ICJ asks Pakistan to review Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence, grant consular access
The Hague | Jagran News Desk: In a big diplomatic win and what exposed Pakistan’s deceitful stand, the International Court of Justice on Wednesday asked Islamabad to review the death penalty given in 2017 to former Indian navy commander Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav who was convicted of being a spy.
The world court, ruling in favour of India, granted it consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, while accusing Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention. The verdict was 15 to one in favour of India.
The world court said that Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviews and reconsiders the conviction/sentence in light of Pakistan’s breach of Art 36(1) i.e. denial of consular access and notification.
The ICJ said that it was satisfied that Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016 and sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan on charges of spying in April 2017, was an Indian national.It observed that even Pakistan had acknowledged the fact that Jadhav was an Indian national.
“A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav,” the judgement read.
“Court finds that Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” it added.
The verdict was read out by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, during a public sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the ICJ for the verdict based on "extensive study of facts". "We welcome today’s verdict in the @CIJ_ICJ. Truth and justice have prevailed. Congratulations to the ICJ for a verdict based on extensive study of facts. I am sure Kulbhushan Jadhav will get justice. Our Government will always work for the safety and welfare of every Indian," he tweeted.
Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcomed the ICJ ruling and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for rhe initiative of taking Jadhav's case before the world court.
"I wholeheartedly welcome the verdict of International Court of Justice in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. It is a great victory for India. I thank the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi for our initiative to take Jadhav's case before International Court of Justice," she tweeted.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: "International Court of Justice has directed Pakistan to grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav. It is no doubt a big victory for India."
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the ICJ.
"Pakistan was hoping for the best and would accept the decision of ICJ," he was quoted as saying by state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
A bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14.
During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submitted their detailed pleas and responses.
India based its case on two broad issues -- breach of Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.
Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on an "extracted confession".
In his submission in the ICJ on the last day of the hearing, Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible."
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Pakistan had rejected India's plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its "spy".
However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta