World Court verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav case: The ICJ, however, stopped short of accepting India’s request to cancel the military court’s death sentence handed down in April 2017 after a trial by a Pakistan army court that New Delhi has described as “farcical”.
Kulbhushan Jadhav, the 49-year-old Indian national sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan, should be given consular access, the International Court of Justice ordered on Wednesday. ICJ president Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, who read out the verdict for the 16-member bench of the top UN court in The Hague, ordered Pakistan to “effectively review and reconsider” the death sentence because it had breached the international convention on consular access.
“The Court finds that Pakistan is under an obligation to provide, by means of its own choosing, effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. 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,” Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ruled.
The world court, however, stopped short of accepting India’s request to cancel the military court’s death sentence handed down in April 2017 after a trial by a Pakistan army court that New Delhi has described as “farcical”.India, which had petitioned the top UN court 800 days ago, had underlined that Pakistani authorities did not allow consular access to Jadhav mandated under the Vienna convention, tried him in a military court that operated quite like a “kangaroo court” and did not afford him the opportunity to defend himself.
The death sentence aggravated tension between the two countries that India has said would amount to “pre-meditated murder”, if it was carried out. India also reasons that Jadhav was tortured in captivity and only relied on confessions extracted in captivity to back up its allegation.
Indian officials have said that confessional videos were also used by Pakistan for propaganda at the UN court hearings and outside, mostly to deflect attention from its track record of sponsoring terrorism in India.
Wednesday’s verdict comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan.
Jadhav, who had gone into business after exiting the navy, was on a business visit to Iran when he was abducted in 2016. Jadhav emerged many days later in the custody of the Pakistan military who claimed to have arrested him on 3 March 2016 from the restive province of Balochistan in Pakistan and accused him of espionage and terror.
The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.