Within 10 days of India approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for immediate suspension of the death sentence awarded to former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, the world court has pronounced its judgement after hearing both sides earlier this week.
The ICJ on Thursday unanimously stayed the impending hanging of Jadhav in Pakistan.
Pakistan must ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav is not executed until a final decision is taken on his case, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has said,also ordering Islamabad to give India consular access to its citizen.
“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” said presiding judge Ronny Abraham, reading the court’s unanimous decision.
It rejected Pakistan’s contention that a 2008 bilateral agreement between the two precluded the application of Vienna Convention.
Those accused of espionage and terrorism are also under the purview of the Convention, the judge said.
The court accepted India’s appeal to step into the bilateral dispute in which New Delhi has accused Islamabad of conducting a ‘farcical trial’ against Jadhav, a former Indian navy officer.
Pakistan says Jadhav, 46, was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province. In April, a military court sentenced him to death for alleged involvement in spying and subversive activities. India has contended that he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar and his secret trial was a “farce”.
India approached the ICJ on May 8 and accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by persistently denying consular access to Jadhav and conducting a trial without a “shred of evidence”.
Pakistan denied that the execution was imminent, saying that Mr Jadhav had time at least till August for legal remedies. Its representative also accused India of “political grandstanding” and told the court Mr Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan”.
The two countries last faced off at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1999, when Pakistan approached the court over the shooting down by India of an Atlantique surveillance aircraft that killed 16 people.
India had then used its declaration of 1974, which states the UN court would have no jurisdiction in disputes between Commonwealth states, to successfully argue that it could not take up the Atlantique case.
Established by the UN Charter in June 1945, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. ICJ gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.
The ICJ is a court open only to States for contentious proceedings, and to certain organs and institutions of the United Nations system for advisory proceedings.