International Justice Day: 6 cases India was involved at the International Court of Justice

July 17 marks World Day of International Justice, also referred to as ‘Day of International Criminal Justice’ or ‘International Justice Day’. Every year, people around the world mark the day by hosting events to promote international criminal justice. On the occasion of International Justice Day, let’s have a look six cases India was involved at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and works to settled international legal disputes and give advisory opinions.

According to the ICJ’s website, India was involved in six cases with the court, the current being the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Jadhav has been allegedly arrested, detained, tried, convicted and sentenced to death by the Pakistan officials on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Right of Passage over Indian Territory

Portugal vs India, 1955

Portugal filed a case on December 22, 1955, against India claiming it had the right of passage through the territory of India in order to ensure communications between its territory of Damao and its enclaved territories of Dadra and Nagar Aveli. That the right comprises of transit of persons and goods. It further said that the Government of India must respect that right and must abstain from any act capable of hampering or impeding its exercise. While India was against the demand taking in consideration the tension surrounding Indian Territory.

The court came to the conclusion that in view of the tension then prevailing in intervening Indian territory, the court is unable to hold that India's refusal of passage to the proposed delegation and its refusal of visas to Portuguese nationals of European origin and to native Indian Portuguese in the employ of the Portuguese government was acting contrary to its obligation resulting from Portugal’s right of passage.

Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council

India vs Pakistan, 1971

India filed a case against Pakistan in 1971 claiming that the council of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has no jurisdiction to handle matters presented by Pakistan. India further added that the question of Indian aircraft overflying Pakistan and Pakistan aircraft overflying India is governed by the Special Regime of 1966 and not by the Convention or the Transit Agreement.

The case that began on August 30, 1971, ended on August 18, 1972 with the court giving the verdict by rejecting the Government of Pakistan's objections on the question of its competence and held that it has jurisdiction to entertain India's appeal.

Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War

Pakistan vs India, 1973

Pakistan filed a case on May 11, 1973, against India in the charge of genocide against 195 Pakistani nationals. The application reads, ‘The subject of the dispute relates to charges of genocide against 195 of the over 92,000 Pakistani prisoners of war and civilian internees king held in India. The central issue is whether or not Pakistan has an exclusive claim to exercise the jurisdiction in respect of such persons by virtue of Article VI of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1947, to which both India and Pakistan are parties.’ However, in December 1973, Pakistan informed the ICJ that they are not going further with the proceedings in the case and both the countries had held discussions and had come to a mutual agreement in the case.

Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999

Pakistan vs India, 1999

On 21 September 1999, Pakistan filed a case against India in respect of a dispute relating to the destruction of a Pakistani aircraft on August 10, 1999.

However, the court came to the conclusion that the ICJ has no jurisdiction to report on the application filed by Pakistan. And requested both the countries to solve the dispute by peaceful means.

Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament

Marshall Islands vs India, 2014

The case began in April 2014, and ended on October 5, 2016. According to the summary filed by ICJ, ‘The Court recalls that, on 24 April 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (hereinafter the ‘Marshall Islands’ or the ‘Applicant’) filed an Application instituting proceedings against the Republic of India (hereinafter ‘India’ or the ‘Respondent’), in which it claimed that India breached customary international law obligations concerning negotiations relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. The Marshall Islands seeks to found the Court’s jurisdiction on the declarations made by the Parties pursuant to Article 36, paragraph 2, of its Statute.’ The court ruled that it upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India, based on the absence of a dispute between the parties.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case

The case began on May 15, 2017. According to ICJ, 'The authorities of Pakistan allegedly arrested, detained, tried, convicted and sentenced to death an Indian national Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, and he is currently under a death sentence being held in Pakistan. The competent authorities of Pakistan, despite repeated requests by India beginning March 2016 have not granted consular access. Pakistan has, thus, been in egregious violation of its obligations under sub articles (a) (b) and (c) of Article 36, paragraph 1, of the 1963 Vienna Convention.’