Childhood friends of Kulbhushan Jadhav celebrate in Mumbai after the ICJ’s order. Pic/PTI
In a major boost to India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) yesterday stayed the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who had been sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.
“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” ICJ President Ronny Abraham said while reading out the verdict.
The UN’s highest judicial body, which had earlier provisionally stayed Jadhav’s sentence on May 9, also instructed Pakistan to inform it “of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order”.
“The court also decides that, until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order,” a press release from the global court said.
Asserting its jurisdiction over the case, the court backed India’s contention that there has been a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as New Delhi’s requests for consular access to its national had been denied 16 times.
As soon as the order came in, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction and spoke to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who described the verdict as a “great relief”.
In Islamabad, Pakistan said it did not accept the ICJ ruling in matters related to national security. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria also hit out at India, saying it was “trying to hide its real face” by taking the case of Jadhav to ICJ.
The unanimous verdict of the 11-judge bench comes three days after the two countries gave their submissions during which India demanded annulment of the sentence and described Pakistan’s trial to convict Jadhav as “farcical”. Pakistan, in turn, had argued that the 46-year-old Indian national was a spy and India’s plea was “misconceived”.
How the Jadhav case unfolded
March 3, 2016: Kulbhushan Jadhav is arrested from Baluchistan by Pakistani intelligence services on espionage charges.
March 25, 2016: Pakistan foreign secretary informs New Delhi about the arrest. The same day, Jadhav’s confessional video that allegedly shows him admitting to working for India’s spy agency, Research & Analysis Wing, is recorded.
March 30, 2016: India seek access to him. There are more than a dozen reminders, an average of one every month.
September, 2016: Jadhav is put on trial by a Pakistani military court for allegedly carrying out explosions and killing people.
February 10, 2017: The court sentences him to death.
March 27, 2017: Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj writes to Sartaj Aziz to let Jadhav’s mother meet her son and process his appeals, but there is no response.
April 10, 2017: India knows the verdict only when Pakistani army chief confirms the sentence.
May 8, 2017: India approaches the international court.
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