ICJ to resume Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence hearing: A recap of events
The International Court of Justice will on Wednesday resume hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, who was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan earlier this year on charges of being an Indian spy.india Updated: Sep 13, 2017 10:35 IST
The International Court of Justice will on Wednesday resume hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, who was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan earlier this year on charges of being an Indian spy.
India challenged the verdict in the UN top court, which on May 18 asked Pakistan to not execute Jadhav before they decide the case.
Jadhav, a 47-year-old former Indian naval officer, is on death row in Pakistan after the country’s military in an April secret trial found him guilty of espionage and terrorism.
Here’s a recap of events since Jadhav was arrested:
When it all began
Pakistan claimed Jadhav was arrested in March last year from its restive Balochistan province, where the CPEC culminates at the deep-water Gwadar Port. However, India said Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.
Pakistan’s death sentence
A statement by the Pakistani military’s publicity wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in April this year that Jadhav was declared guilty of waging war against the country.
“The spy was tried through field general court martial under the Pakistan army act and awarded the death sentence. Today, the chief of army staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” the ISPR said.
Jadhav’s death sentence drew an angry response from India, which summoned the then Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit and handed over a demarche describing the court proceedings as “farcical”. New Delhi also said if the execution is carried out, it will be considered “premeditated murder”.
“If this sentence (is) against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder,” the demarche given to Basit read.
Pakistan defends charge
The Pakistan Army released a “confessional video” of Jadhav in April who is purportedly heard saying that he was serving the Indian navy. In the video, Jadhav allegedly says he arrived in Iran in 2003 and started a small business in Chahbahar.
Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif said Kulbhushan Jadhav had the right to appeal within 60 days, adding that “due process of law” had been followed.
Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif too took an aggressive stand, saying that though his country was peace-loving, “we cannot remain oblivious to defending our sovereignty and protecting our independence”.
Abdul Basit said in New Delhi that India can’t sponsor terrorism and protest over the sentencing of terrorists, adding that nothing matters more than national security.
India takes the case to ICJ
In May, India approached the ICJ to save Jadhav’s life after Pakistan allegedly refused consular access to him 16 times.
The Indian challenge was primarily based on Pakistan violating Vienna convention on consular relations. Among other things, the agreement allows diplomatic representatives to visit their nationals held prisoner by the host country. India also argued that Pakistan had ignored a bilateral treaty on consular access.
ICJ stayed the execution a day after India’s appeal.
Arguments to the international court
Noted lawyer Harish Salve, who represented India in the ICJ court, took up the issue of consular rights to its national and accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna convention and conducting a “farcical trial” without a “shred of evidence”.
New Delhi also demanded the immediate suspension of Jadhav’s death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the ICJ hearing was over.
Pakistan argued that the world court has no jurisdiction in this case as it pertains to national security. Islamabad also said the claim that Delhi wasn’t provided consular access to Jadhav is far removed from the truth and it was “wholly inappropriate” for India to seek provisional measures from the ICJ.
Pakistan ordered not to execute Jadhav
Three days after the arguments were presented, ICJ ordered Pakistan not to execute the former Indian Navy officer, rejecting Islamabad’s argument that the UN’s top legal body did not have jurisdiction in the case.
ICJ concluded it had “prima facie jurisdiction” as Pakistan’s “alleged failure” to provide consular notifications about Jadhav’s arrest and to allow communication and provide access to him fell within the scope of the Vienna Convention.
India relieved, Pakistan reacts
The ICJ order relieved New Delhi, who called it “unanimous, clear and unambiguous”, saying it would will help remedy the violation of Jadhav’s rights.
Pakistan played down the significance of the order and said it amounted to maintaining “status quo” in Jadhav’s case. It added that Jadhav “would be provided every opportunity and remedy” to defend his case and had “ample time to petition for clemency”.
(With agency inputs)
First Published: Sep 13, 2017 10:35 IST