Pak must review Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence: ICJ

Pak must review Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence: ICJ

The court turns down India's plea for his release

Kulbhushan Jadhav is seen on a screen during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Reuters File Photo)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday asked Pakistan to review the conviction of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, but rejected India's plea for his release and repatriation from the neighbouring country.

The ICJ concluded that Islamabad had violated the Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations 1963, as it had not informed New Delhi about the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately after Pakistan Army had taken him into custody. The court found that Pakistan had also flouted the Vienna Convention by declining India's repeated request for allowing officials of its High Commission in Islamabad to meet him and arrange lawyers to defend him.

The court also stated that the death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a military court of Pakistan in April 2017 should remain suspended till the review of the conviction. It, however, left it to Pakistan Government to choose the means of reviewing the case and thus rejected New Delhi's argument that Islamabad should be asked to conduct the re-trial in a civilian court of Pakistan.

Both India and Pakistan claimed victory soon after ICJ President, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, read out the judgement at “Peace Palace” – the seat of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations in The Hague. New Delhi vowed to work vigorously for Jadhav's early release and return to India. The Government of Pakistan said in Islamabad that it had heard the ICJ judgement and would “now proceed as per law”.

A 16-judge-bench of the ICJ unanimously concluded that it had jurisdiction on the case. The court had near unanimity on seven other key points of the judgement with Pakistan's former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Gillani being the lone but consistent dissenter.

Read more 

DH Deciphers - Will Kulbhushan Jadhav walk free?

India says it will return to ICJ if Pak again conducts "farcical" trial of Jadhav​

Friends, family rejoice verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav

The court ruled that Pakistan was “under an obligation to provide, by means of its own choosing, effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction of and sentence awarded to Jadhav, so as “to ensure that full weight is given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention”. It also asked Pakistan to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide consular officers of High Commission of India in Islamabad access to him in accordance with the Vienna Convention.

The ICJ, however, rejected India’s request to annul the decision of the military court of Pakistan, and to ask Pakistan to release Jadhav and to facilitate his safe passage to India. The court cited previous cases to rule that conviction of and sentence awarded to Jadhav were not be regarded as violation of the Vienna Convention.

Jadhav has been in the custody of Pakistan Army at least since March 3, 2016. He was accused of working for India's external spy agency Research and Analytical Wing (RAW) and of fomenting terrorism in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. Though the Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations 1963 required Pakistan to notify India about the arrest “without delay”, it actually did so about three weeks later. The Vienna Convention also required Pakistan to allow consular officials of High Commission of India in Islamabad to visit him, freely converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation. Pakistan, however, turned down repeated request by India for consular access to the incarcerated Indian Navy officer.

The military court of Pakistan awarded him death sentence on April 10, 2017. India moved the ICJ on May 8, 2017 accusing Pakistan of “egregious violation” of the Vienna Convention. The ICJ on May 18, 2017 asked Pakistan not to carry out the death sentence awarded to Jadhav till it delivered the final judgment on the case.

Full Judgement: