The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favour of India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case on Wednesday, directing Pakistan to grant consular access to India and review the death sentence given to him by a Pakistani military court.
The world court also said that Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan reviews and reconsiders Jadhav's conviction and sentence. "The court considers that a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effection review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav," the judgment said.
By fifteen votes to one, the court rejected the objection of Pakistan to the admissibility of India's application and also found that Pakistan breached the obligations incumbent upon it under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention by not informing Jadhav of his rights.
The court, however, rejected most of the remedies sought by India, including annulment of the decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to 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.
President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf read out the verdict during a public sitting at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on Wednesday at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Yusuf had reserved its decision on 21 February after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan.
India moved the ICJ in 8 May, 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 had on 18 May, 2017 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 14 February.
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 had 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 3 March 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 25 December, 2017.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 17, 2019 20:30:13 IST