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Shortly after India approached it against Pakistan, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has reportedly asked Pakistan not to act on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution.
In effect, Jadhav’s execution will likely be put on hold, pending the court’s decision on India’s request for provisional measures.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj confirmed the news on Twitter.
Swaraj also revealed that Senior Advocate Harish Salve will be representing India before the ICJ in the matter.
“In my capacity as president of the court, and exercising powers conferred upon me under Article 74, paragraph 4, of the rules of the court, I call upon Your Excellency’s Government, pending the court’s decision on [India’s] request for the indication of provisional measures, to act in such a way as will enable any order the court may make on this request to have its appropriate effects.”
Article 74 (4) of the ICJ Rules of Court states,
“Pending the meeting of the Court, the President may call upon the parties to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects.”
Jadhav, an Indian national, was sentenced to death over allegations of espionage by a military court in Pakistan.
India has accused Pakistan of violating Article 36(1) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, in that the latter failed to inform them of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest.
In its letter to the ICJ, India claims that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Baluchistan on March 3, 2016. However, India was informed of his arrest only on March 25. India also stated that repeated attempts to provide Jadhav consular access have been turned down by Pakistan.
By way of relief, India had sought a suspension of the death sentence awarded by the military court, and has sought an order restraining Pakistan from giving effect to that sentence. It also asked the ICJ to grant interim relief by declaring the sentence violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and has sought the release of Jadhav.
In its application, India has also stated that Jadhav would be executed should the ICJ not interfere, and that would cause “irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India”. It also highlighted the urgency in the matter, as the appeal filed by Jadhav’s mother is likely to be disposed of soon. And it now seems that the ICJ has promptly accepted India’s request.
Last month, a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to urge the Centre to approach the ICJ in Jadhav’s matter. That petition, filed by advocate Rahul Sharma, states that the Pakistan military has failed to provide a fair trial to Jadhav, since he was not served a copy of the judgment passed by the Military Court, and he has not been given the right to representation.
However, the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra dismissed it.
Read the ICJ press release: