The Hague: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday said that India should have been granted consular access to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav as per the Vienna Convention.
The ICJ asserted its jurisdiction over the case of Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by Pakistan on charges of espionage and subversive activities. The circumstances of Jadhav's arrest remain disputed, ICJ president Ronny Abraham said while reading out his verdict. The 11-judge bench of the UN's highest court is presenting its verdict two days after India and Pakistan gave their submissions on the 46-year-old former Indian Navy officer.
During its submission to the ICJ on 15 May at a public hearing, India had demanded the immediate annulment of Jadhav's death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over. Jadhav was arrested on 3 March, 2016 and sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.
While India asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy, Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province. India is represented by its 'Agent' Deepak Mittal, who is the head of the Pakistan division in the external affairs ministry and the case is argued by its lead attorney Harish Salve. The India team is expected to be present at the time of the verdict.
On its part, Pakistan told the ICJ that Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a "spy" involved in terror activities and charged India with using the world body as a stage for "political theatre" in the Jadhav case.
It is after 18 years that the two neighbours were fighting it out at the ICJ. Last time, Pakistan had moved the ICJ seeking its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.
Updated Date: May 18, 2017 16:09:29 IST