Kulbhushan Jadhav: World Court seeks review of conviction and death sentence; also Pakistan must give him consular access

The Hague: The International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and death sentence of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav and grant him consular access, in a victory for India in the high-profile case.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

A 16-member bench led by President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf gave the 15-1 ruling, which was endorsed by the Chinese jurist. Pakistan was the lone dissenter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the verdict, saying "truth and justice" have prevailed.

Recalling that it had directed Pakistan to take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed, pending the final decision in the case, the bench said it considers that "a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review" of the sentence of Jadhav.

The bench, however, rejected most of the remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court's decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

The bench, however, ruled that Pakistan "deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation".

Pakistan was under obligation to inform India about the arrest and detention of Jadhav under the Vienna Convention, the court said.

Noting that India has made a number of requests for consular access, which was denied by Pakistan, the court said it was an "undisputed" fact that Pakistan did not accede to India's appeals.

The court said that Pakistan has also not explained how any of the wrongful acts allegedly committed by India may have prevented it from fulfilling its obligation.

The judges said there was no basis to conclude that India abused its procedural rights when it requested indication of provisional measures in this case.

On Pakistan's argument that India has failed to prove Jadhav's nationality, the court said it was satisfied that the evidence before it leaves no room for doubt that Jadhav is of Indian nationality.

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