Davis case may end up at the International Court of Justice

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ISLAMABAD - The ongoing dispute on whether US official Raymond Davis, who gunned down two men in Lahore, enjoys diplomatic immunity may get referred to the International Court of Justice if talks between Washington and Islamabad fail, a media report said.

The daily Dawn quoted diplomatic sources as suggesting that the dispute could be referred to the ICJ.

“There is a dispute resolution mechanism. There is an optional protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) under which there is a provision for the dispute to be notified to the International Court of Justice,” a diplomatic source told Dawn Tuesday.

The US and Pakistan are both signatories to the optional protocol to the VCDR.

Another way out for the deadlock could be arbitration, the daily report said.

Davis, an official with a US diplomatic mission in Lahore, was arrested Jan 27 after he shot dead two youths on a motorcycle. He claimed he acted in self-defence as the armed youngsters were trying to rob him.

His arrest has sparked a diplomatic crisis and strained relations between the US and Pakistan. The US has threatened to withhold the $1.5 billion aid package promised to Islamabad for the war on terror.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the National Assembly Monday that Islamabad and Washington were continuing to differ on the interpretation and applicability of international and national laws in the case.

States realise that they have to work it out together,” the diplomatic source said, adding the ICJ decision will be binding on the states.

It will be the responsibility of the state concerned to bring its actions in conformity with international law.

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