The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced its verdict on India’s petition challenging the death sentence given to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.
The court found that nothing in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) precludes its applicability to persons accused of espionage and terrorism.
The provision basically states that when a national of a foreign country is arrested, they must be informed of the right to have their country’s consulate notified and should also have the right to regular consultation with their consulate’s officials during their detention and trial.
Pakistan had argued, unsuccessfully, that Article 36 of the VCCR does not apply to people involved in espionage.
Pakistan’s team, headed by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, had reached The Hague to hear the verdict. The team also included Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.
Jadhav was blamed for being an Indian spy and was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan (India says kidnapped from Iran) on allegations of espionage and terrorism. He was subsequently sentenced to death in 2017. However, India insisted that Jadhav was not a spy and not working for RAW.
On April 10, 2017, Pakistan COAS – Gen Qamar Bajwa endorsed the death penalty for Jadhav. In June 2017, Jadhav filed a mercy petition against the death penalty. However, before Pakistani authorities could make a final decision, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered a stay in his execution as Indian approached the ICJ.