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Bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan doesn’t take away its jurisdiction, says ICJ

The court recognized the possibility that Jadhav could be hanged by Pakistan after August 2017   

~By Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr

The International Court of Justice at The Hague has asked Pakistan in clear language to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the Court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present Order.”

The court accepted the Indian contention of getting consular access to Jadhav under the Vienna Convention and therefore considered the case to be falling within the jurisdiction of the court.

In the press release of the court, which is considered unofficial, it was noted that Vienna Convention, Article I of the Optional Protocol, which was invoked by India, provides that the International Court of Justice will interpret disputes arising out of the interpretation of the Vienna Convention.

India has raised issues over denial of consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it fell within the scope of the Vienna Convention and therefore within the jurisdiction of the court.

It has also rejected Pakistan’s argument that the existence of a 2008 bilateral agreement over cooperation in issues relating to terror activities precludes the Vienna Convention, and therefore the jurisdiction of the Court.

The press release says, “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 recognised the possibility, and therefore the urgency following from it, of Jadhav being executed. It noted “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.”

And the Court inferred from this 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.”

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