Thursday, May 18, 2017
ICJ Justice to Khulbhushan Jadhav
Life is a collection of moments and today's order by the International Court of Justice staying the execution by Pakistan of Indian national, Khulbhushan Jadhav, is a moment of relief and joy for his family, friends and every human being who believes in fair play and justice.
The ICJ has ordered Pakistan not to carry out the execution until the court finally rules in the case. Thus, this is an interim relief but a very important one as it has averted irreparable damage.
As all legal battles, the case is complex in nature and has many aspects with regard to jurisdiction, the law to be applied, merits of the case and rights to appeal. But what this order today has really achieved is that it has put Pakistan on the back foot by the ICJ exercising jurisdiction over the Pakistani order, staying its execution and emphasising that the ICJ is binding on Pakistan - that is something Pakistan is not going to relish! More so, now Pakistan is going to have to present their case - legal arguments and evidence - to the ICJ and stand their scrutiny.
Already many are asking, "what next?" At this stage all that needs to be said is that today's order is a major step in giving Khulbhushan Jadhav the basic right in law of a fair trial wherein the prosecution will have to prove him to be guilty 'beyond reasonable doubt' for the charge to stick.
The importance of a fair trial cannot be emphasised enough. Judges and lawyers usually disagree over many issues but the one basic principle that they all tend to agree upon is that "It's better that 10 guilty men go free rather than one innocent man get wrongly convicted." Confessions by an accused prisoner under confinement mean little.
Pakistan needs to understand that taking a life is a serious matter and must be treated as such. But a major message that has gone to the world is that India will go to great lengths to ensure justice for even a single citizen, no matter what the odds.
Courtesy: General Overseas Service , ESD of AIR