ICJ Verdict: Pakistan Finally Agrees To Grant Consular Access To Kulbhushan Jadhav, Here’s What It Means

by Swarajya Staff - Aug 1, 2019 05:36 PM +05:30 IST
ICJ Verdict: Pakistan Finally Agrees To Grant Consular Access To Kulbhushan Jadhav, Here’s What It MeansKulbhushan Jadhav was kidnapped by Pakistan from Iran. 

Having been humbled at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which ruled in favour of India on 17 July, Pakistan has now agreed to grant consular access to the retired Indian Navy officer on Friday (2 August), News18 has reported.

"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. As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out," a report by Wion quoting the Pakistani Foreign Office read.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed the Pakistani offer and that India is considering the the next step.

"We are evaluating it in the light of the judgement of the ICJ, we will maintain communication with Pakistan in this matter through diplomatic channels," Kumar said at a weekly briefing here. "This is not the appropriate forum to discuss modalities," he said.

What is Consular Access

As per the Article 36 Vienna convention on consular relations, arrested or detained foreign nationals have the right to notify their home nation’s consulate or embassy of their arrest. The foreign nation is also required to inform the detainees of their rights, immediately after taking them into custody.

On top of it consul officials of the home nation - which is India in case of Kulbushan Jadhav, have a right to visit and converse with the detainee in prison and arrange for his/her legal representation.

How Pakistan Violated The Vienna Convention

Ever since India became aware of Jadhav’s arrest, it repeatedly requested Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav, which was turned down every time by Pakistan. Till April 2017, India made a total of 16 applications to Pakistan for consular access - all were turned down. As a result India decided to file a case in the ICJ.

Pakistan also failed to inform Jadhav of his rights as mandated under the Vienna convention.

What ICJ Ruled

As per the recent ICJ ruling, Pakistan was found guilty of violating Article 36, paragraph 1(b) by not immediately informing Jadhav of his rights under on consular relations.

The ICJ thus directed Pakistan to immediately notify Jadhav of his rights and facilitate consular access for Indian officials. Which Pakistan now appears to have complied with.

What It Means For Jadhav

While Jadhav and India won the battle at ICJ the war is certainly not over. Thanks to consular access Jadhav won’t be alone anymore and would have access to Indian consuls aiding him and helping him fight his legal case.

This will especially come handy considering Pakistan has been directed by ICJ to review and reconsider his conviction and death sentence.

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