The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled in favour of India in the appeal against former navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism. The world court said that Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviews and reconsiders the decision, and granted consular access to India.

The verdict was 15-to-one in favour of India.

Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

Kulbhushan Jadhav, 49, is a former Indian Navy officer. Pakistan’s security forces arrested him on March 3, 2016. Pakistan maintains Jadhav is an Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operative. And he was arrested over illegal entry into the country near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Balochistan province. On the other hand, India denied Jadhav had any links to India’s intelligence or security agencies. It contends Jadhav was abducted from Iran where he had gone because of his legitimate business interests in Chabahar after retiring from the Indian Navy.

What happened in Pakistan?

In 2017, Jadhav was charged with terrorism and espionage and awarded a death sentence by a military court. India demanded consular access to Jadhav. But Pakistan rejected India’s pleas claiming that India wanted access to information gathered by its “spy”. Jadhav was sentenced to death in April 2017, and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Qamar Bajwa endorsed the sentence. Pakistan claimed that Jadhav had confessed to being a spy.

What did India say?

India rejected the “extracted confession” and upheld that Jadhav did not have adequate representation during the trial. It challenged the Pakistani military court’s ability to pass judgement. India argued that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention, which obliges Pakistan to inform India of the arrest of an Indian “without delay”. (Jadhav was allegedly arrested on March 3, but the foreign secretary of Pakistan informed the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad on March 25).

Why did the matter reach the ICJ?

When Pakistan refused to grant consular access to Jadhav and India felt he was likely to be executed anytime soon, it decided to move the ICJ (International Court of Justice) at The Hague, Netherlands, on May 8, 2017.

What did ICJ do?

On May 18, a bench of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the court arbitrated the case.

What India and Pakistan said?

While India said justice should be met by directing Jadhav’s release, Pakistan argued that its military had “sufficient evidence” to prove that Jadhav is a spy. (In December 2017, Pakistan arranged a meeting between Jadhav and his mother and wife “in light of Islamic traditions and humanitarian grounds.”

What is the ICJ?

The ICJ is the highest court where international disputes can be resolved. Its verdict is binding on all member states of the United Nations. The Vienna Convention includes an optional protocol, which makes it mandatory for signatory-nations to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ when disputes arise. Both India and Pakistan are signatories. (However, in the past, the United States has gone against ICJ rulings. In 2004, the ICJ ordered that 51 Mexican nationals convicted in the US be given fresh trials. But the US ruled out such a review. In 2005, it withdrew from the optional protocol).

What powers does the ICJ have?

The ICJ itself has no powers of enforcement. However, Article 94 of the Charter of the UN states that if any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgement rendered by the Court, the other party has the option to approach the Security Council. The SC may make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

Read Today's News TODAY... on our Telegram Channel click here to join and receive all the latest updates