ICJ probe into 8000 disappeared persons by Indian forces in Held Kashmir urged

SRINAGAR: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) has sought intervention of the International Court of justice (ICJ) to ascertain the whereabouts of the disappeared in Jammu Kashmir.
In a statement, a spokesman of the APDP quoting ICJ proceedings between India and Pakistan said that since all the local remedies stand exhausted, the ICJ has a role to play.  The statement was issued on the conclusion of the International week of the Disappeared which is observed globally in the last week of May.
According to the spokesman, around 8000 people have been subject to enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir  since 1989. "These cases vary from disappearances of civilians by armed forces personnel and cases where militants themselves have been disappeared by the armed forces. Numerous cases have been filed before the courts, including the High Court, and the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The state institutions have failed to provide justice to the disappeared. On the contrary, through delay, denial and outright lies, the State negates any hope for justice," he said.
He said in majority of cases, the State responds by stating that the persons alleged to be disappeared have in fact crossed over into Pakistan to receive arms training as militants. "In fact, even the governments have themselves publicly accepted the phenomenon of disappearance in the past (though they choose to mask this admission by references to the `missing' but refuse to do so in any context that could lead to justice and the return of the disappeared. Meanwhile, thousands of mothers, half-widows and half-orphans continue to suffer including, in the case of children, by discontinuing their education and having to work to support their families," he said. 
The spokesman gave details of APDP's work on mass and unmarked graves and SHRC decision vindicating the APDP reports. He said the government had refused to undergo DNA profiling of the persons buried in unmarked and mass graves.  
"The government even disregarded an offer by the European Parliament in 2008 to provide financial assistance for the investigation of unmarked graves. This reluctance to allow international intervention was mirrored last year when India refused to accede to the request of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a UN fact-finding mission to both parts of Jammu and Kashmir," he said. 
"Despite a consistent campaign in Jammu and Kashmir against enforced disappearances for 27years, no effective measures have been taken. No Commission of Inquiry as demanded was set up unlike other countries such as Sri Lanka and Nepal. Further, India has signed but not ratified the Convention. 
The Indian State continues to deny the phenomenon of disappearances and unmarked graves. For both, in addition to making contradictory statements, the government chooses to respond by blaming Pakistan i.e. that the disappeared have crossed the border into Pakistan and that the unidentified bodies in the unmarked graves are mostly those of Pakistani militants," he said. 
The phenomenon of enforced disappearances is neither "local" nor a mere question of "law and order". The phenomenon is widespread, systematic and systemic and is a crime against humanity and war crime. Its occurrence is a violation of international law and the Indian State must be held legally responsible for the same. 
The international dimension of the issue is apparent as India repeatedly alleges the connection between Pakistan and the disappeared and those in unmarked graves. There is clearly a legal dispute between India and Pakistan and the solution must come from the available international judicial and investigative institutions. 
In addition to the intervention of the ICJ, APDP also demands and appeals international community to urge government of India to allow access of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Special Procedure on enforced disappearances, a constitution of a UNHRC Special Procedure exclusively for Jammu and Kashmir, and a fact-finding or commission of inquiry by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (as in the cases of Sri Lanka and Myanmar where despite local government opposition the inquiries were instituted). 
These international interventions of "investigation" must be allowed to function pending a judicial determination by the ICJ on the role of the Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir particularly on violations of international law through the phenomenon of enforced disappearances. - NNI