In a major victory for India, the International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence for Indian national KulbhushanJadhav, who was put on death row by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism".
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced todeath by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage andterrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked asharp reaction in India.
A bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi AhmedYusuf ordered an "effective review and reconsideration of the convictionand sentence of MrKulbhushanSudhirJadhav".
The bench also ruled that Pakistan had violated India'srights to consular visits after his arrest.
Pakistan "deprived the Republic of India of the rightto communicate with and have access to KulbhushanSudhirJadhav, to visit him indetention and to arrange for his legal representation", the judges said.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five monthsafter a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on21 February after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. Theproceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the "egregiousviolation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan byrepeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
A bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II toresolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan fromexecuting Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhavfrom restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly enteredfrom Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran wherehe had business interests after retiring from the Navy. Pakistan had rejectedIndia's plea for consular access to Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhiwants the access to get the information gathered by its "spy".
However, Pakistan facilitated a meeting of Jadhav with hismother and wife in Islamabad on December 25, 2017.
A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case tookplace in February amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistanfollowing attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir's Pulwama district that left 40 paramilitary men dead onFebruary 14 this year.
During the hearing in ICJ, both India and Pakistan submittedtheir detailed pleas and responses.
India based its case on two broad issues — breach of ViennaConvention on consular access and the process of resolution.Harish Salve, who was representing India in thecase, questioned the functioning of Pakistan's military courts and urged thetop UN court to annul Jadhav's death sentence, which is based on an"extracted confession". In his submission in the ICJ on the last dayof the hearing, Pakistan's counsel Khawar Qureshi said, "India's claim forrelief must be dismissed or declared inadmissible."