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International Court of Justice stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution

India took the extreme step of approaching the ICJ because Pakistan “broke all norms”

May 10, 2017 12:41 am | Updated 04:48 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A differently-abled person participates in a signature campaign against the death sentence to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistani military court, in Nagpur.

A differently-abled person participates in a signature campaign against the death sentence to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistani military court, in Nagpur.

In a major breakthrough in the Government of India’s efforts to save former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from the death sentence awarded to him by a Pakistan military court on charges of terrorism and spying for India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has stayed his execution. In a petition to the ICJ, India had accused Pakistan of gross violation of international laws.

Ordering the stay, ICJ President Justice Ronny Abraham directed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to “act in such a way so as to enable the court to enforce any decision it takes on the Indian plea.” This effectively stays Jadhav’s execution until the court hears the matter and passes orders.

In the petition filed on May 8, a team of lawyers, led by senior advocate Harish Salve, listed out the details of the Jadhav case and the “egregious violations” of the Vienna convention that deals with Consular relations, including Pakistan’s refusal to give any details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until after the death sentence was passed, failure to provide consular access to India despite 15 attempts, and suggesting access would be given only in exchange for information about Jadhav from India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had informed Jadhav’s mother of the order.

India has rarely approached the ICJ in the past, given its hesitation to “internationalise” its bilateral relations, especially when it comes to Pakistan. However a senior official told The Hindu that the Jadhav case required the extreme measure, as “Pakistan had refused to follow any established norm or principle.”

In the petition explaining the urgency, India said that “without the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav before the Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights”, indicating that a final appeal filed by Jadhav’s mother in the Pakistan Supreme Court could be adjudicated at any time, unless the international court acted.

The ICJ is a part of the United Nations, and its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned, a press release issued at The Hague on Tuesday said.

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