The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has stayed the execution of the former Indian Naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Jadhav was sentenced to death for “espionage and subversive activities”, by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial last month, on charges of spying. According to the official sources, the order by the Hague-based ICJ, came a day after India approached the ICJ, against the death sentence handed down to Jadhav.
India in its appeal to the ICJ accused the rival country of ”egregious” violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. It further asserted in its appeal that the naval officer was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy. But, Pakistan claimed to have arrested him from Balochistan on March 3, 2016.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, reacting to the development, said, “I have spoken to the mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav and told her about the order of President, ICJ under Art 74 Paragraph 4 of Rules of Court.” Senior Advocate Harish Salve was representing India before the ICJ in the Jadhav case, said Sushma Swaraj.
ICJ President Ronny Abraham has reportedly written a letter to Pakistan government, asking it to act in such a way which would enable the implementation of any order the ICJ may issue in the case. India, in its appeal, claimed that it was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights. It further asserted that the Pakistani authorities, in violation of the Vienna Convention, were denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav, despite repeated requests.
India has urged the Court to deliver an order indicating provisional measures immediately, “without waiting for an oral hearing”, the country mentioned in its appeal.
Jadhav’s death sentence evoked a sharp reaction in India which warned Pakistan of consequences and damage to bilateral ties if the “pre-meditated murder” was carried out. India in its appeal also informed the ICJ that it learnt the death sentence against Jadhav, from a press release. The ICJ release said “India claims that ‘linking assistance to the investigation process’ to the grant(ing) of consular access was by itself a serious violation of the Vienna Convention”. Further India urged the ICJ to stop Pakistan from carrying out the death sentence, and direct Islamabad to take steps to nullify the decision of the military court.
India acknowledges that Jadhav had served with the Navy but denies that he has any connection with the government. It has also handed over the appeal made by Jadhav’s mother, to Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, initiating a process to get his conviction overturned and expressing the desire to meet him.