Pakistan military court judges don’t need law degree: Harish Salve

The Hague: India on Monday tore through the “opaque proceedings” of Pakistani military courts which try civilians against the international norms, saying the judges, who tried Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, are not required to have judicial or legal training or even a law degree.

India’s plea at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) came as the top UN court began a four-day public hearing in the case of Jadhav, 48, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage. Ex-solicitor general Harish Salve, who represented India, said that a foreign detainee has the right to life, the right to a fair trial and an impartial judiciary. “However, Pakistan has sentenced 161 civilians to death in their military courts in opaque proceedings in the last two years,” Salve said.

International standards require that military courts like all courts must be independent, impartial and competent, and must respect minimum guarantees of fairness, he said. He claimed that the judges of the Pakistani military courts are not required to have judicial or legal training or even a law degree, and they do not enjoy any security of tenure which are prerequisites of judicial competence and independence.

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