India gets a boost as ICJ stays Jadhav's execution

Modi, Sushma express satisfaction, praise Salve Order binding on Pak, says MEA; Islamabad not ready to accept ICJ's jurisdiction
Report by: 
Agencies
The Hague/New Delhi
18 May 2017

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) today stayed the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.

In a major boost to India, which has moved the UN's highest judicial body against the death sentence, the ICJ instructed Pakistan to take all "necessary measures at its disposal" to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it. The decision of the 11-judge bench was unanimous, ICJ President Ronny Abraham said while reading out the verdict. The ICJ said that India should have been granted consular access to its national as per the Vienna Convention to which both countries have been signatories since 1977.

The ICJ asserted its jurisdiction over the case of the 46-year-old former Indian Navy officer while noting that the circumstances of his arrest remain disputed. The ruling came three days after India and Pakistan gave their submissions in the case. On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. On May 9, the global court stayed the death sentence as a provisional measure. As soon as the order came in, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction and spoke to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who described the verdict as a "great relief". They both thanked senior lawyer Harish Salve, who headed the battery of lawyers presenting India's case.

Racting to the ICJ verdict, the external affairs ministry (MEA) today asserted that the ruling is binding on Pakistan and termed the verdict as "unanimous" and "unambiguous". Hours after the ICJ in The Hague pronounced its provisional order in the case, the MEA said the government will do everything possible to save the life of Jadhav. Addressing a crowed press conference here, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the provisional relief provided by the ICJ is the first step in ensuring justice to Jadhav.

The order by the ICJ is unanimous, favourable, clear and unambiguous. The verdict a matter of great relief for people of the country, he said. Replying to a volley of questions on India's possible response if Pakistan does not implement the ICJ order, Baglay said the order is binding on Pakistan. Giving his reaction, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said: "The ICJ's decision to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav gives the people of India a deep sense of satisfaction and relief," Singh said in a statement. BJP chief Amit Shah said India has heaved a sigh of relief following the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) decision to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav who had been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. In a statement, Shah also praised senior lawyer Harish Salve who was India's attorney at the Hague and argued the case before the global court. Reacting to the development, Pakistan today said it does not accept the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction in matters related to national security, its Foreign Office said today after the UN court stayed the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria also hit out at India, saying the country has been "trying to hide its real face" by taking the case of Jadhav to ICJ. Jadhav, 46, was sentenced to death in March by a Pakistani military court and India approached the highest UN judicial body with the plea to stay his execution. The Hague-based ICJ heard the two sides on Monday where Pakistan had challenged the jurisdiction of the court but in its decision the court prime facie exercised the jurisdiction and accepted Indian pleas. The court today instructed Pakistan to take all "necessary measures at its disposal" to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it.

Talking to the state-run Pakistan Television after the ruling was delivered, Zakaria said India has been "trying to hide its real face" by taking the case of Jadhav to ICJ. "The real face of India will be exposed before the world," he said, adding that Jadhav has confessed his crimes of sabotage, terrorism and subversion activities not only once but twice. (PTI)