Pak passes Bill to let Jadhav appeal
- Pakistan’s National Assembly has passed the ICJ (Review and Re-consideration) Bill, 2020 to provide the right of appeal to death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav.
- The Bill is aimed at allowing Jadhav to have consular access in line with the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
- Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
- India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
Observations made by the ICJ:
- Islamabad has violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963, by not informing India about Jadhav’s arrest immediately after Pakistan Army had taken him into custody.
- India had been deprived of the ‘right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention, and to arrange for his legal representation.
- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial body of the UN.
- It was established in 1946 to replace the Permanent Court of International Justice, the ICJ mainly operates under the statute of its predecessor, which is included in the UN Charter.
It has two primary functions:
- To settle legal disputes submitted by States in accordance with established international laws.
- To act as an advisory board on issues submitted to it by authorized international organizations.
Members of the Court:
- The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
- These organs vote simultaneously but separately. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.
- In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one-third of the Court is elected every three years.
- Judges are eligible for re-election.
Nomination of candidates
- Every state government, party to the Charter, designates a group that proposes candidates for the office of ICJ judges.
- This group includes four members/jurists of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (machinery which enables arbitral tribunals to be set up as desired and facilitates their work) also picked by the State.
- Countries not part of the statute follow the same procedure where a group nominates the candidates.
- Each group is limited to nominate four candidates, two of whom could be of their nationality. Within a fixed duration set by the Secretary-General, the names of the candidates have to be sent to him/her.
The 15 judges of the Court are distributed as per the regions:
- Three from Africa
- Two from Latin America and the Caribbean
- Three from Asia
- Five from Western Europe and other states
- Two from Eastern Europe
Independence of the Judges:
- Once elected, a Member of the Court is a delegate neither of the government of his own country nor of that of any other State.
- Unlike most other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments.
- Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.
- In order to guarantee his or her independence, no Member of the Court can be dismissed unless, in the unanimous opinion of the other Members, he/she no longer fulfils the required conditions. This has in fact never happened.