New Delhi: In a major victory for India, the International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.
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.
Reading out the verdict, President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav”.
The bench also ruled that Pakistan had violated India’s rights to consular visits after his arrest.
Pakistan “deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation”, the judges said.
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.
The Court by 15 votes to one also held that by not informing Jadhav without delay of his rights under the Vienna Convention on consular relations, Pakistan breached the obligations incumbent upon it under the provision.
The Court held that Pakistan is under obligation to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular access to him under the Vienna Convention.
The ICJ found that Pakistan acted in breach of its obligations of Vienna Convention by not informing Jadhav of his rights under Article 36, by not informing India without delay the arrest and detention of Jadhav and by denying consular access to him to arrange for legal representation.
How Jadhav case reached the ICJ, Hague
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.
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”.
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