Moneycontrol
May 18, 2017 04:20 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: ICJ stays death sentence until final hearing

Minutes before the verdict was due, a Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesperson said that ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear case of the Indian RAW agent as it pertains to the security of Pakistan.

Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: ICJ stays death sentence until final hearing
kulbhushan Jadhav

Moneycontrol News

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday stayed the death sentence given by a Pakistan military court to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, whom Islamabad claims is a spy.

Minutes before the verdict was due, a Pakistani Foreign Office Spokesperson said that ICJ has no jurisdiction to hear case of the Indian RAW agent as it pertains to the security of Pakistan.

However, the judge said while reading out the verdict that the court has jurisdiction under the Vienna Convention, which he said does not exclude spies.

It said Pakistan should ensure that no execution takes place until the final hearing by the court and that Pakistan shall inform the court of all measures taken in implementation of the final order.

The court also said that the circumstances in which Jadhav was arrested remained “disputed”.

India had approached ICJ just 10 days ago seeking immediate suspension of the death sentence.

A public sitting took place at 12 noon at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, read the court's decision.

The judge said that the rights invoked by India in the case are plausible and that all parties under Vienna Convention have rights to provide consular assistance to their nationals.

India, whose request for consular access to Jadhav was turned down 16 times, had approached the ICJ on May 8, accusing Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and conducting a "farcical trial" for convicting Jadhav without a "shred of evidence" following which the court had stayed his execution.

During its submission to the ICJ on May 15 at a public hearing, India had demanded the immediate annulment of Jadhav's death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over.

Jadhav was arrested on March 3 last year and sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.

While India asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy, Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province.

India is represented by its 'Agent' Deepak Mittal, who is the head of the Pakistan division in the external affairs ministry and the case is argued by its lead attorney Harish Salve. The India team is expected to be present at the time of the verdict.

On its part, Pakistan told the ICJ that Vienna Convention provisions on consular access were not intended for a "spy" involved in terror activities and charged India with using the world body as a stage for "political theatre" in the Jadhav case.

It is after 18 years that the two neighbours were fighting it out at the ICJ. Last time, Pakistan had moved the ICJ seeking its intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.

(With PTI inputs)
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