UN Court Directs Pakistan To Review Case Of Kulbhushan Jadhav
The International Court of Justice presided by judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf during the Kulbhushan Jadhavs verdict in Hague, Netherlands, Wesdnesday. (Photo: PTI)

UN Court Directs Pakistan To Review Case Of Kulbhushan Jadhav

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In what is seen as a major victory for India, the Hague, Switzerland-based International Court of Justice on Wednesday said Pakistan must review the death sentence for Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

A retired Indian Navy officer, Jadhav (49) was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. That verdict had evoked a sharp reaction in India.

Pronounncing its verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence case, ICJ President Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an "effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav". The bench also ruled that Pakistan had violated India's rights to consular access after his arrest.

Pakistan "deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation", the ICJ judges said.

File image of Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: PTI)
File image of Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: PTI)

The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of the ICJ reserved its decision in the matter after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan.

The proceedings of the Jadhav case took two years and two months to complete.

India moved the ICJ on May 8, 2017, for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying access to Jadhav. Following this, on May 18, an ICJ bench restrained Pakistan from executing Kulbhushan Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016, after he reportedly entered from Iran. India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.

Pakistan had rejected India's plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the information gathered by its "spy". Jadhav, however, was allowed to meet his mother and wife in Islamabad on Dec. 25, 2017.

During the hearing in ICJ on Wednesday, both India and Pakistan submitted detailed pleas and responses in the Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence case. India based its case on two broad issues—breach of the Vienna Convention on consular access and the process of resolution.

Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts and urged the top United Nations court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on an "extracted confession".

In his submission to the ICJ, Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim for relief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible."

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