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Jadhav case clarified several int’l law issues: ICJ chief

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Kulbhushan Jadhav

United Nations, Oct 31 : The International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case has led to the clarification of several issues in international law relating to consular relations and the treatment of prisoners from other countries, according to ICJ President Abdulqawi Yusuf.

“The Court had to address several issues regarding the interpretation and application of the Vienna Convention in the specific circumstances of the case,” he said on Wednesday, presenting the court’s annual report.

He said that the ICJ reiterated or clarified the rights to consular access, the meaning of “without delay” in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and its application to even cases of alleged espionage and established that bilateral agreements could not nullify the Convention.

Yusuf said: “In its Judgment, the Court found that Pakistan had violated its obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and that appropriate remedies were due in this case.”

India welcomed the ICJ’s adaptability to emerging realities.

“The Court has remained sensitive to political realities and sentiments of states, while acting in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter, its own statute and other rules of international law,” said Uma Shankar, an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs dealing with legal affairs.

“It is significant to note that the court has not lost sight to adapt itself to the working methods including handling of emergent situations in responding to the increased workload and in dealing with the complexity involved in the cases submitted to it,” she added.

After hearing the case brought by India against the death penalty imposed by a Pakistani military court on Jadhav, the court ruled in July that Islamabad must review the case and stay the execution till the review and its outcome.

The court agreed with India that the trial was unfair and by a 15-1 verdict held that his rights under international convention had been violated because Indian diplomats were denied access to him and could not help him.

Yusuf said the ICJ “is pleased” that Pakistan confirmed its commitment to implementing its judgment in full and allowing Jadhav access to Indian diplomats.

The ruling had significance for Latin American countries that have deep commitment to diplomatic protections and traditions.

Participating in the debate on the ICJ report, Mario Oyarzabal, the Legal Counselor in the Argentine External Relations Ministry, commended the speed with which the ICJ acted in the sensitive case issuing provisional measures to avoid irreparable damage that could result from an execution.

Alejandro Celorio, the Legal Adviser of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affair, praised the ICJ verdict in the Jadhav case saying: “The Court was able to expand and deepen your jurisprudence in relation to the law consular and the importance of its unrestricted compliance.”

The judgment laid out the “the obligation of consular notification regarding the detention of foreign citizens”, which “is of the greatest relevance to the operation of the multilateral system”, he said.

“It established that the international rule of law protects relations between states in their more basic dimension: its citizens,” Celorio added.

This dimension of the ICJ verdict against Pakistan for violating Jadhav’s rights is of relevance to US relations with Mexico, which has frequently complained that Washington fails to notify it about the arrest of its citizens and provide prompt consular address.

The delegate referred to the 2004 Avena Case in which the ICJ had ruled that the US had violated the Vienna Convention by not providing consular access to Mexicans, some of whom faced the death penalty.

“The violations of the rights of foreigners are such an important issue today as 15 years ago, when the Avena ruling was issued,” the delegate said.

Jadhav, a retired Indian navy commander, was tried as a spy by the Pakistani military after he was captured in 2016.

India says that he was kidnapped from Iran and brought to Pakistan.

Indian sources say that a terrorist organisation, Jaish ul-Adl, abducted him in Sarbaz in Iran and handed him over to Pakistani military, which brought him to Balochistan Province.

A Pakistani military court sentenced him to death in April 2017 on charges of spying and supporting terrorism.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

India

Another staffer at AIIMS Delhi dies of Covid-19

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) After a mess worker at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here, another staff member died from coronavirus on Monday.

The deceased, Hiralal was working as senior sanitation supervisor and was posted at Rajkumari Amrit Kaur OPD in the AIIMS.

A source from the hospital said that he was very alert while discharging his duty in the hospital. “He used to follow all norms of hygiene but despite that, the deadly virus entered his body and he lost the battle of life. He did not care about his life while serving people in the hospital. He was loved equally by all including nursing staff and doctors.”

The source also said: “Hiralal was very active in participating in social causes. He played a key role in establishing SC/ST Employees Welfare Association at the AIIMS.”

His body has been kept in the AIIMS Trauma centre mortuary and will be handed over to his family after due procedure.

On May 22, a mess worker had also died from Covid-19 leading the Resident Doctors Association of the hospital charging the AIIMS administration of not following safety norms and demanding testing of all mess workers and residents after diligent contact tracing and compensation for the family of the deceased worker.

A source had then told IANS that AIIMS is allegedly “not taking proper precautions for its residents and staff”.

“Two months ago, we had demanded regular screening and other safety measures like thermal scanners, sanitisers, masks etc. to ensure mess workers are able to work safely without endangering themselves as well as the staff members. But the administration didn’t pay heed to our demands,” the source said.

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Health Ministry refutes low quality PPE charges

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said that it is ensuring quality of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by stringent protocol.

The response came as the ministry was reportedly alleged about the quality of the PPE coveralls.

It said that the product under reference had no relevance to the procurement being made by the Central Government.

“HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the procuring agency of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is procuring PPE coveralls from manufacturers or suppliers only after getting them tested and approved by one of the eight labs nominated by the Ministry of Textiles (MoT). It is only after their products qualify in the test prescribed by the technical committee (JMG) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, that they are procured,” said the Health Ministry.

The ministry said the procuring agency HLL is also undertaking random sampling of the supplies being made, for which a testing protocol has been devised, failing to which the is being disqualified for any supplies.

The ministry has asked states also to procure the PPE only after following the prescribed testing for PPEs from MoT nominated labs. The Health Ministry said the manufacturers got their products qualified from these labs are also being on-boarded on Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

“The manufacturers who have got PPEs qualified have been advised by the MoT to on-board on to the GeM so that the procurement by States can be carried out accordingly. For the private sector also, the dynamic information of manufacturers whose products have qualified the tests is available on MoT website,” said the ministry.

It further said that the country has significantly ramped up its domestic production capacity of PPEs and N95 masks, and the requirements of the States and UTs are being sufficiently met.

As on Monday, the country is producing over three lakh PPEs and N95 masks per day. States and UTs as well as Central Institutions have been provided with around 111.08 lakh N-95 masks and around 74.48 lakh Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Additionally, guidelines for rational use of PPEs have been issued by MoHFW and can be seen at its website.

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Must worry about citizens’ health, instead of airlines: SC to Centre

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said there cannot be two norms — six feet social distance outside and shoulder to shoulder travel on flights, “the government should worry about the health of citizens than the health of commercial airlines”.

After making the observation, the top court allowed the Centre and national carrier Air India to keep flying back Indians stranded abroad, by utilizing middle seats in each row till June 6.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said: “We are of the considered view that the petitioner – Air India should be allowed to operate the non-scheduled flights with the middle seats booking up to 6th June, 2020.”

However, the top court said after this Air India will operate non-scheduled flights in accordance with the interim order to be passed by the Bombay High Court. The bench conducted an urgent hearing on Eid holiday, through video conferencing, to hear the appeals of Centre and Air India against the Bombay High Court order.

The Bombay High Court had barred the middle seat occupancy in on-scheduled international flights on Air India’s pilot, Deven Kanani’s petition alleging violation of social distancing guidelines.

The apex court asked the Bombay High Court to decide on the matter against Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) circulars expeditiously, and insisted airlines should follow the High Court order in connection with safety measures. “We make it clear that the DGCA is free to alter any norms he may consider necessary during the pendency of the matter in the interest of public health and safety of the passengers rather than of commercial considerations,” added the bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended before the court that immense difficulty has arisen because of the passengers who are stranded on foreign soil at the airports after they were issued valid tickets for travel. And, this has resulted in a lot of anxiety and difficulties arising from want of proper shelter, money, etc., at the foreign airports, he added.

“Moreover, in some cases, the travel plan of families who were travelling together has been disrupted because those in the families who had middle seats have to be offloaded and remain behind,” said Mehta.

The top court said “at this juncture, we would consider it necessary for the High Court to arrive at a prima facie finding regarding the safety and health of the passengers qua the COVID-19 virus, whether the flight is scheduled flight or a non-scheduled flight.”

The top court asked the Bombay High Court to pass an effective interim order after hearing all concerned, in the backdrop of health risk posed by Covid-19 pandemic, on the next date of hearing June 2.

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