Diplomacy

ICJ Effect: Pakistan Informs Kulbhushan Jadhav of His Rights to Consular Access

Pakistan also said it would provide Indian consular officials access to Jadhav "under Pakistani laws" but that the modalities were still being worked out.

New Delhi: In a late night development, Pakistan announced on Thursday that it would grant consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav and that it had informed him of his rights following the July 18 verdict of the International Court of Justice.

“Pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, Commander Kulbushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said a statement from the Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs.

It added that Pakistan will “grant consular access” to Jadhav, “according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out”.

The ICJ had ruled on Wednesday that Pakistan had breached its obligations under VCCR by not informing Jadhav of his rights and not granting access to Indian consular officials as per international treaty.

The UN’s judicial body also called on Pakistan to provide for the “review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction and sentencing keeping in mind the “full weight” of the impact the violation of Jadhav’s rights under Article 36 had on his trial and sentencing.

Article 36(b) of VCCR states:

(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;

Under international law, a consular officer is entitled to meet with their nationals arrested in a foreign country. Although the VCCR does not specifically state that the conversations have to be private, it is state practice in countries like the United State, Britain and Norway.

Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan in his first statement after the ICJ verdict had said that his government will “proceed as per law”. He had welcomed the ICJ judgment for not acquitting or releasing Jadhav, but had not specifically referred to the issue of consular access.

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