The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was a battleground for India and Pakistan, nearly 18 years ago, when Islamabad sought its intervention over the shooting down of Pakistan’s maritime reconnaissance aircraft Atlantique by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Kutch region on August 10, 1999. This ghastly incident killed 16 naval personnel on board shortly after the Kargil conflict.
Pakistan claimed the plane was brought down in its air space and sought USD 60 million in damages from India for the incident. The court however dismissed the claim. On June 21, 2000, a 16 - judge bench of the court dismissed Pakistan’s claim. Bench President Gibert Guillaume of France at a public sitting made the announcement of the decision. The judgment was final and hence there was no appeal. On September 21, 1999, the ICJ found that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Pakistan.
Pakistan, till Sunday evening was yet to take a clear stand on its participation in the crucial ICJ hearing on former Indian Naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav. The hearing will take place today at ICJ, which is the UN’s principal judicial organ at the Great Hall of Justice housed in the Peace Palace at The Hague in Netherlands.
Jadhav had been sentenced to death last month by a Pakistani military court on grounds of espionage and sabotage. India has contested the move and dragged Pakistan to the ICJ on May 8 for refusing consular access to Mr Jadhav and for violating the Vienna Convention on consular relations. Pakistan has also not responded to the request for visas applied by Jadhav’s family. Jadhav was arrested on March 3 last year.
Pakistan considers the Kulbhushan Jadhav case a matter of security and this has raised speculation that it may refuse to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction in this case. Senior lawyer Harish Salve will represent the government of India at the ICJ today.
Last week, the ICJ stated that India “seeks the following reliefs :
Relief by way of immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused, relief by way of restitution in interregnum by declaring that the sentence of the military court arrived at, in brazen defiance of the Vienna Convention rights, restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court, and directing it to take steps to annul the decision of the military court as may be available to it under the law in Pakistan...”