Pakistan vindicated at ICJ
As the plea to annul death sentence awarded to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who self-confessed to fomenting terrorism and engaging in espionage within Pakistan by a military court was rejected by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), all Indian hopes of seeking remedies through international arbitration dashed on Wednesday.
The judgment, delivered by ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, to a packed court at The Hague, however, allowed India consular access to the convicted spy.
Jadhav, also a serving commander of the Indian Navy, was convicted on April 10, 2017 for fanning terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi, almost a year after his arrested from Balochistan in March 2016.
India had later knocked the door of the ICJ, which stayed Jadhav’s execution as its 16-judge bench started its proceedings on Indian appeal. India in its plea had asked the ICJ to direct Pakistan to take steps to annul decision of the military court; to release Jadhav and to facilitate his safe passage to India.
However, the ICJ says Jadhav’s conviction and sentence is not violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. “Thus, the court finds that these submissions made by India cannot be upheld,” it says.
However, for the first time, the ICJ with 15-1 majority rules that consular access should be given to spies under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. Ad hoc judge from Pakistan, Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, however, writes a dissenting note.
The ICJ in its 42-page verdict also rules that Pakistan is under an obligation to cease those acts and to comply fully with its obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.
“Consequently, Pakistan must inform Mr Jadhav without further delay of his rights under Article 36, paragraph 1 (b), and allow Indian consular officers to have access to him and to arrange for his legal representation, as provided by Article 36, paragraph 1 (a) and (c),” says judgment.
Paragraph (a) says that consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending state and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending state shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending state.