International Court of Justice – Strong or Weak? (Reference with Kulbhushan Jadhav Case)

International Court of Justice better known as the world court is the court where truth and justice have prevailed over the past years and is located in The Hague, Netherlands. By world court we mean that it takes disputes from all over the world but disputes only of the states and not of the individuals. The statute of the International Court of Justice is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the conduct of the court. Article 34(1) clearly states that only States may be members of the parties in case. So ICJ will hear disputes between the states and not between the individuals. Now the question arises ICJ will hear disputes between which states? The answer is those states which are the member of the ICJ. Whosoever becomes the member of the United Nations will automatically become the member of the International Court of Justice. Also, the states are not bound by the judgment of the ICJ because they can expressly accept or reject it. So we can see clearly how weak is the ICJ. So again a question arises that how will the parties handle up the disputes if they are not accepting the judgment? The answer to this lies in the Article 36(2) of the Statute of the ICJ which clearly specifies that the state parties may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation. In case if any state refuses to accept the judgement then UN may appoint UN Security Council to enforce the rulings. UN Security Council will enforce rulings by using the veto powers of five permanent members that are U.S.A, U.K, Russia, France and China.

A recent issue which came to the ICJ is of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. So Indian Foreign Ministry on 10 April 2017 told that Kulbhushan Jadhav an Indian national was subsequently got kidnapped from Iran and was found in Pakistan. Having a fake passport Pakistan presented him in the military court where he was held accused. Indian High Commission demanded for consular access to Jadhav but Pakistan did not agree on it. Pakistan claimed that consular access that is official representing a state wasn’t automatic during cases related to security. On this note India approached the ICJ on 8 May 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the Vienna Convention on consular relations 1963. Finally on July 2019 Harish Salve an eminent lawyer represented India at ICJ. The ICJ has ordered Pakistan to review Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence ruling that Islamabad had violated the New Delhi’s rights on the consular visits after his arrest. The ICJ ordered for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence whereby in the 16 judges bench 15 judges have concurred the final verdict and one Pakistani judge has dissented over the final verdict.

One possibility which can be seen is that in future it may happen that Pakistan refuse to accept the final verdict and thus the matter will go to the UN Security Council. China being one of the permanent member of the ICJ may give a judgment favoring Pakistan. So it can be seen how weak is the ICJ. Also, there is no machinery with the ICJ to make parties to follow its orders. 

This Article Is Authored By Munis Nasir, Student of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) (Hons.), Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi

Also Read – Legal Aid In India And Judicial Contribution

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