Bhan­dari’s win could spell hope for Jadhav

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Nation - Let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

NEWDELHI: The out­come of In­dia’s ef­fort to se­cure a se­cond term for Dalveer Bhan­dari at the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) could have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the case of Kulb­hushan Jadhav, sen­tenced to death by a Pak­istani mil­i­tary court.

Bhan­dari, who was elected to his cur­rent seat in 2012, ap­peared to be bet­ter placed than his Bri­tish ri­val on Mon­day but the com­pli­cated elec­tion process in­volv­ing the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly and Se­cu­rity Coun­cil re­mains dead­locked. If for some rea­son, In­dia fails in its ef­forts to se­cure Bhan­dari’s re-elec­tion, it will have to go through the process of nom­i­nat­ing an “ad hoc judge” to the 12-mem­ber ICJ tri­bunal that is hear­ing the case of Jadhav, whose death sen­tence was put on hold by The Hague-based court.

Ar­ti­cle 31 of the ICJ’s statute states that if the panel in­cludes “a judge of the na­tion­al­ity of one of the par­ties, (the other) party may choose a per­son to sit as judge”. An ad hoc judge can also be cho­sen if the panel in­cludes “no judge of the na­tion­al­ity of the par­ties”, ac­cord­ing to the ar­ti­cle. In Oc­to­ber, Pak­istan nom­i­nated for­mer chief jus­tice Tas­saduq Hus­sain Jil­lani as its ad hoc judge in the panel that will re­sume hear­ing Jadhav’s case in De­cem­ber.

Ex­perts be­lieve In­dia could be at a dis­ad­van­tage if Bhan­dari does not get re-elected as there may not be an In­dian rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the tri­bunal at a cru­cial stage when the panel be­gins con­sid­er­ing the “memo­ri­als” or writ­ten sub­mis­sions made by New Delhi and Islamabad on Jadhav. In­dia sub­mit­ted its me­mo­rial in Septem­ber while Pak­istan has time till De­cem­ber 13.

The ICJ has asked Pak­istan not to go ahead with the ex­e­cu­tion of Jadhav, ac­cused of in­volve­ment in spy­ing and sub­ver­sive ac­tiv­i­ties, till it gives its fi­nal rul­ing. The Pak­istan Army said last month its chief is close to a de­ci­sion on Jadhav’s mercy pe­ti­tion.

In­dia has dis­missed the charges against Jadhav, say­ing the for­mer naval of­fi­cer was kid­napped from Chaba­har port, where he was run­ning a busi­ness.

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