New Delhi: In a big victory for India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday stayed the execution of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and allowed India consular access to him.
Stating that Pakistan had violated Vienna Convention by not providing India with consular access to Jadhav, the International Court of Justice asked Pakistan to review the death sentence ordered by a military court in a closed trial.
"A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav," the ICJ maintained.
The ICJ ruled that Pakistan should review and reconsider the sentence awarded to him through a means of its own choosing. Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the Vienna Convention does not apply to people involved in espionage.
In its judgment, the ICJ said Pakistan had breached its obligation by not informing Kulbhushan Jadhav of his rights under the Vienna Convention. India is likely to get consular access to Jadhav soon. Pakistan is most likely to press for a review of ICJ's order.
Former foreign affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, who oversaw the appointment of Harish Salve to put forth India's case in the ICJ, welcomed the order in a series of tweets.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the verdict of International Court of Justice in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. It is a great victory for India... I thank Mr. Harish Salve for presenting India's case before ICJ very effectively and successfully... I thank the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi for our initiative to take Jadhav's case before International Court of Justice.”
Former union home and finance minister, and senior Congress leader, P Chidambaram, also welcomed the order in a tweet, 'ICJ delivers ‘justice’ in the true sense of that word, upholding human rights, due procedure and the rule of law.'
Jadhav, a former naval officer, was arrested by Pakistan agencies on charges of spying in March 2017. Pakistan claimed to have arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province and accused him of being a spy. India insisted he was illegally detained while in Iran on business.
India approached the ICJ in May 2017, following Jadhav's death sentence by Pakistani military court, in which India accused Pakistan of "egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations".
In the same month ICJ put a stay on Jadhav's death sentence and asked both countries to make their final cases by December 2017. In that month, after months of requests by India, Pakistan allowed Jadhav's mother and wife to meet him.