The Hague, July 17 (The Quint and Express Tribune): The International Court of Justice has granted India consular access to the alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and directed the Pakistan military court to suspend and review the conviction and death sentence handed down to him.
In India’s first response, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the verdict “a big win for India.” Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj too welcomed the verdict and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking Jadhav’s case to the ICJ.
- Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” in April 2017
- India moved the ICJ, alleging Pakistan’s “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by denying it consular access to Jadhav
- India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy
- India claims Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention by denying Consular Access while the Pakistanis claim the Convention guidelines don’t apply to ‘spies’.
Ministry of External Affairs’ reaction
We welcome the judgement delivered just now by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in favour of India in the case relating to Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav.
The Court, by a vote of 15-1, has upheld India’s claim that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts.
We also appreciate the direction by the International Court of Justice that Pakistan should review and reconsider the conviction and sentence given to Shri Jadhav by the Pakistani military court.
We note that the Court has directed that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Shri Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him in accordance with the Vienna Convention. We expect Pakistan to implement the directive immediately.
This landmark judgement validates India’s position on this matter fully. We will continue to work vigorously for Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav’s early release and return to India.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday rejected New Delhi’s plea to acquit and release self-confessed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Pakistan’s legal team headed by Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan was present in the courtroom where the verdict was announced on Wednesday.
Jadhav, a serving commander in the Indian Navy working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on April 10, 2017, endorsed his death penalty.
In June 2017, the Indian spy filed a mercy petition against his death penalty while India approached the ICJ against the conviction. The ICJ stayed his execution.
India argued that Commander Jadhav was an innocent businessman who was kidnapped from Iran, brought to Pakistan and tortured to confess that he was a commander in the Indian Navy and working for RAW, India’s primary intelligence agency.
Pakistan had rejected all Indian allegations. It said the evidence obtained from Jadhav after his arrest and during the criminal process leading to his conviction was amply demonstrating his activities in fomenting terrorism and engaging in espionage within Pakistan.