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Pakistan Breached Vienna Convention on Consular Access Rules ICJ - (17 Jul 2019)


The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, on 17th July, 2019, rendered its Judgment in the Jadhav case (India v. Pakistan). The Court accepted India’s submission and held against Pakistan. The Court finds by fifteen votes to one that, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, has acted in breach of the obligations incumbent on it under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24th April, 1963 (Vienna Convention).

The Court finds unanimously, that it has jurisdiction, on the basis of Article I of the Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes to the Vienna Convention, to entertain the Application filed by the Republic of India. By not informing Mr. Jadhav without delay of his rights under Article 36, paragraph 1 (b), of the Vienna Convention, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan breached the obligations incumbent upon it under that provision. Further, Court observes that, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr. Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached the obligations incumbent upon it under Article 36, paragraph 1 (a) and (c), of the Vienna Convention. India and Pakistan have been parties to the Vienna Convention since 28th December, 1977 and 14th May, 1969, respectively. They also were, at the time of the filing of the Application, parties to the Optional Protocol without any reservations or declarations.

Since, 3rd March, 2016, an individual named, Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav who has been in the custody of Pakistani authorities. Mr. Jadhav was accused of performing acts of espionage and terrorism on behalf of India, and sentenced to death by a military Court in Pakistan in April, 2017. The Court thus concludes that the Convention is applicable in the present case, regardless of the allegations that Mr. Jadhav was engaged in espionage activities. Accordingly, the Court is of the view that, Pakistan is under an obligation to cease those acts and to comply fully with its obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.


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