ICJ stays Kulbhushan’s hanging, but a long judicial process to come through

It is a big breakthrough in Kulbhushan Jadhav case and can be called a massive diplomatic victory for India. The Hague-based International Court of Justice has stayed the execution of the former Indian Navy officer who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi.

The official twitter handle of the ICG tweeted last night (as per Indian Standard Time):

ICJ President Ronny Abraham reportedly wrote a letter to Pakistani government asking it to act in such a way which would enable the implementation of any order the ICJ may issue in the case.

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“Referring to ‘the extreme gravity and immediacy of the threat that authorities in Pakistan will execute an Indian citizen in violation of obligations Pakistan owes to India’, India urges the Court to deliver an order indicating provisional measures immediately, ‘without waiting for an oral hearing’,” read India’s appeal in the ICJ.

The order came after India approached the ICJ against the death sentence handed down to Jadhav by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial.

It could be noted that Pakistan had kidnapped the 46-year-old former Indian Navy officer from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the service. But Pakistan is blatantly lying claiming that it had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan on March 3, 2016.

India was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest. He has not been given a fair trial. Moreover, India has sought consular access for Yadav 15 times, but Pakistan has turned down India’s request every time. This is in clear violations to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Both India and Pakistan are signatories to the optional protocol of the Vienna convention on consular relations (VCCR).

This was for the second time that India won a case against Pakistan at the ICJ. In 1999, shortly after Kargil war, Pakistan had taken India to the ICJ after its military plane was shot down in Indian air space above the Rann of Kutch. India had strongly contested the case on the issue of jurisdiction. The ICJ had upheld New Delhi’s position.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted:

War veteran and Defence expert General GD Bakshi has asserted that Pakistani Military Court had no jurisdiction over Jadhav.

“ICJ has taken due cognisance of what India has said on Kulbhushan Yadav and issued a stay order over his execution. The fact of the matter is that Pakistani Military Court had no jurisdiction over him. He is not subject to the Pakistani Army Act,” General Bakshi said.

But this is just a victory in the round-1. There is a long judicial process to come through. The real game changer will be what India does now.

Senior advocate Harish Salve is representing India before the ICJ in Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Salve, the former Solicitor general of India, is one of the best legal eagles to tackle the case.

Undoubtedly, following the ICJ order, Pakistan has come under tremendous international pressure. It is time India prepares the dossiers properly and presents the case strongly. We can’t to do a Sarabjit Sing with Kulbhushan Jadhav. India must win the case, Kulbhushan Jadhav must be set free and united with his family back home. Pakistan must be bowed down for the blunder it committed.

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