, India went before the UN judicial body to ask for an immediate ruling to stay the execution order passed by a Pakistani military tribunal against Kulbhushan Jadhav, as he was held in custody and tried and convicted for espionage under circumstances that violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

A day later, ICJ gave a de-facto stay when it requested Pakistan not to act in a way that would render any decision of the court infructuous.

On May 15, India and Pakistan appeared before the ICJ to present their oral arguments in the matter; India made the case for provisional measures, while Islamabad’s counsel argued against on a variety of grounds but primarily by questioning the court’s jurisdiction in the dispute.

Three days later, on May 18, the ICJ ruled that Pakistan’s argument that the court did not have jurisdiction was not valid. It pointed out that the VCCR does not allow a state to exclude a foreign national accused of spying from the right to consult with diplomats from his or her country. The court also observed that the “existence of a 2008 bilateral agreement between the parties on consular relations does not change its conclusion on jurisdiction”.

Issuing a stay on Jadhav’s execution, the ICJ asked Pakistan to “take all measures at its disposal” to ensure that he “is not executed pending a final judgment of the court” in the case.

In early June, during a discussion with ICJ president Ronny Abraham, India asked for four months and Pakistan for two months for preparation of their written pleadings.

The ICJ gave three months for India to submit its memorial, i.e. by September 13, while Pakistan’s deadline for filing its counter-memorial is December 13, 2017.

Experts believe it will be several months, and possibly more than a year, before the ICJ issues its final ruling on the matter.