ICJ orders Pakistan to review its death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 19:53 IST | Agencies |

Grants consular access to the retired Indian Navy officer; Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes verdict, says truth prevailed and that he is sure Kulbhushan 'will get justice'

File picture of Kulbhushan Jadhav's friend holding a photograph of the retired Navy officer with his friends in the neighbourhood where he grew up in Mumbai. Pic /AFP
File picture of Kulbhushan Jadhav's friend holding a photograph of the retired Navy officer with his friends in the neighbourhood where he grew up in Mumbai. Pic /AFP

New Delhi: The International Court of Justice(ICJ) on Wednesday ordered Pakistan to make an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and death sentence of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav and also grant consular access, in a verdict that was hailed in India as a "big victory" for the country. Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

A bench led by 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 16-member Court unanimously found that it had jurisdiction to go into the case under the Vienna Convention to entertain the application filed by India on May 08, 2017. By 15 votes to 1, it rejected the objections raised by Pakistan to the admissibility of India's petition. The bench also ruled by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had violated India's rights to consular visits after Jadhav's arrest.

Pakistan "deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation", the judges said.

Pakistan was under the obligation to inform India about the arrest and detention of Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, Judge Yusuf ruled.

The ICJ observed that there was a three-week delay in informing India about Jadhav's arrest on March 3, 2016, leading to a "breach" of Pakistan's obligations under the convention. Noting that India has made a number of requests for the consular access, which was denied by Pakistan, the court said it was "undisputed" fact that Pakistan did not accede to India's appeals.

The court said that Pakistan has not explained how any of the wrongful acts allegedly committed by India may have prevented it from fulfilling its obligation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed the verdict. "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," he. He said he is sure that Jadhav "will get justice".

Pakistan said it will now proceed "as per law" in the case. The Foreign Office in a statement said Pakistan as a "responsible member" of the international community "upheld its commitment". "We will now proceed as per law," it said.

BJP, Congress welcome verdict

Welcoming the verdict, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "It is no doubt a big victory for India. ICJ has talked of giving consular access. We welcome it". Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also welcomed the ruling and tweeted, "ICJ delivers 'justice' in the true sense of that word, upholding human rights, due procedure and the rule of law." "A 15:1 verdict is actually a unanimous verdict," he said.

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