ICJ stays Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence

In a major diplomatic victory to India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, today has stayed death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav, imposed by Pakisthan court.

ICJ ruled in favour of India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The verdict was 15 to one in favour of India. The court said that Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan reviews and reconsiders its decision and grants consular access to India. ICJ affirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s right to consular access. It also slammed Pakistan for breaching obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

“Court finds that Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation, and thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” said ICJ in its verdict.

India had termed the Pakistani “judicial process” farcical saying that an extracted confession by Jadhav was admitted in the court. India had asked the ICJ to order Islamabad to annul the sentence and allow India consular access to Jadhav. Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on April 11, 2017. Following this, India on May 8, 2017, approached the ICJ against Pakistan “for egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963” in the matter.

India alleged that Pakistan is in breach of Article 36(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention which obliged Pakistan to inform India of the arrest of Jadhav “without delay”. New Delhi said that the use of military courts for the trial of civilians is violative of due process standards of the ICCPR, and also of the minimum standards recognised as principles of international law.

The Indian national was even denied the right to be defended by a legal counsel of his choice. But, India has succeeded in stopping Pakistan from taking the law into its own hands. Its approach to the ICJ led to stopping Pakistan from executing Jadhav. India said Kulbhushan Jadhav was a former Indian Navy officer turned businessman who was abducted from Iran, illegally brought to Pakistan and sentenced under a sham trial.

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