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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

Political pressure to stop Sushant case probe, Bihar tells SC

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The Supreme Court of India

A single-judge bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy noted that Rhea herself has pleaded for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe.

Both the Bihar government and Sushant’s father are seeking a CBI probe into the actor’s death, while the Maharashtra government opposes it.

The top court has asked all the parties in the case to file written submissions by Thursday. The Bihar government alleged there was political pressure to stop registration of an FIR in Mumbai and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued that the arguments made by the Chief Ministers of both Maharashtra and Bihar during the case makes it a fit case for a CBI inquiry.

Rhea’s counsel, however, contended that the FIR in Bihar was at the behest of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar there, and if there were to be a fair investigation, it can’t be at the instance of Bihar Police.

Stressing that the transfer petition should be allowed, Rhea’s counsel insisted that the effective investigation should be in Mumbai, as it is also the place of original jurisdiction.

Mehta, meanwhile, questioned how the Mumbai Police summoned 56 persons and recorded their statements, as they cannot do it under inquest proceedings. He submitted before the court that Mumbai Police never registered an FIR to investigate the case.

He also argued that the Enforcement Directorate has already initiated investigation, and after one central agency has registered a case, another central agency (CBI) should be engaged.

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India

Containment, contact tracing key to Covid mgmt: Modi

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a review meeting with Chief Ministers or representatives of 10 states badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and advised that containment, contact tracing, and surveillance were key to effective management of the virus infections in the country.

In his address during the video conference meeting, the Prime Minister said that the states with less testing of samples had more coronavirus cases and advised testing to be increased in states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, and Telangana.

He said that 80 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in India were reported in these 10 states.

The meeting was held to discuss the current coronavirus situation in India and to plan ahead to tackle the pandemic.

The Prime Minister recounted how Union Home Minister Amit Shah prepared a roadmap to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in cooperation with Delhi and nearby states.

“The main pillars of this strategy were segregation of containment zones and focus on screening, especially of those in high-risk categories. The results of these steps are there for all to see,” he said, adding that steps like better management in hospitals and increasing ICU beds also proved very helpful.

Modi pointed out that daily tests in the country had reached almost 7 lakh and were increasing continuously, which had helped in early identification of corona infections and their containment.

The average fatality rate in the country is among the lowest in the world and is continuously going down.

“The percentage of active cases is reducing, while the recovery rate is increasing,” he said.

“Our efforts have given better results, which has increased the confidence of the people and brought down the fear factor.”

The Prime Minister said that the target of bringing down the fatality rate below 1 per cent can be achieved soon.

“With the Aarogya Setu app, we can do our work better; due to this, home quarantine facility is being implemented in a better way,” he added.

The country has so far reported a total of 22,68,675 coronavirus cases, including 15,83,489 patients who have recovered. As many as 2,52,81,848 samples have been tested.

The states that participated in the meeting included Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Chief Ministers requested further guidance by the Health Ministry for conducting sero-surveillance, while also suggesting the setting up of an integrated medical infrastructure in the country.

They also provided feedback on the ground situation in their respective states. They praised Modi’s leadership in the successful management of the pandemic and thanked him for his constant guidance and support.

They informed the Prime Minister about corona tests conducted, steps taken to increase testing, use of telemedicine and efforts to ramp up the health infrastructure.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were among those present in the meeting.

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Disaster

ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan sealed after 22 test COVID-19 positive

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan

VRINDAVAN : After 22 persons associated with the temple were found infected with coronavirus, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to seal the temple in Vrindavan and restrict movement. The announcement comes a day ahead of the Janmashtami festival which will be celebrated in the country on August 12.

“Earlier, one person had tested positive, so more testing was conducted and now 22 people tested positive. After that, contact tracing was conducted and sampling is being done; we will isolate those who test positive. Movement of people have been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” an ISKCON official said. He said the 22 people includes priests at the temple.

In the temple town of Vrindavan, authorities of Banke Bihari temple have also decided to keep the shrine closed till September 30. The decision was taken due to repair work on the temple premises, said the authority in a notice.

It also stated that the repair work will be taken up by engineers. Earlier, the temple was closed in the view of COVID-19.

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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