Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A reverse bill of attainder?

Pakistani legislators continue to drag their feet in affording appellate rights to an Indian man who has been sentenced to death, following the consular access decision of the International Court of Justice. The latest objection is that the necessary measure is in effect special legislation that affects only one individual. Details here. Excerpt:

"To me, this law [the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) Bill, 2021] is person specific. The question arises whether we can pass a law which is person-specific?" observed Barrister Ali Zafar, chair of the committee. Farooq H Naek pointed out that there was no provision to allow review in criminal law.

"Can we bring a new law, if there is no provision in the statute?" Naek questioned. He also pointed out that the Supreme Court does not entertain the judgments of the military courts.

[Kulbhushan] Jadhav, the arrested Indian spy, has been sentenced to death by a military tribunal, whereas the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its July 17, 2019 judgement has called for a review and reconsideration in the military court's decision.

Mian Raza Rabbani pointed out that the government by introducing Jadhav-specific bill provide the ground of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, whereas, Article 36 only deals with consular access. In his observations, the chair of the committee stated: "Obviously, we [Pakistan] have international obligations, but we should also have to look thoroughly into all the observations of the committee members."

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